Tagged: “Central East Region”

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!

Fire and Accessibility: Rebuilding and Outreach in Appalachia

DISASTER RELIEF: All donations processed as they are given.

(NO ALL-OR NOTHING GOAL FOR THIS CAMPAIGN)

The essence of this fundraiser is to raise $9,500 to make necessary repairs to our building and surrounding property after a fire 5 years ago, repairs that had been delayed due to lack of funding, and to make needed accessibility additions, so that we may return our full focus on outreach in Appalachia, and to create a more inclusive ministry. We are a UUA congregation and we will be happy to supply a receipt for your tax deduction purposes.

OUR CLAIM FOR UNITARIAN UNIVERSALISM:

For decades, the Unitarian Fellowship of Huntington, WV, a UUA congregation, has worked to be an active member of our community. Not only do we offer a weekly Sunday Fellowship meeting that balances the UUA order of service with enlightened educational discussion, but we have also participated in and hosted dozens of community events, meetings, gatherings, and spiritual celebrations each year, including: AA/NA Meetings; PFLAG Meetings; Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition Meetings; Lambda Meetings; Weekly Meditations; Monthly Drum Circles; Boardgame Nights; Participation in the annual Marshall University Earth Day Celebration; Participation in the annual Huntington Sustainability Fair; Educational Workshops and Lectures on Yoga, Climate Change, Social Justice, Art, etc.; and Holiday Celebrations on Solstices, Equinoxes, Christmas/Yule, Halloween/All Souls Day, etc. We’ve even hosted visits from local and international Buddhist Monks. Suffice to say, we are an active bunch, doing our best to live by our shared 7 Principles and to be an active positive influence on our region. All of the work to maintain and perpetuate our Fellowship is done by volunteers.

Our congregation is particularly motivated to be involved in matters of Social Justice & Environmental Activism, and to encourage each other on our paths to seek truth and personal growth. We have families, children, teenagers, single persons, married persons, elders and LGBTQ persons. One group we are less able to minister to, however, would be those with serious mobility challenges, as our Fellowship Hall does not have a wheelchair ramp. This is one of the things were are asking funding for.

Our vision involves a few things: Providing an inclusive space that is safe and welcoming where people feel comfortable to attend while they search for truth; ministering without judgment to those who need it in an area that can be very judgmental; setting an example of environmentally friendly and sustainable use and maintenance of our property; participating in matters of social justice; and perpetuating personal improvement and growth. Our members are passionate, intelligent, diverse, and have a desire to make an impact.

We are especially involved in the sustainability renaissance that has been happening in our area. To that end, we have partnered with a number of area organizations to host a number of green workshops and events in 2021, such as: Urban Orchard pruning and maintenance, hosted by WV Extension Service; Composting & Sustainable Urban Agriculture, hosted by the Marshall University Sustainability Department, Native Edible Perennials, hosted by Appalachian Forest Herbs, and a series of outdoor movie nights called “Green Movies Under The Stars”, hosted by the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition. All have verified their commitment through either letters or email.

OUR NEED:

On September 5, 2015, our Fellowship experienced an electrical fire that caused significant damage throughout our building. Through our Church Mutual insurance and our 2015 Faithify fundraiser, we were able to fund and make many significant and necessary repairs. However, we were unable to raise enough funds for all repairs, the largest of which is rebuilding the rear roofed stairs and decking that provided secondary access to both the first and second floors, which is a serious safety issue, and further brick mortar repair to adjacent walls.

The rear roofed stairs and deck were significantly damaged in the fire and had to be torn down. The bricking mortar was damaged as well, with sections so deteriorated that you can stick a finger into the mortar and watch it turn to dust. We have been without stairs out back ever since then, leaving the second floor without a secondary exit and thus unsafe in the case of another fire emergency, and making it impossible to move from the kitchen to the backyard, as there is more than a 4-foot drop. This has made utilizing our backyard meeting space complicated to say the least. Moving from inside the kitchen to out back requires going outside, walking around the building to the side gate (a found discarded piece of fencing our volunteers had turned into a somewhat functional gate). This inability to move directly from backyard to kitchen has also meant we cannot lock the gates from the inside, which has led to substantial vandal damage to our fencing.

