(RNS) — The coronavirus pandemic hit pastor Kato Hart’s Detroit storefront church hard.

Finances dwindled to almost nothing. Rent and utility bills went unpaid. All the while, neighbors were losing jobs and seeking unemployment.

His church, Hold the Light Ministries Church of God in Christ, prides itself on “being a servant in our community,” so not being able to help their people was difficult to process, Hart said.

But then they got some unexpected help.

Hold the Light is one of more than 100 small churches that have each been awarded $3,000 grants.

Through the Churches Helping Churches initiative, a relief fund was set up to provide $3,000 grants to churches at risk of closing due to a decrease in financial giving during the pandemic.

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