Tagged: “Assistance”

Refugee Sponsorship of the Zaki Family

DISASTER RELIEF: All donations processed as they are given.

   On August 25, 2020 Saba Sahar’s car arrived as usual, at 7 a.m., at the back gate of her home in Kabul, Afghanistan, with 3 bodyguards, to take her to work. Ms. Sahar was acting Deputy Commander of Security and Director of Human Rights at the Ministry of Interior of Afghanistan, a well-known figure in the field of cinema, and an activist for the protection of womens’ rights. Shortly after leaving her home that morning, with her 4 year old daughter beside her, her car was attacked by several gunmen, who wounded 2 of her bodyguards, and shot her 4 times in the abdomen. Here is the account from one media outlet: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-54084848

     Ms. Sahar was severely wounded, but survived her injuries following multiple operations, and eventually was transferred to Bagram Hospital at the U.S. run Bagram Air Force base. Meanwhile, her family continued to receive anonymous threats against their lives. At Bagram, Saba’s nurse was a young man who soon returned home to the U.S. and related Saba’s story to his Aunt Sue. Sue knew that the family had to flee Afghanistan to save their lives, and she began to raise funds from among her family and contacts, including using this Facebook Go-Fund-Me page, which includes pictures: https://www.facebook.com/savingsabasahar.

     Sue’s financial help made it possible for the family to flee to nearby Tajikistan, where they have been granted refugee status. Meanwhile, finding that the U.S. was not accepting refugee applications, Sue’s research led her to Canada, where eventually she was connected with our group, The Refugee Sponsorship Committee of the Unitarian Fellowship of Peterborough, Ontario, Canada.

     Our group has been active since 2014, and has successfully raised all the necessary funds, and our congregation of just 120 members settled 3 refugee families in Peterborough. When our sponsorship team heard the story you have just read, we could not say “no” to this family’s needs. Sponsorship involves supporting the family financially for one year and helping them get established in Canada in numerous ways, such as learning English, preparing for employment, receiving needed medical care, supporting the children’s education, understanding Canadian culture, etc. Our team of Settlement Volunteers meets weekly, and works very closely with the family.

     Our application for sponsorship has been approved by the Canadian government, and the family await vetting overseas by the Canadian consulate. Sue has raised 3/4 of the funds required for this sponsorship and has transferred those funds to us, but we still need another $15,000 U.S. to carry off the sponsorship. Here we have set our goal for $10,000 U.S. In today’s world, it is easy to feel helpless in the face of so much need. This sponsorship is for us a way to do something personal. We hope you feel moved to be a part of it.

Full Hearts. Full Plates.

Families across the nation continue to face exacerbated hunger levels due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and they are approaching another holiday season with empty plates and worried minds.

Supporting the Schools and Education Leaders Helping Fill Kids’ Plates

This Fall, No Child Goes Hungry has received a significant number of grant requests from schools, social workers, and teachers building daily meal support programs for students. In our new reality of childhood hunger, weekend backpack programs are no longer enough. Teachers and school staff recognize that many students need snacks and meals daily to support what they receive at home and from the school’s free meal assistance programs.

Staff and supply chain shortages are complicating matters further. Simply getting a granola bar, apple, small fruit cup, and juice box into a child’s hands before getting on the bus has become a more significant challenge than ever before. In some cases, the shortage of school bus drivers results in students arriving at school after the free breakfast program has closed for the day—leaving them with nothing to eat before starting schoolwork. Some teachers pay out-of-pocket to keep something in their desk drawers to feed students, which adds a financial burden to our teachers.

No Child Goes Hungry supports students in need and their school heroes and wants to ensure that our teachers don’t have to use their hard-earned salaries to help feed students. We’re sending healthy food boxes all over the country where the food supply chain is sorely interrupted with not enough truck drivers. The typical response is gratitude and comments like, “This is like Christmas. I can feed the kids something before they get on the bus.”

About No Child Goes Hungry

When NCGH was founded in 2016 and through 2019, it awarded 56 different grants in three and a half years, 14 to 16 grants a year on average. Then 2020 hit and the number of grants NCGH receives on average soared, and it distributed 71 grants—more than all the other years combined. 2021 and the pandemic have shown no slowdown. This year, NCGH has already given 71 grants with more in the wings to give before the year ends. Before 2020, NCGH received two to three applications a week. Now, it receives that many each day.

