Vero Beach: UU Fellowship of Vero Beach

UU Fellowship of Vero Beach 2013-2014

Social Justice Program 2013-2014

UUFVB, a caring, liberal, religious community, encourages spiritual growth and seeks justice for all. The Social Justice Committee is our conscience and helps to realize the fellowship’s mission statement. When we hear the words “social justice” we usually think of providing a service to or support for people suffering from an injustice and misfortune. However, the Department of Congregational Advocacy and Witness of UUA expands this definition to include three additional elements of social justice work: education, witness and advocacy.

Social Justice Work Project areas

            Service Projects:

Homeless Family Center

Sharing of Sustenance Sunday

Reuse Exchange

Indian River County Community Day of Service

Project Niño

Sunday Fund

Educational Projects

Film Series

Green Sanctuary

Information about current social issues

Advocacy Projects

Monthly petitions to be signed and letters to congressmen on `legislative issues The SJC have a weekly table in Fellowship Hall

Witness Projects

Fair Trade Corner

Martin Luther King Jr. Parade

UU Service Committee (UUSC)

 Service Projects

Homeless Family Center Monthly Meal: Evening meal prepared with donated ingredient; recipe needs are posted and people sign up to give food, prepare and/or serve) every second Wednesday of the month at the Homeless Center.

Sharing of Sustenance Sunday: All undesignated contributions to the plate offering are given to the Indian River Food Pantry one Sunday monthly.  This “Sharing of Sustenance” program began in 1989 and is administered by the Fellowship’s Social Justice Committee.  In the 2013-2014 fiscal year, the Fellowship donated approximately $4000.00 in addition to donated food and toiletries.

 Reuse Exchange –This is an ordinary bin where usable are collected. The reusables are for the most part, items that teachers can use in craft classes. The bin is emptied into a larger bin in the mall where teachers can help themselves to items that are reusable, for example, oatmeal boxes, shoe boxes Christmas cards, etc… This is part of a community project “Keep Indian River Beautiful”

Indian River County Day of Service: Participate with volunteers from other faiths to help community agencies with specific work projects.  Skills needed range from landscaping and painting to addressing postcards and preparing lunches for the volunteers.

Project Niño’s: A Christmas gift program for pre-school aged children of migrant farm workers in conjunction with Redlands Christian Migrant Association (RCMA). 44 children from twenty families received children’s’ gifts ($10.00 value suggested). This was achieved in partnership with the Rotary Club of Vero Beach Oceanside. This is a twenty year tradition. Publix and Wal-Mart gift cards totaling $135.00 were given.

 Sharing with the Wider Community

The SUnday FUnd financially supports predominantly local organizations and projects that provide service, education, advocacy, or witness consistent with Unitarian Universalist principles and values This is a tangible expression of our Fellowship’s mission to “seek justice for all. The following five local charitable organizations which are nominated by the congregation received funds: Every Dream Has a Price ($1,820), Feed the Lambs ($1,690), Gifford Youth Orchestra ($1,695), Guardians for New Futures ($1,920), and the Homeless Family Center ($1,880). The funds are from the loose plate collections every Sunday throughout the year. The total was over $9000.

Educational Programs:

Film Series The Social Justice Film Series is shown at 7 pm on the second Sunday of every month.  Free films are open to all members and friends of the Fellowship. The Fair Trade Corner opens one-half hour before the showing. Because of screening rights fees to show the films, donations to defray the cost are appreciated. Discussion led by guests knowledgeable in the subject of the film usually follows the film.

Green Sanctuary: An ad-hoc program to raise environmental consciousness for congregational practices as well as individual behaviors. Frequently the newsletter is used to spread the word. UUFVB achieved its Certification as a Green Sanctuary in June 2009.

Information (on the Advocacy table): spreading information about a current and pressing social issue appears on the social justice table in the fellowship hall. This information is mainly informational and does not necessarily call for action.

Advocacy and Witness Projects

Fair Trade Corner in the Fair Trade Corner, Fair Trade items is available for sale until noon after each Sunday service and on Wednesday afternoons.  The Corner has merchandise from organizations that support the principles of Fair Trade, social justice, and environmental responsibility.  The purchase of the products from these organizations makes a difference in the lives of families around the globe. Some ways proceeds were used for justice in the community: paid for eleven blue recycling bins around the building to encourage recycling; paid for installation of heat-reflecting film on ten lobby windows, and provides fair trade coffee every Sunday in the fellowship hall following the Sunday service as free coffee and for any affair that takes place in UUFVB

Martin Luther King Jr, Parade – this is annual event which attracts more UUers. We throw candy a la Marti Gras but more recently give pencils

Unitarian Universalist Service committee (UUSC) This subcommittee is more active at Guest at your Table time in January every year

Other Social Justice Projects (not “farmed out” to a sub-committee)

Free Little Library: In its most basic form, a Little Free Library is a container of books for both adults and children from which anyone may pick up a book or two and bring back another book to share. Begun in 2009 in Wisconsin, this program has become international in its scope with an estimated 15,000 Little Free Libraries around the globe. The Social Justice and Religious Education

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