Due to COVID-19, gatherings at the church greatly increased our use of your backyard. When the case counts were lower and stay-at-home orders were not in effect, we alternated online zoom services with in-person outside masked meetings every-other-week. At our Fellowship Hall, we either gathered on the small front porch when numbers were small enough to keep 6-feet or more apart, or in the backyard. We even hosted a few garden workdays and an Autumnal Equinox celebration using this space. Since new stay-at-home orders and a significant rise in cases in our county, we moved to virtual gatherings only in early October. But for the months we could gather, our backyard space was invaluable.

In plain fact, however, our backyard is not currently friendly to anyone with mobility challenges. There are some dips and holes in the yard that need leveled out, and entrance areas really need to be made more stable with leveling and concrete paving squares. Our fencing needs some repairs, too, due to age and vandal damage, and the gating needs replaced with something more stable, secure, and accessibility friendly.

Our Fellowship Hall greatly needs a wheelchair ramp, too, as it is currently only accessible via the front porch stairs and side door entrance stairs. Anyone utilizing a wheelchair or walker would have great difficulty joining in our fellowship meetings or community outreach events.

Given that things will likely continue to be complicated concerning COVID-19 and future mutations of the virus, the use of outside gathering spaces will continue to be a necessary option. As we work to improve and expand our outreach, we wish to make both our inside and outside Fellowship Hall meeting spaces more accessible. To that end, we wish to install a wheelchair ramp for easy access to our front porch and inside meeting space, and add level paving stones and light, easy to open yet secure gating to our backyard meeting area.

GOAL:

We need to raise $9,500.00 in 45 days for these delayed fire damage repairs and needed accessibility additions. Here is how we have come to this fundraising goal amount:

  • For installation of new roofed decking and stairs to both the “ground” floor and the 2nd story on the back of the building, and mortar repair to that general area, material and supply estimates have run upwards of $3,000, with approximately $4,000 for bonded, certified labor.
  • Stephen Zoeller, a volunteer with Faith In Action of the River Cities, has been building wheelchair ramps for people and organizations in the community for over 15 years. He’s promised his volunteer labor and expertise to construct our new wheelchair ramp, with some volunteer help from our UFoH members, and has provided an official estimate for materials and supplies at $1,200.
  • For installation of lightweight lockable gates (for sturdy security and ease of opening by those who use wheelchairs), and a few panels of new fencing along the back that are more vandal resistant, estimates for the vinyl gates and wood paneling materials and supplies are around $800, with labor provided by UFoH members.
  • For leveling of backyard “dips”& holes, and leveling of gated entrance areas using concrete paving squares, gravel, weed barrier fabric, and sand, estimates for materials and supplies are around $500, with labor provided by UFoH members.

Total ask would be for $9,500.

Any additional funds that are raised will go towards building more vertical and raised gardening areas and increasing the paving square zones in our yard, so as to improve accessibility and increase participation in fellowship meetings and community outreach events by anyone with mobility challenges.

CONCLUSION:

If these repairs and accessibility additions were completed, our congregation could better focus on the UFoH’s vision and outreach mission, including our “2021 green push” workshops and movie nights, foster a more inclusive ministry, and be personally involved in perpetuating the positive social changes slowly arriving in our area. We live in an area that is not always receptive to social changes. We desire to spend our energy on preserving and promoting the health of the sacred interdependent web of existence by practicing and educating the community on sustainability measures, growing food, and recycling/up-cycling. We have several ministers here that are happy to conduct same-sex marriages. Perhaps it would be of interest to you that we have an agreement which was voted upon in 2011 that if the Unitarian Fellowship of Huntington should ever experience dissolution; that the church building (which we own without debt) would be sold and the funds from the sale would be given to the UUA Ohio Meadville district. So, any investments made into this project would ultimately return to the UUA.

We understand that these are significant requests for assistance and would be glad for any help that could be sent our way. We thank you for your consideration.

In Love and Peace,

Linda R. Greer
President of the Unitarian Fellowship of Huntington
619 6th Avenue
Huntington, WV 25701

Holiday and Winter Pandemic Relief

According to a report by the Pew Research Center published in September, 25 percent of U.S. adults say they or someone in their household was laid off or lost their job because of the coronavirus outbreak. Nearly 35 million children reliant on school-based nutrition and financial assistance lost access to services when COVID-19 forced states to shut school doors. Millions of American families are struggling to put food on their tables. 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 on a local level.