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.

Here’s a video detailing how our model works: No Child Goes Hungry Business Model Video

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.

To adapt to the changing needs of hunger advocacy groups, NCGH has partnered with new and different groups and individuals and brainstormed with them how to first get food and how to either deliver it or make it easily accessible.

Here are just a few examples of the critical partnerships we have forged this year and the impact that donated dollars have made for children in need:

Fannie Lou Hamer Freedom High School, Bronx, NY

No Child Goes Hungry donated nonperishable food items to Fannie Lou Hamer Freedom High School in Bronx, New York. The donated items are helping keep the school’s free food pantry stocked with nonperishables, toiletries, and clothing for students and their families in need. Many of the students at Fannie Lou Hamer come from families that suffer from significant food insecurity. The school’s food pantry is one of several critical support opportunities in the area for families and children in need.

Community Emergency Assistance Programs (CEAP) of Brooklyn Center, MN

No Child Goes Hungry provided a $1,000 donation to CEAP of Brooklyn Center, Minnesota. The grant is helping fund its children’s Birthday Bag program. The initiative provides parents in need with party décor, favors, plus a cake or cupcake to ensure that every child feels celebrated and cared for on their birthday. The cost to provide one birthday bag plus CEAP essentials for one child requires $30 in financial support.

 

Mott Haven Fridge

In collaboration with the Healthier, Greener, Kinder Foundation, No Child Goes Hungry provided Mott Haven Fridge Network with a $2,000 grant. The funds enabled the non-profit to add and winterize a third community refrigerator to its hunger-relief network in Uptown Manhattan and the Bronx.

Two sixth-grade teachers founded Mott Haven Fridge Network in response to the widespread food insecurity they witnessed among their students’ families. Today, Mott Haven Fridge maintains two outdoor, freestanding refrigerators that provide community members in the poorest congressional district in the United States with 24/7, no-questions-asked-access to fresh produce and other essentials. The fridges are stocked by donations from individuals, local businesses, and community partners and cleaned and maintained by a grassroots community volunteer network.

El Cajon Valley High Community Garden

No Child Goes Hungry donated $1,000 to  El Cajon Valley High School in El Cajon, California, to support the construction of its community garden initiative. The garden is operated by students and parents and provides fresh food options for the El Cajon community. In addition, NCGH’s donation helped fund the purchase of wood from a local lumber business to construct separation boxes in the garden.

Blackburn Community Outreach in Todd, North Carolina

No Child Goes Hungry 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 helps 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.

Still, more help is desperately needed. The need is vast, and it continues to grow. Every dollar donated to NCGH is used to help feed a child in need. Help us create full plates and full hearts this holiday season.

Let’s Feed Some Kids!

Help KC Marie Complete Seminary School

This is a UU Religious Professional Credentialing/Development category campaign and all gifts will be immediately processed.

Hello hello hello!

My background:
My name is KC Marie Pandell, I am a second year Unitarian Universalist Seminary student at Meadville-Lombard, currently serving as intern minister for two years at Tapestry Unitarian Universalist. I began my journey to UUism after a great loss, and the UU Congregation in Fullerton, CA held me through grief and into great growth and change, setting the foundation for me to hear a call to ministry, and supporting me in my formation. Since then, I have served as Worship Chair, and currently serve on the Board of Trustees before and throughout the pandemic, alongside having completed a summer of CPE (Clinical Pastoral Education) at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, CA.
I am shaping up to be one of the first ministers ordained by UUCF in the congregation’s history, an honor I am deeply grateful for.

As of last semester, I was at a 4.0 GPA, and am on track to continue it this semester.

My Theology:
What drew me to UUism, after a lifetime of non-religious ideology, was love: losing love, being held in love, and living through life with deepest love. It is with love that I have served Fullerton, am serving Tapestry, and love that guides me to serve other UU communities in the future. Our principles are rooted in it, and my journey to ministry is lined by it. It is love the makes our community one of kindness, and that seeks that which is right and good in this world.

