Tagged: “Central East Region”

Immigrant Detainees Face Horrendous COVID-19 Conditions 

Stretch Goal Added – See details below.

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!

Disaster Relief! Help...

DISASTER RELIEF CAMPAIGN: ALL donations will be processed immediately

(no All-or Nothing goal for this campaign)

On Monday, July 8, the Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington (UUCA) suffered extensive flooding and water damage when Arlington County, Virginia experienced severe weather when a month’s worth of rain fell in approximately just one hour. We are graciously asking for your generosity to help us repair and rebuild our community’s home.

The 100 year storm caused widespread flooding and significant damage in the Washington, DC area to public facilities, roads, businesses, and homes.

In terms of our church, the storm’s heavy rain resulted in almost 70 percent of our church’s lower level being covered in one to two inches of standing water – causing significant water damage to the affected areas.

The initial work to address the water damage will cost nearly $45,000. Repairing, rebuilding, and refurbishing affected areas will cost significantly more. Other items are still being assessed, so repair costs may continue to increase.

Until repairs are completed, we are unable to hold Religious Education classes or provide space to outside groups and community partners.

Because we are not in a flood zone or near any bodies of water, we only carried $10,000 in flood insurance. And, the storm has not been declared a federal disaster, so FEMA assistance is not available.

Updates on progress of repairs are on the congregation’s facebook page: UnitarianUniversalistChurchArlingtonVirginia

Unexpected and Emergency...

Hello Potential Funders and Angels,

My name is Kecia McMillian, and I have been sponsored and named as a delegate to our General Assembly in Spokane, WA. This is the 7th GA and 5th as a delegate, I have had the pleasure to attend. The knowledge and energy I leave General Assemblies with has been amazing as well as the opportunity to fellowship with UU’s I may otherwise never meet. As you see on my profile, I am currently a member of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Newark, DE and have been a member of the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Lehigh Valley, PA and the Unitarian Universalist Church of Berkeley, CA. My passions are Youth and Young Adults and Cultural Competency. My BA in Religion and Sociology (from Albright College) and MA in Religion with focus on the Integration of Religion, Sociology, and Diversity Issues (from Lancaster Theological Seminary) have bolstered my passions. And now I am working on my 2nd Masters degree (MS) in Restorative Practices (from International Institute for Restorative Practices) which of course pairs nicely with UU consciousness in last year’s GA, All Are Called, and this year’s GA, The Power of We. I have led one of, I hope, many Restorative Practices Workshops for my congregation to help build healthier relationships, as well as one Restorative Practices Worship in which we began to tackle the Characteristics of White Supremacy. I also led a Worship centered on introducing the Congregation to the 8th Principle and hope that is the beginning of our work to have the Congregation adopt it soon. I am excited to see what else I can bring back from this year’s General Assembly.

This $2000 dollars would be used for airfare, lodging and food while participating at the General Assembly. The reason for my late and desperate cry for help is a recent and unexpected decline in my income which I hope will increase soon (I have made some positive changes in employment), but the increases will not be in time for this event.

To My Non Unitarian Universalist Potential Funders and Angels,

General Assembly is what Unitarian Universalists call their annual meeting, and it is a time of moving our journey forward (business), celebrating with each other, grieving with each other, supporting each other, fellowshipping with and learning from each other. Feel free to email me KeciaMcMillian@gmail.com with any questions about the great value of this event.

Ordination of Rachael Hayes and Shari Halliday-Quan

On June 9th at 5 pm, Rachael Hayes and Shari Halliday-Quan will be ordained to Unitarian Universalist ministry by the Fourth Universalist Society in the City of New York. Surrounded by family, friends, religious professionals of many callings, and members of other local UU congregations, Rachael and Shari will have the joy of celebrating this momentous occasion in the life of a minister.  We know that not everyone who would like to be there can attend, and we will livestream the service so others can join from afar.

Many congregations and individuals have helped form them as ministers, and for that past support, we thank you. We’d love your support now in making this ordination and celebration possible. When we talk of the costly life of faith, we generally mean something else, but make no mistake–food, drink, music, photography, printing, childcare, travel expenses for the preacher, etc. do add up. Your generous donations will help make this gathering possible, and donations of any amount are humbly received with gratitude. Any additional funds beyond our expenses, along with the offering taken at the service, will be split between organizations supporting UU ministries.

Help Send Crash...

Crash (they/them pronouns) is a dedicated, vital member of the youth group at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Buffalo. They are raising funds to attend Thrive Leadership School this summer in order to deepen their connection to their Unitarian Universalist peers of color, explore their faith, and enhance their leadership skills.

They are raising funds to help offset the cost of registration and transportation from Buffalo, NY to Minneapolis, MN.

Crash has been an amazing leader in our youth group and the congregation at large. They have made deep and profound connections among the Unitarian Universalist youth of upstate New York. Making sure that Crash has the funding to attend Thrive this summer so they can connect with other UU youth of color is an utmost priority of our youth program.” – Sarah Martin, Director of Religious Education, Unitarian Universalist Church of Buffalo

Social Justice Work at Safe Passage in Guatemala

In July, youth from the Unitarian Universalist Society of Schenectady will travel to Guatemala City, where we will spend time working with youth of Camino Seguro (Safe Passage), a top-rated charity organization begun in 1999 by Hanley Denning and members of the Guajero (dump picker) community. Camino Seguro has grown from an educational reinforcement program serving 46 children, to current day, providing more than 550 children and 100 parents with education, social services, and the chance to move beyond the poverty their families have faced for generations. According to their website, “Safe Passage is a refuge for children facing difficult situations marked by extreme poverty, neglect, and abuse. Safe Passage is a gateway out of poverty. Safe Passage is hope.”

Our congregation has been working with Safe Passage for 14 years. We have developed deep, meaningful, and lasting relationships with the children, youth, and adults at Safe Passage. Each time we go, we collaborate with Safe Passage to determine which project we will work to fund. We work for an entire year to raise the funds we need for Safe Passage. We pay for own travel and housing expenses. We create lesson plans for the children in addition to the project we fund. This year, our project is to fund the Quinceañera (a favorite, both for our group and the youth in Guatemala). A Quinceañera is an important Coming-of-Age ritual for the Guatemalan girls who are turning 15 and their families. The funding we raise helps defray the costs of the Quinceañera educational program, which includes classes on self-esteem, higher education, and healthy sexuality. It also includes a celebration for the girls and their families and friends. Without our work, it would not be possible for Safe Passage to host the classes or the celebration. As Fredy Maldonando, one of the founding members of Safe Passage, said to us during our last visit, “The most important thing is that you are giving the girls something special, something unforgettable, something that is about dignity. They will never forget it. This is so important to the girls and their families, the dump.”

Funds raised will go toward the Quinceañerea and program fees for Safe Passage.