In the first four years since its inception, NCGH awarded a total of 56 grants. To date, in 2020, we have awarded 60, with many more waiting for funds. Where NCGH used to receive two to three applications in a week, now we often receive as many in a single day. 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, and 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!

To learn about the organizations we’re partnering with to address community-based food insecurity, check out the photo gallery below, or read our recent blog posts:

 

Unity Means Community: Not In Our Town

Local organizations are coming together to lift up black voices in Portage County: Unity Means Community: Not In Our Town

Our goal is to raise $3000 to be used by the Portage County NAACP chapter for communications (Zoom conferencing, social media, printing & SWAG, sound amplification for in-person events). This will support efforts to amplify the voices of Black Kent State students, to enfranchise Black neighborhoods with Get-Out-the-Vote campaigns, and will provide seed money for future efforts.

Collaborators: Black United Students, Kent State Undergraduate Student Government, Kent Interfaith Alliance for Racial Reconciliation and Justice, Allies for Racial Reconciliation and Justice,  Kent League of Women Voters, along with the primary organization, the Portage County NAACP.

UU community ministers the Rev. Renee Ruchotzke and the Rev. Christie Anderson (affiliated with the UU Church of Kent) are affiliated with the Portage County NAACP chapter.

Saving Split Rock

Stretch Goal Added- See details below

Near and dear to the Ramapough Lenape Indian Nation is their sacred site of Split Rock or Tahetaway, which means The Gate that Opens. It is considered a power point for gaining wisdom and understanding. Ancestors would meet there and powwow out their decisions.

This ancient rock formation is central to a series of giant turtle formations, which line up and are just off summer sunrise solstice. The stones had been shaped, modified and put into position. There are two astronomical alignments still functioning. According to anthropologist David Johnson from Poughkeepsie this site qualifies for a national historic preservation.

Relatives from the Andes have implored the Ramapough to reactivate this portal for the healing of the people and Mother Earth. In keeping with their indigenous traditions, on June 20, 2020, a sunrise ceremony was held at Split Rock with Unity Earth to begin reactivating this sacred site.  Unity Earth is traveling around the globe, engaging with Indigenous nations and peoples for the healing of human kind and Mother Earth.

Our goal is to support the reactivation of this sacred site. Plans are for a large ceremonial tipi to be erected at the site for hosting ceremonies. This will allow relatives from the global community to visit and offer prayers and blessings. The cost of the tipi is $3,000.00.

At this year’s UUA General Assembly, an Action of Immediate Witness, “400 Years of White Supremacist Colonialism” addresses the white colonial settler history and effects on Indigenous nations and people’s. Excerpt:

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that we, the delegates of the 2020 General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association, call upon the Unitarian Universalist Association and its member congregations to:

Continue to gather in solidarity with the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, Standing Rock nation, and all Indigenous peoples struggling to preserve their lands, waters, peoples, sacred sites, and sovereignty.

Continue to push for release of Indigenous Water Protectors from prisons, end public policies that criminalize resistance to extractive colonialism, and adopt a vision of prison abolition.

Work nationally, statewide, and locally on public policy that is decolonizing – such as establishing Indigenous Peoples Day, including Indigenous peoples’ histories in public education curricula, and eliminating racist monuments, flags, and mascots.

Work to stop and reverse ecological harm in genuine collaboration with and taking leadership from communities most consistently and harshly impacted by extractive exploitation of land, water, air, and all beings.

Research, identify, and acknowledge the Indigenous peoples historically and/or currently connected with the land occupied by congregations, and find ways to act in solidarity with or even partner with those Indigenous peoples.

Examine practices relative to Indigenous people’s histories, cultures, spiritual traditions, and rights must be respected. Unitarians and Universalists seek to be more inclusive and accountable.