How You Can Help:
Even with a deeply generous tuition grant from my school, I fall far short of the finances required to complete my degree. I come from a low-income family, who are wildly proud of my journey, but unable to assist financially to make it a reality. I don’t qualify for loans of any sort, and am paying for school (including books, travel to campus, and various associated fees and costs) almost completely out of pocket. A few generous friends and family have assisted where possible along the way. Despite working 40 hour weeks alongside full time schooling, I don’t hit the mark.

Our ministers are not formed solo, in a vacuum. It takes the support of many, from family and friends, to our congregations, to our communities at large, and any show of that support through a donation towards the completion of my seminary education is would be held with the deepest, most loving gratitude. I thank you for you generosity and support.

Watch a Sermon:

An Unexpected Journey
https://youtu.be/UvvcPsT2gyU

Graceful Love, or Loving Gracefully
Finding the Awe in the Every Day
https://youtu.be/t4eTgNMSR-s

Send Emily McKown to Seminary!

This is a UU Religious Professional Credentialing/Development category campaign and all gifts will be immediately processed.

Emily begins her seminary journey: September 2021! She will be attending part-time (for 4-5 years), while continuing her position as Director at Channing-Murray Foundation in Urbana as well as her active membership at UUCUC! She is pursuing an inter-religious chaplaincy program, and following her passion for youth/young-adult, social-justice, and music ministries.

A few words from Emily-

“I’m so grateful to my UU community near and far. My childhood congregation and strong circle of elders at Dakota U.U. raised me with confidence and compassion, while my UUCUC family took up the baton, and helped me discover my passion for ministry. Your financial, emotional, and spiritual support means the world to me. Your financial boost will lessen the stress of divinity school while I head heart-first into the huge question of our time- how DO WE, in fact, cultivate beloved community? I feel your love. I’ll be sure to spread it around!”

Emily’s application essay for United Theological Seminary:

Countless converging pathways in my life have brought me to apply to United; feels like divine guidance indeed. My U.U. identity, my Twin Cities roots, my passion for social justice, my calling in music therapy, and my dream jobs I’ve found in youth and young adult ministry — are all key inspirations in my search for seminary. It would be a privilege to continue my education at United.

When I was a teenager I was a part of a planning team for a U.U. youth conference (at YMCA Camp Icaghowan) for 5 years; and I loved to plan worship. One late night we danced under the stars in an open field. The darkness made us feel secure, the song was intoxicatingly jubilant, and our liberation manifested as laughter. I knew then, that moments of freedom were precious, and I know now, it is worth working my whole life to find and share them.

While the majority of my twenties were spent exploring art and activism away from the church, I found a role three years ago as youth coordinator at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Urbana-Champaign, and this job has revealed a calling. I love participating in worship planning, program facilitation, and curriculum building. I especially appreciate the shared-ministry approach UUCUC upholds.

And while I love curating the youth program at UUCUC, my newest job as Executive Director of the Channing-Murray Foundation has brought my passion for ministry to a new level. I came to leadership at this U.U. campus center at a critical time. Just a couple months before pandemic hit, I was tasked with guiding the organization through uncharted waters. Very quickly we reinvented ourselves, not as an event center, but as a mutual-aid coordination hub. Since March, our ministry has come in the form of a food pantry delivery service. This volunteer-driven, intersectional program not only activates our values but is also a grounding ritual for many of our members and young adults who crave a meaningful and connective task to help ease the pain of a hurting world.

I am approaching seminary with a sense of awe and excitement. I’m hopeful it will help me grow my dreams and see beyond. I’m eager to pursue interreligious chaplaincy because of my experience volunteering in hospitals, prisons, and nursing homes and my passion for music therapy. That said, I know that United will help me to discern a calling even more specific and revolutionary! I want my education to help me connect with sacred music social movements and bolster my nonprofit leadership skills, as well as prepare me for U.U. ordination. United feels like the place where all my passions can be free to dance together.”

How to stay connected:

We are UU’s supporting other UU’s! Donate what you are able – all will get a thank-you and an opportunity to opt-in to a newsletter each semester fully of songs, essays, and pictures.

