Category: “FAITHIFY News”

ALAY: Support and Solidarity with Indigenous Communities

DISASTER RELIEF: All donations processed as they are given.

Unitarian Universalists in partnership with Indigenous communities are organizing a mutual aid fundraiser to provide immediate food relief to 500 families in Mindanao, Visayas, and Luzon regions of the Philippines. Indigenous communities have been hard hit by the pandemic lockdowns, experiencing a loss of work, and more extreme hunger.

Grounded in long-term relationships, our community ministry is centered on decolonizing, cultural exchange, and led by Dr. Grace Nono, a UU aspirant for the ministry and founder of the Tao Foundation for Culture and Arts, a collective with over 25 years of partnerships. The Philippines has a unique history as the largest historical colony of the United States of America and the organic development of Unitarian Universalism since 1955.

Donors are also invited to attend a special fundraising concert:

ALAY: Support and Solidarity with Indigenous Communities
Cultural Performance and Fundraiser
with Dr. Grace Nono
Via Zoom and FB Live

Philippines: Saturday, July 31st 9:30 am to 11:30 am
USA: Friday, July 30th 9:30 pm to 11:30 pm Eastern time
RSVP: tinyurl.com/alay2021

COVID-19 continues to devastate the livelihood and threaten the future of Indigenous Peoples in the Philippines, communities that are also on the frontlines of land struggles, climate change, and long-standing socio-economic inequalities. Join us via Zoom or FB Live for ALAY (offering), a unique cultural performance by Dr. Grace Nono in support of selected Dumagat, Ati and Samu Dilaut (Badao) Indigenous communities in the Philippines that have been adversely affected by the lockdowns.

Grace will be performing songs that draw from over two decades of relationships with culture bearers/ mentors, and solidarity with a number of communities through the Tao Foundation for Culture and Arts. Funds will support food assistance for over 500 households. The Center for Organizing, Renewal, and Leadership, Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Metro Manila, DRUUMM Asian Pacific Islander Caucus, Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, Humanist Alliance Philippines International and more are co-sponsoring this fundraising concert.

The Tao Foundation for Culture and Arts is a registered non-profit organization founded by Dr. Grace Nono, dedicated to contribute to the collective task of reclaiming, honoring, and revitalizing indigenous knowledge systems and practices in the postcolonial/ neocolonial times. Since 1994, the foundation has engaged with various communities through scholarships for indigenous students, cultural publications, the Agusan del Sur–School of Living Traditions, and the Himig Ninuno Philippine Traditional Music Webinar Series.

Dr. Grace Nono is an aspirant for the Unitarian Universalist ministry, recently studying at Yale Divinity School. Born and raised in the river valley of Agusan, Northeastern Mindanao, Southern Philippines, Grace Nono is an ethnomusicologist, music-performing artist, and cultural worker. Grace completed her PhD through NYU’s Ethnomusicology Program, has taught at the University of the Philippines-Diliman, Miriam College, and Harvard Divinity School. She has published works including The Shared Voice: Chanted and Spoken Narratives from the Philippines, winner of the 2009 National Book Awards (Arts), and Song of the Babaylan: Living Voices, Medicines, Spiritualities of Philippine Ritualist-Oralist-Healers, winner of the 2014 Gintong Aklat Award (Arts and Culture) and 2014 Catholic Book Award (Spirituality).

Summertime Can Be Hunger Time

In the United States, 22 million kids get free or reduced-price lunch during the school year. The programs are an essential source of food for many children. However, during summer vacation, only 16 percent of kids who need USDA-funded summer meals can access them, making summer the hungriest time of year for too many children, resulting in long-term consequences.

Many of us remember fondly summer vacations living easy, breezy, carefree days. However, for too many children, summertime can be hunger time. Even though schools are back in session and kids have access to free and reduced-cost lunch programs again, teachers and social workers are seeing firsthand how challenging it is for many parents to feed their families, especially those still out of work and struggling to recover from the pandemic’s economic consequences.

This summer, No Child Goes Hungry is committed to supporting local schools, community organizations, faith-based groups, and grassroots non-profits committed to providing childhood hunger relief in their communities. We’ll be reaching out to little free pantry owners, backpack programs, and other generous organizations to help keep them stocked with the food and supplies they need to keep our children fed until schools re-open their doors this fall.