This is a new project in support of the Ramapough Lenape Indian Nation, honoring their culture and traditions, working towards saving their sacred site. As Unitarian Universalists, we are called to work with communities marginalized by our society. Our call to justice, particularly in 2020 with the anniversary of the Mayflower landing, asks of us to support Indigenous Nations which have suffered great harm from the time of first contact through to today. Our Anti- Racism work must go further than our own congregations to support the call of Native Nations as they protect their sacred sites and work to renew Mother Earth. This is our present work in the UUA, and my ministry serves to support this; our Associations progressive stance is aligned with creating a world community.


We are also aligned with efforts to heal the environment due to the climate crisis. This goal and the spiritual practices of the Ramapough Lenape are intrinsic to the goal of healing Mother Earth for seven generations into the future. We are grateful to the Unitarian Universalist Association for providing this platform for us to fund raise.

For more information on the Ramapough Lenape, view #612, On Demand video from 2020 General Assembly. Also view American Native or Mann v. Ford, both on Amazon Prime. Anushiik! (Thank You!)

Immigrant Detainees Face Horrendous COVID-19 Conditions 

Most detainees are incarcerated for only the civil offense of lacking documentation. No one should risk serious sickness and possibly death because they do not have the right documents, but this is the reality detainees are facing as Covid19 positive cases and deaths rapidly increase within New Jersey’s jails and detention center.

YOUR SUPPORT IS NEEDED NOW!

UUFaithActionNJ has joined with our long-time advocacy partners to demand the release of immigrant detainees from these inhumane conditions. While we take this fight to ICE, detainees are desperate and alone. Your UU generosity can make a difference. A donation today will directly benefit a detainee in need.

In collaboration with our partner, First Friends of NJ and NY, who has ongoing support programs for immigration detainees, we are collecting donations to provide material support for both detainees who remain incarcerated as well as aid for those who are being released from detention. All donations collected go to:

  • Purchase inmates’ personal products available in the facilities’ commissaries,
  • Pay for added time on detainees’ phone cards so they can maintain contact with families, friends and attorneys,
  • Pay for Uber rides for those released from detention, and
  • Pay for additional Covid19 protection supplies (masks, gloves, hand sanitizers, etc.) for released detainees.

ACT NOW!

Our New Jersey detained neighbors need your support NOW! Your financial support furthers our first, second, and sixth UU Principals:

  • Recognize the inherent worth and dignity of every person,
  • Strive for justice, equity, and compassion in human relations, and
  • Strive for a world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all.

PLEASE CONTRIBUTE HERE ON FAITHIFY.ORG AS GENEROUSLY AS YOU CAN TO SUPPORT NEW JERSEY’S DETAINEES.

While our UUFANJ funding goal on faithify.org is $1,000. Please, help us BLOW past this goal to foster immediate improvements for as many detainees as possible facing these horrendous life-threatening circumstances.

FORWARD THIS URGENT REQUEST FOR DONATIONS TO YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS, FRIENDS, AND ADVOCATES FOR JUSTICE.

THANK YOU!

Social Differencing, No Child Goes Hungry Making a Difference during COVID-19

According to NPR, as of April 23, 26 Million Americans have lost their jobs due to the novel coronavirus. Also, nearly 35 million children who rely on school-based nutrition and financial assistance lost access to vital services when COVID-19 forced states to shut school doors. As a result, millions of American families are being forced to choose between heating their homes and putting food on their table, and critical financial and health aid resources are being rapidly depleted.

No Child Goes Hungry is committed to filling the gaps for food-insecure families across the nation during the COVID-19 pandemic by partnering with local non-profits to launch innovative programs that ensure that families are getting enough nutritious food and that no child goes to bed hungry.

Since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO), we have received over 17 requests for funding of community-based hunger advocacy initiatives. Many of the applications represent new partnerships with innovative, passionate, and persistent community leaders looking to make a difference in society and fill the hunger gap caused by COVID-19.