If you’d like something a little more personal- you can choose to sponsor a credit! A full credit is $655 and a half credit is $327.50. Sponsor a half credit and Emily will choose a course and dedicate to your support, and share her findings with you. Sponsor a full credit and Emily will consult with you on dedicating a particular course of interest to you, share any writings/essays, and meet with you once a month during the course to share in the journey!

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!

Help Create a Brighter Future for Vulnerable Transylvanian Girls

DISASTER RELIEF CAMPAIGN: ALL donations will be processed immediately

(NO ALL-OR-NOTHING GOAL FOR THIS CAMPAIGN)

Background. At the height of nationwide lockdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic, up to 1.6 billion children were affected by school closures, causing the largest mass disruption of education in modern history (Source: UNICEF). Many schools around the world, including in Romania, remain closed or experience intermittent closures, making remote learning essential to children’s education. Although Romanian authorities promised to ensure that all children have the necessary devices to join the online educational system, the distribution of devices has often not reached children from vulnerable groups.

What will the funds be used for? In times of crisis, access to digital technologies is critical. The International Women’s Convocation has teamed up with the Unitarian Providence Charity Organization to provide electronic devices (laptops) for girls who are disadvantaged or living with disabilities – from both rural and urban areas – so they will be able to attend school remotely.

Vulnerable girls cannot afford interruption in their education. Disruption to learning only exacerbates existing inequalities, leaving girls even more vulnerable to abuse, early pregnancy, and poverty. With your help, we can provide access to education for girls who may not otherwise have the chance in a COVID-19 world — and ensure that they have the choice to write their own futures. Thank you for your support!

Project Partner: Unitarian Providence Charity Organization, whose mission is to fulfill the vocation of the Hungarian Unitarian Church by serving people and communities in need without discrimination. The project benefits economically disadvantaged girls and girls with disabilities in Transylvania. Through this project, we are living our U*U values, bringing positive change in the world by connection, care, compassion, social justice, and service.


Project Endorsements

Rev. Attila Vagyas (on the right), Providence Organization (Gondviselés Segélyszervezet): Even though Romania is part of the European Union and thus beneficiary of EU’s social development programs, many are left behind. Our organization reaches many isolated rural communities, where we have gotten to know vulnerable girls full of potential. In these troubled times, when remote learning is the new normal, access to a digital device has become a matter of access to basic education – and an opportunity to make the most of one’s life. With your help, we can give some of these girls a hope for the future.


Some of the Beneficiaries

Klaudia Sebesi, Székelykeresztúr / Cristuru Secuiesc

Twin girls Erzsébet Emő Veres and Ilona Emilia Veres, Barót / Baraolt

Insulated Coveralls for the Homeless

At Grenfell Ministries we are a Unitarian Universalist outreach in Hamilton, Ontario.

Due to assistance from Cantex Distribution (a company in Niagara) we have been able to secure a really great deal on quilted, insulated coveralls and instead of paying $250 a pair we are able to pay $40 a pair. With four thousand dollars we can put 100 of these on the street for folks suffering this winter with homelessness. We have already place 25 into circulation and have ordered 30 more.

Grenfell Ministries, a Unitarian Universalist faith-based Ministry that aims to provide support to marginalized communities through programming that focuses on seniors, youth, those experiencing homelessness folks who use substances, and those who are or were formerly incarcerated. We serve with integrity, compassion and promote individuality and self-empowerment. We are committed to building communities through advocacy and activism.

We are a peer-run, peer-led organization that strives to improve the quality of life for those we serve on their terms. In solidarity, we offer organized voices of lived experience in the hopes of encouraging programming, policy adaptation and to reduce stigma and discrimination. We collaborate with various organizations and services to assist folks with meeting their needs and offer grief support to families who have lost loved ones to the overdose epidemic on an individual and group basis.

​Our projects have received funding in part by the Fund for Unitarian Universalist Social Responsibility, United Way Phase 2 and Phase 3 Funding for COVID-19 pandemic response and the Hamilton Community Foundation.

Nashua Host Home Network

STRETCH GOAL ADDED! SEE DETAILS BELOW

Help Inna stay in the US and escape persecution

Inna is from Cameroon and has been in the US since 2015. She is currently in deportation proceedings and is seeking asylum.

