First Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Palm Beaches 2013-2014
All members of the congregation are encouraged to take an active role in social action issues. Some are actively involved in Social Action Committee (SAC) group projects. Others contribute independently in the spirit of the UU seven principles.
Projects are chosen based on congregational interest and willingness of a specific leader. There is a retreat annually, usually in August to evaluate the past year and plan for the future.
Current Project Areas
- Wayne’s Garden works with CROS (Christians Reaching Out to Society, Inc). Ministries in Palm Beach County on a community garden program. Lumber was donated for box frames; CROS Ministries donated a truck, soil, and picked up and delivered supplies at no cost; seeds were donated. Produce harvested benefits El sol.
- North Palm Beaches is a member of the Climate Action Coalition, Climate Action Partners, addressing water rising, land integrity and climate change and Regional Climate Action Plan (RCAP). See http://www.southeastfloridaclimatecompact.org/
In the municipality initiative the congregation is asking our local officials to sign RCAP and to report how they plan to implement it. Palm Beach Gardens, Riviera Beach and Jupiter Inlet Colony are first targets.
- A compost project was started in 2014, through a generous donation by a member family.
Growing Cities; Years of Living Dangerously; How Climate Change is Affecting Floridians & What Can Be Done Now; Shadows of Liberty; Inequality For All; Unmanned.
The Coffee and Chocolate Project is open for business every Sunday morning during Hospitality. This project shows one way the congregation is committed to economic justice. These products are used at church events. As a congregation, we regularly donate Fair trade coffee as well as food for the workers at El Sol, the day labor center in Jupiter, Florida besides giving requested items which are sent onward to Haiti.
The Family Promise Network consists of 13 churches and synagogues dedicated to helping homeless families in our community regain their independence. In concert with Tropical Sands Christian Church the First UU of the Palm Beaches acts in a supportive role providing evening meals and overnight hosts when needed.
Members fill baggies with lentils, rice, freeze dried veggies and sea salt, sufficient to feed five or six, for children and their families in need of nutritious meals. These baggies have provided roughly 10,000 meals to the Palm Beach County Schools Title I unit which then distributes the packages to children and their families with an emphasis in the Glades area where there is substantial food insufficiency. Volunteers gather three times during the year to package this food. The church youth group has been well represented at these events.
Members focus on ongoing actions to insure justice and inclusion for LGBT people and their allies. The proud heritage of LGBT participation is upheld in the congregation by participation in PrideFest parade and with Compass, the Gay and Lesbian Community Center in Lake Worth. Connections are maintained with community allies in raising social justice: Equality Florida, the American Civil Liberties Union, Planned Parenthood, the Area Council on Aging for example.
People Engaged in Active Community Efforts The church has joined with other Religious Organizations to make Social Justice changes in Palm Beach County. Current actions include monitoring the Wage Theft Resolution, reducing out-of-school suspensions (40% reduction in first year for minor infractions), teaming with other organizations around the issue of youth arrests, reducing unemployment in the Glades, not arresting undocumented immigrants without a driver’s license. There is a Nehemiah Action Assembly every spring. Approximately 80 members and friends attend along with 1500 to 2000 others to confront relevant leaders about commitments to action.
Racial and Economic Justice
25 congregants and friends participated in the city of Riviera Beach DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. PARADE. The new gold “on the side of love” tee shirts were greeted by cheers from many of those watching the parade. The new banner was noticed.
The Grants program financially support Emergency Medical Assistance Inc. which is a local nonprofit that helps improve lives, by providing funding for abortions, travel and lodging for low income women and girls who are faced with an unintended or problem pregnancy. A member of our congregation is on the Board.12 members joined other activists for the Florida premiere of the acclaimed human rights film Vessel sponsored by NOW for the benefit of Emergency Medical Assistance Inc.
Systemic Justice through Legislative Change
Monthly a 3 hour monthly workshop is held on a specific unjust legal structure. At the end of the workshop the team identifies specific follow-up actions which can be taken. Volunteers team with AWAKE PBC, and other local organizations with similar social justice goals.