So far during the pandemic, NCGH has already funded several grant requests, totaling $8,500 which include such initiatives as:

  • The addition of a Little Free Pantry on the grounds of All Souls Unitarian Church in Washington, DC.
  • Both food for the immediate need and funds for the startup of a new community garden with The Good News Community Kitchen in Occoquan, VA.
  • Funds to the Bull Run Unitarian Universalists to build a Little Free Pantry.
  • Partnering with Food for Neighbors located in Reston, VA, to help them as they supplement breakfasts and lunches to school children in need.
  • Funded a Little Free Pantry in Tylertown, Mississippi, which will be placed on the property of Velma Jeans Chicken and Waffle House.
  • Partnered with So What Else to provide both funds for food for its Little Free Pantry in Rockville, MD, and also to help provide bags of food for kids in the inner city of Baltimore, MD.
  • Sent funding to the Children’s Learning Center in Jackson, WY, which is using their van to drop off bags of food for their kids in need. So many of their parents are out of work.
  • Supplied a grant to help My Why in Cincinnati, OH, as they raise funds for a van to drive much needed donated fruit and vegetables to their inner-city families.

While these partnerships are creating an impact in communities in need and helping us make a social difference, we aren’t nearly ready to stop. With more requests being received monthly, we need your help raising more funds to share with non-profit organizations across the nation that are ready to roll up their sleeves and ideate and execute grassroots solutions to the exacerbated issue of hunger caused by COVID-19.

Please know that any donation in any amount makes a significant impact. The average cost to feed a child a school lunch is only $3.41. Our commitment is to end childhood hunger one child, one meal at a time, and our pledge to our donors is to use every dollar raised in this campaign to fund our community grants.

Please, help us make a difference during COVID-19.

Let’s feed some kids!

Charleston, WV UU Heavy Rain Damage Disaster Relief

DISASTER RELIEF CAMPAIGN: ALL donations will be processed immediately

(NO ALL-OR NOTHING GOAL FOR THIS CAMPAIGN)

Thanks to a Disaster Relief Fund Grant from the UUA, the goal for this campaign has been reduced to $5,000

Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Charleston is a small congregation in West Virginia with a big heart. We have served Charleston, WV and the surrounding areas for many years. We are the only congregation in West Virginia with a full-time minister. We own a rental home next door to our main building. This house brings in monthly rental income for us.  Since we are a small congregation, this monthly income is essential for meeting our budgetary needs.

Our rental property is almost 100 years old. We have recently been getting frequent heavy rains and this has caused the basement to flood with several feet of water in recent weeks. We discovered after several basement floods that the old terracotta pipe that connects the sewer line to the main house was crushed in one section. Plumbers came out to look at the problem and told our tenant not to pour any water down the drains.  The tenants were unable to use sinks, shower, toilet for several days. The city determined that it was the responsibility of UUC to repair since the break was on our property.  The problem is also not covered by insurance, and we have no money in our budget for this repair.

This repair is going to be expensive at over $10,000. The pipe is over 8 feet underground and under the sidewalk in the front of the home.  We ask our fellow UU congregations to help us with the unexpected cost of this repair.  Catastrophic events like this can be especially devastating to small congregations like ours. We appreciate any assistance you can give us to help offset the financial burden of repairs.

Help Send Two...

NEW for 2020:  All funds pledged will be immediately processed for General Assembly campaigns. (No “All-or-Nothing” Goal on this campaign.)

We would like to offer financial aid to two members of our congregation who have never attended General Assembly before. These funds will be available to members who would like to attend General Assembly but have not been able to afford registration, room, and board previously. The members who use these funds will serve as delegates for the Unitarian Universalist Church of Buffalo at the 2020 General Assembly in Providence, RI.

Sanctuary for Rosa!

I took sanctuary because I love my children and do not want to leave my country. I want to fight from here. -- Rosa Gutierrez Lopez

Eighteen months after voting to become a sanctuary congregation, Cedar Lane welcomed our first guest into physical sanctuary.

Rosa Gutiérrez López was scheduled for deportation the morning of December 10, 2018.  She would have left behind three U.S.-born children and a full life – work, her own church community, friends, and more.  Instead, she made the difficult decision to come into sanctuary at Cedar Lane, determined to continue to fight her legal case.

Imagine Rosa were your mother. Your daughter, your sister, your wife. I want you to imagine that until it hurts your heart. Until it disturbs your mind. Unti it makes you weep and you find the courageous love to fight for Rosa and end these cagings, separations, and deportations. -- Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, President, Repairers of the BreachImmediately our Sanctuary Leadership Team sprang into action.  Putting the finishing touches on what would be Rosa’s living space and stocking the fridge were first on the list, but they quickly moved on to training volunteers, creating systems for communications, and seeking answers to all the questions we never anticipated.

