The Episcopal Church in Utah has awarded a grant of $10,000 to the Food and Shelter Coalition of Utah County.

"We are eager to assist in efforts which actively promote respect for the dignity of every human being. We wish to be partners with those committed to alleviating the harsh burdens of poverty, abuse, chemical dependence, illness and oppression."We also seek to support those striving for greater independence and self-sufficiency, who have disabilities," said the Reverend Canon Bradley S. Wirth, chair of the church's special grants committee.

The Food and Shelter Coalition of Utah County was singled out as a beneficiary of the Episcopal Church's grant process upon recommendation by the Vestry of St. Mary's Episcopal Church, Provo.

Since the inception of the coalition five years ago, parishioners from St. Mary's have been involved in providing meals for the homeless in Utah County.

Initially, the clergy and lay members of St. Mary's Church joined the Reverend Glen Halbe, Provo Community Church, and Brother Conrad, O.F.M., St. Francis' Catholic Church, who were operating a breakfast program from the cooperating downtown churches.

After several Brigham Young University LDS wards and concerned citizens from throughout the community became involved in the program, the Food and Shelter Coalition was born as an assistance organization from the private sector.

A grant from the Beesley Foundation made it possible for the Food and Shelter Coalition to have a permanent home in a leased building.

The focus of the program has recently shifted from providing breakfast seven days a week to providing a sack lunch and dinner for any person who has fallen on hard times.

On the average day, the Food and Shelter Coalition provides assistance to some 40 homeless persons.