In Cameroon, a local chief asked Inna to marry him. He already had more than ten wives and many children. Inna refused. As a result of her refusal she was subsequently the victim of physical assaults by masked men, loyal to the chief. During one of the assaults, masked men threatened to rape her daughter.  In 2015, Inna fled to the US.

In the US, she earned a Certificate as a Nursing Assistant in September 2016 and started to work in an assisted living community. She also volunteered at a nonprofit that runs a food pantry and secondhand store. In 2018 she began paralegal studies at Mount Wachusett Community College. In 2019, due to being misadvised regarding her deportation case, she did not attend a court hearing.

ICE detained her at the border, and put her in jail, where she spent the next 7 months.

A coalition of local New Hampshire immigration support groups and faith organizations, including UU Action NH, The NH Conference United Church of Christ, the American Friends Service Committee, and Never Again Action, are supporting Inna. They helped pay her bond. A local family invited her into their home, where she is now staying. Inna hopes to get a work permit, finish her paralegal studies, win asylum, become a US permanent resident and eventually become a US citizen. She also wants to bring her daughter to the US.

After her experience with incarceration, she also wants to devote herself to helping people in jail. But to accomplish her goals, she needs to resume her asylum case, and eventually win.

Inna’s legal fees will exceed $10,000. Local donors have stepped up with over $3000 already, but more is necessary in order to restart and complete her asylum case. Inna needs your help. We are compelled by our faith in peace, liberty, and justice for ALL, to support asylum seekers like Inna. Anything you can give would help greatly. Any money raised that goes beyond Inna’s needs will support other asylum seekers in New Hampshire.

Assist Iowans Recovering from the Derecho

DISASTER RELIEF CAMPAIGN: ALL donations will be processed immediately

(Please see Update tab for more information)

Low-income apartment building destroyed by the storm Low-income apartment building destroyed by the storm

No one expected hurricane force winds of up to 140 miles per hour to blow through Iowa August 10. While many members of People’s Unitarian Universalist Church had no power for a week and damage to their homes and trees, they are most concerned with those who had lost their homes, particularly those most vulnerable.

Immigrant resident shares his story of the storm Immigrant resident shares his story of the storm

Low income families, including immigrants and refugees spent a week in tents after their housing was destroyed. Still homeless, this population faces food insecurity. In addition, some families have lost all the contents of their homes when a roof blew off their apartment building.

Our Faithify campaign promises to provide relief by directing all of the money pledged to non-profit organizations in the community hit by this storm that ravaged one third of Iowa. These organizations include the Hawkeye Area Community Action Program, the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation Disaster Relief Fund, and the CommUnity Crisis Services and Food Bank, as well as the food bank of the People’s UU Church. The funds will be distributed where there is the most need. We invite all to open your hearts and reach out to those in such dire need.

Unitarian Universalists lend a hand with a lunch distribution Unitarian Universalists lend a hand with a lunch distribution

How is this project connected to UU?

Our principles inspire us to reach out to others with justice, equity and dignity, to strive toward peace and liberty for everyone, and recognize that we are all a part of an interdependent web. We cannot ignore the deep injustices and indignity of those most in need made worse by an unexpected storm of unprecedented magnitude.

The People’s UU Church in Cedar Rapids started their own food pantry to address food insecurity in the community. This congregation also and has long-standing associations and support for both the Hawkeye Area Community Action Program and the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation Disaster Relief Fund. Nearby in Coralville, the UU Society regularly sends volunteers and financial support to CommUnity Crisis Services and Food Bank.

Bring the Biking Back to Crystal

Rev. Crystal Zerfoss has been faithfully serving the UU congregations in Pasco, WA and Juneau, AK since being ordained in March 2019. Due to the freak-accident causing a traumatic brain injury, she’s had to resign her ministry positions to exclusively focus on healing. I’m not going to sugar coat it. It’s been slow going and riddled with migraines. The pandemic has added to the isolation and complications.

As part of her therapy, her medical team recently okayed the use of a stationery bike. Her friends and family gave a whoop of excitement, because this is not just about exercise, but about giving Crystal an important piece of her identity back.

These are pictures of Crystal before the accident:

This is our vision of Crystal on the bike we’d like to have delivered to her:

For those of you who would like to follow along with her healing process, you can sign up for her CaringBridge.