We are now eleven months in – and Rosa’s three children have joined her in residence at Cedar Lane.  Her children’s presence is a blessing.  Rosa deeply missed them while they finished the school year in their home town.  She is gratified to see them every day – preparing their meals, checking homework, guiding their growth and development.

Cedar Lane congregants and others have stepped up in ways we only hoped for, giving generously of their time, talent, and financial support.  But we cannot do this alone.

We are now turning to you, the greater UU community and beyond, to help us support Rosa through this next phase of sanctuary.  The costs of sanctuary are more than Cedar Lane can bear alone, and due to the long delays in the immigration court system, we expect our guest and her family will be with us for as long as 18 more months – or perhaps longer.

Can you help us raise $12,500 in the next month?

Your donation will help cover the cost of groceries and personal care items; school supplies; new clothes as the seasons change and Rosa’s children grow; educational outings and fun activities for the kids; background checks for volunteers; and out of pocket healthcare expenses, as well as other professional support for the family as they navigate this new reality.

Meeting our goal will help ensure our sanctuary program is on strong financial footing for whatever may come — and however long it may take.

Thank you.  Thank you for your support of Rosa, her family, and Cedar Lane.  Thank you for your commitment to building a more just world.

***

Our partners:  We would not have been able to sustain our sanctuary work to date without the support of hundreds of volunteers who give thousands of hours of their time each month.  In addition to Cedar Lane members, many come from religious institutions that are members of Congregation Action Network, a group of 70+ congregations in the DC/MD/VA area that is committed to providing support and solidarity to our neighbors who fear being detained, deported, or profiled.  CAN has provided trusted guidance to Cedar Lane’s lay leaders and staff.

Read more:  Rosa’s story has garnered media coverage from across the globe.  You can read some of the most comprehensive stories here:

Sanctuary is saying ‘yes,’ to our deepest religious and spiritual values, those values that compel us to care for the vulnerable, to welcome the immigrant, to organize society around the needs of the poor. Sanctuary is calling on our elected officials to fix our broken immigration system, so that congregations such as ours no longer have to use our physical spaces to protect human lives. -- Rev. Abhi Janamanchi, Cedar Lane UU Church

New Couches for First UU Syracuse Youth Group

The First Unitarian Universalist Society of Syracuse youth group, Teenz, currently has five couches. Four of the couches are like the one pictured below. These couches are plastic, and are cold and uncomfortable to sit on. The blue one pictured is also broken.

As a result, a past group of teenagers went to the church’s annual garage sale and physically carried a couch from the sale back to the teen room. That couch is pictured below.

Couches may seem to fade into the background. In reality, though, they are a cornerstone for warm and welcoming youth ministry. They set a tone for the room, and literally support youth in their faith formation. These current couches have held joy and laughter and leadership and companionship. They are also now past due to be replaced.

We want our Teenz know that, while they are clearly resourceful, they don’t have to scrounge for used couches at a garage sale. Our teenagers are amazing. Let’s give them, and future youth, something new and beautiful.

We estimate that new couches will cost about $3,000. Fortunately, a generous youth parent has offered to match donations dollar for dollar up to $1,500. Please donate, and help us reach our goal of providing a more loving space for First UU youth.

Flash Flood Relief- Help...

DISASTER RELIEF CAMPAIGN: ALL donations will be processed immediately

(NO ALL-OR NOTHING GOAL FOR THIS CAMPAIGN)

ESUUC Pittsburgh

East Suburban Unitarian Universalist Church (ESUUC) is small in size and large in goals. We have served the eastern suburbs of Pittsburgh for 53 years as fair share congregation of the UUA. We have an active CUUPs chapter and our RE program has grown to two classes last year.

Unfortunately the church was flooded on July 21st and when the congregation removed carpet and padding we found out that there is crumbling asbestos tile that needs to be removed by abatement, a costly fix, before new flooring can be installed.

We call upon our sister and brothers UU’s to help us get back into the RE and Community Rooms in the building. We estimate the cost of abatement and flooring to be between $15 and $20K. We have $10K in reserves we are putting toward flooring.

Please help us get back up and running!