UUSC believes in acting locally and supporting globally. UUSC can increase the power of UU social justice by allowing all congregations and individuals to join together as one voice for human rights. UUSC is not a replacement for local social action but a powerful extension of it. UUSC seeks out people and organizations around the world who work effectively at the ground level, where human rights are being violated. 80 church members contributed during the 2013-14 fiscal year which ended June 30th. Two Sunday services are held monthly, Guest at your Table is encouraged and there is an annual UUSC Justice Sunday.
We authorize a limited number of grants to meet needs in the community not currently being met. The money for these grants is raised by dedicating the plate collection on the third Sunday of each month. For our 2013-14 fiscal year, $6960 was awarded in general awards and $760 in a dedicated award to Emergency Medical Assistance. There is an application process in the spring and funds are given for specific purposes.
The following grants were awarded:
- Adult Day Treatment Program for developmentally disabled adults. – $500 – to provide a low income staff person of the month recognition awards of approximately $40.
- Beyond Blind Institute – $ 300 – To provide Blind Shot golf program for sight-paired/blind.
- Center for Family Services Pat Reeves Center – $ 300 – To purchase microwave ovens
- Children’s Home Society – $ 250- To establish a baby’s closet to benefit the babies of mothers in foster care
- Christ Child Society – $400 – To purchase supplies for volunteers to make 10 baby layettes
- Community Food Pantry of Lake Park – Club 100 charities – $ 500 – to purchase rubber mats for the concrete floor
- De Porres place – $460 – To purchase 24 student literacy books and teacher’s guides
- Family Promise – $ 350 – To purchase meals and gas cards for homeless families
- First UU Feeding Our Community’s Children – $500 – To provide food for migrant children and their families in western Palm Beach County
- Hope 4 Mobility – $500 – To purchase materials needed to construct adaptive equipment for special needs children
- Mothers Against Murderers – $ 500 – To purchase a heat transfer tee shirt printer
- New Generation Missionary Church -$500- To help 30 kids from Jacques Pierre-Louis Haitian congregation get ready for a successful school year
- P.E.A.C.E. – $500 – To purchase additional simultaneous translation devices
- Prisoner Art – $400 – To purchase frames for prisoner art prints to sell. All sale proceeds go to the prisoner.
- Toby Center for Family Transitions -$ 500 – To provide counseling services
- Toussaint L’Ouverture Charter High School for Arts and Social Justice– $500 – To purchase critical science materials
- Vita Nova – $ 500 – To purchase items on wish list such as apartment furniture, linens, etc. needed for foster teens in transition to independent living
- Emergency Medical Assistance Inc. – $780 – (This money is raised in a dedicated collection) To provide financial assistance to women who have made the decision to terminate their pregnancies but can’t afford the cost of a safe and legal abortion
Harriet Glasner Justice scholarships
An anonymous donor has pledged $100,000 to support a ten-year justice scholarship project. Scholarships are awarded annually up to $5000 each for a total of $10,000. The scholarship may be used for GED, a private or public college, university, or trade school. Need and social action activities are major considerations for awards.
International Day of Peace Service on Sept. 21 culminating with a ceremony around our Peace Pole. This year there was also a Peace Fair sponsored by our youth group.
Soup lunch near Thanksgiving donated $338 to Jacques Pierre Luis’ orphanage in Haiti.
Toys for Mamas, (Mothers Against Murderers) which lends year-round support to families, particularly mothers and their children, who are the victims of neighborhood gun violence.
Our youth collected change each Sunday to purchase chicks through Heifer International.
Gift cards for teens through the Children’s Home Society-. Many of these kids have suffered from abuse, neglect or abandonment. We let them know we care by donating over $300 in $10 gift cards.
Standing on the Side of Love service and luncheon – On Feb. 15, 2014, grant recipients were honored. This 3rd Sunday Grant collection for future grants totaled $1620.25, which was doubled by an anonymous donor to make $3240.50.
At the April 2014 Annual Meeting, the congregation voted unanimously to endorse the Move To Amend Resolution.
North Palm Beaches publishes a monthly Social action newsletter.
Note: Note: fiscal year runs May 1-April 30