NCGH is dedicated to the elimination of childhood hunger, one kid, one meal at a time. With funds donated by churches, private organizations, and individuals, NCGH works with faith communities and other organizations to alleviate hunger locally.

Over the past several months, we have begun partnering with heroic organizations to make preparations to ensure continual student meal support over the summer. Some of our current partner programs include:

Peyton Randolph  Elementary School PTA’s Food Pantry

NCGH provided a grant of $1,500 to the Payton Randolph Elementary School to use in a match fundraising drive that raised $4,000 more for a total of $6,500 for the program. With the dollars raised, the PTA now has enough funds to offer food weekly for several months. Rev. Kären Rasmussen first heard of the Randolph Elementary School from her colleague, the Reverend Amanda Poppei. Amanda is the senior minister at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Arlington, Virginia. Amanda heard about the much-needed work to feed kids in Arlington from Bethany Zecher Sutton, the Randolph Elementary School PTA’s Food Pantry Coordinator, and made the introductions all around. Read More.

“I’ve known Kären for years and have watched her organization grow—especially in the way that she is able to support hyper-local groups as well as bigger non-profits,” said Rev. Poppei. “When Bethany told me about the growing need to feed kids right in her own neighborhood, I just had a feeling these two could collaborate and combine their efforts.”

NCGH Helps Sponsor Intern at Blackburn Community Outreach

NCGH provided a $1,000 grant to Blackburn Community Outreach in Todd, North Carolina, a non-profit 501(c)(3) with a mission to engage and mobilize the Todd Community for social, economic, and environmental vitality. The grant will help financially support the season’s youth apprentice in the organization’s Beatitude Garden. This year’s summer intern, a 16-year old young man named Bebo, who is of Cherokee heritage, will work as an intern in the gardens for ten hours a week for 20 weeks this season.

The YMCA of Walla Walla, WA

NCGH provided a $1000 donation to the Young Men’s Christian Association of Walla Walla (the “Walla Walla Y”). The funds will be used to purchase snacks and juice for children participating in its newest summer enrichment program in Athena, Oregon. The Walla Walla Y serves 13 rural communities in Washington and nearby Oregon, where over 15 percent of the families are below the poverty level, and over 60 percent of the children qualify for free and reduced lunch programs. For seven to nine weeks each summer, when school is not in session, the Walla Walla Y offers week-long enrichment programs that nurture children ages 5 to 14 and support their cognitive, social, and physical wellbeing. The Walla Walla Y provides nutritious snacks and meals for the children during each day of the program. Read More.

Camelot Elementary School

NCGH supplied non-perishable food items and a shelving storage unit to Camelot Elementary School in Annandale, Virginia. Some may say, “practice what you preach,” but when NCGH Founder and Director Rev. Kären Rasmussen says it, she takes it to heart. When Rev. Rasmussen leads worship in her community, her sermon’s message invites listeners to connect with their local school and see what they need to help feed their kids. Rev. Rasmussen decided she needed to practice what she preaches, so she reached out to the school two blocks from her home to ask how she could help support the food insecurity needs of students’ families. She worked with Rebecca Stebbins of the Camelot Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) Food Pantry on behalf of No Child Goes Hungry to provide much-needed food and new shelving for their school’s food pantry. Read More.

Still, more help is desperately needed. The need is vast, and it continues to grow. We feed kids, one meal at a time. It matters. Every meal matters.

NCGH provides grant money and mentorship opportunities so that community organizations can build hunger advocacy programs that will thrive and grow as their communities continue to tackle the problem of local food insecurity. Such sustainable programs include afterschool backpack programs, little free pantries, community food pantries, and donation programs.

NCGH also strives to educate the community on food insecurity issues and arm people with the knowledge to help. NCGH offers age-appropriate lesson plans to help local organizations to talk to people of all ages about the issue of food insecurity, helping to fuel future generations of childhood hunger advocates. The lesson plans are designed for schools, churches, or any group that would like to learn more about what they can do to eliminate childhood hunger in their community and are available to use at no cost. Lesson plans are available for Preschool-Kindergarten, Grades 1-3, Grades 4-7, Grades 8-12, and Adults.

Let’s Feed Some Kids!

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