Social Justice Projects
Below are the social justice projects administered under the umbrella of the Social Justice Steering Committee.
Service Projects of the Social Justice Steering Committee:
- Sharing of Sustenance Sunday (second Sunday of the month) – The Fellowship collects and delivers non-perishable food, toiletries, and money to the Food Pantry of Indian River County located downtown in Vero Beach on 15th Avenue. In 2018 the congregation donated about 800 pounds of food in addition to cash contributions of $3,100. Thanks to all of you who help relieve hunger in our county!
How can you help? Donate non-perishable food, toiletries, or money. Cereal, canned fruit, and baby food are particularly needed. (On other Sundays of the month, donate cash to the SUnday FUnd which supports five local charitable organizations.) For more information, contact the church office (772-778-5880).
- Upcycle It! Boutique – Keep Indian River Beautiful (or KIRB) collects materials for teachers, scout leaders, and crafters for their projects, thereby keeping these items out of the landfill. Their store is at 1596 Old Dixie, located just several blocks east of the Fellowship at the corner of 16th Street and Old Dixie Highway.
How can you help? Donate craft items like fabric, yarn, ribbon, cookie tins, corks, dowel rods, curtain rings, tennis balls, costume jewelry, candles, old CDs, vinyl records, maps, puzzles, calendars, marbles, spools, baskets, and shoe boxes. A clear plastic collection bin is located in the Fellowship lobby across from the book carts. For a complete listing of items, read the list attached to the collection bin, visit their boutique, or go to their website.
- Once-a-Month Meal for Persons in Transition – On the fourth Tuesday of each month a group gathers in the UUFVB kitchen to prepare a casserole that is delivered to three organizations that house formerly homeless people and families. We support Camp Haven, the Samaritan Center, and a duplex for formerly homeless veterans.
How can you help? Donate ingredients or money for the meal; see the sign-up sheet each month on the rolling cart. Come to the kitchen at 1:00 PM on the fourth Tuesday to help prepare the casserole. Salads, desserts, and beverages are also needed to complete the meal. For more information, contact the church office (772-778-5880) for the names of the co-chairs.
Education programs of the Social Justice Steering Committee:
- UUA Common Read Book Discussions – Each winter a group discusses the book that is UUA’s Common Read selection. For 2019 the book is Justice on Earth: People of Faith Working at the Intersections of Race, Class, and the Environment, a collection of essays edited by Manish Mishra-Marzetti and Jennifer Nordstrom. Several copies of the book are available for purchase in the Fair Trade Center.
- Little Free Library – Our committee and the LRE Committee co-sponsor a Little Free Library box located at the United Against Poverty Grocery on Old Dixie Highway south of Oslo Road.
How can you help? Donate books by bringing them to the Fellowship office. The box especially needs children’s books.
- Social Justice films, speakers, and other announced special events – Documentary films and speakers about social justice issues are presented periodically in the sanctuary.
On Sunday, April 7, the committee will show “Legalize Democracy” in the library at 11:30 AM to educate us about the Move to Amend effort. This organization is promoting a Constitutional Amendment which declares that corporations are not persons (and are therefore not entitled to the protections under law that persons are) and that money is not free speech.
How can you help? Attend and bring your friends and neighbors with you to these events that are open to the public.
- Green Sanctuary Task Force – This ad-hoc group raises our environmental consciousness for congregational practices as well as individual behaviors.
How can you help? Take the 1-2-3 Pledge. Conserve water and electricity at the Fellowship. Recycle your spent ink cartridges at the UUFVB office. Buy locally grown produce. Carpool to Fellowship events. Read about environmental issues.
Advocacy and Witness programs of the Social Justice Steering Committee:
- Fair Trade Corner – The Corner is a place here at UUFVB to spend your money in keeping with your values. It is open Sunday mornings before and after the service, Wednesdays afternoons from 2:00 to 4:00 PM, and usually one hour prior to Emerson Center events.
How can you help? Buy Fair Trade products: coffee, tea, hot cocoa mix, chocolate bars, bean soup mixes, and Elli Pooh paper products (made from the dung of endangered elephants), as well as clothing, accessories, home decor, and jewelry made by women’s cooperatives from around the world. Tee shirts and bumper stickers with social justice messages are also available as are crafts from Ten Thousand Villages and Made by Survivors.
- Unitarian Universalist Service Committee – UUSC is an international human rights organization affiliated with UUA. Our Fellowship donates to UUSC annually from the congregation’s budget and also participates in the annual fundraiser known as Guest at Your Table (GAYT) in December. Our recent GAYT donation to UUSC from Fellowship friends and members totaled $4,575, an increase of 20 percent compared to a year ago.
How can you help? Become a member of UUSC by donating at the $40 level. Read UUSC information and take suggested actions (calls, letters, petitions). Visit their website at www.uusc.org
- Coalition for Racial Justice – The Fellowship began a group in 2016 (formerly known as Black Lives Matter) that meets twice a month on alternate Fridays at 4:00 PM in the UUFVB library. Their meetings are always open to new members.
How can you help? Attend the meetings and help plan efforts in support of our African American neighbors. For more information, contact the church office (772-778-5880) for the names of the co-chairs.
Seasonal Projects of the Social Justice Steering Committee:
- Martin Luther King, Jr. Parade – Participation in the local parade held every January in Gifford has been an annual event for our congregation for several years.
How can you help? Walk with the UUFVB contingent on MLK Day. If you need to ride in the parade, talk with someone at the Social Justice Information Table on Sunday mornings.
- Project Niños – A Christmas gifting program for pre-school aged children of farm workers in conjunction with Redlands Christian Migrant Association (RCMA). Many volunteers also visit the pre-school center throughout the year to hold babies, play with toddlers, and read to pre-schoolers.
How can you help? Donate money in December to buy gift cards which RCMA distributes to farm worker families to empower them to provide holiday gifts for their children plus their holiday meal. Volunteer some time to spend with the children at the RCMA Center. The Center also needs donations of toys, books, children’s clothing, and diapers. Ask at the Social Justice Information Table on Sunday morning how to volunteer.
- Just Serve – 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.
How can you help? Register online (www.ircdayofservice.org) to participate in this inter-faith activity which now operates all year long as projects become known.