Articles, Reflections, & Announcements
Reuse, Recycle, & Repurpose at Manna
Manna member churches (including UUCT) participate in activities that help the environment as well as help Manna and other organizations save money. Below are four of the major activities that member churches are involved in. Please continue to support these activities:
1. Reducing the use of plastic grocery bags that Manna donations come in. Churches encouraged and members stepped up and began having their grocery stores put their groceries in double paper bags and then giving the bags to Manna. It is estimated that this saved Manna from purchasing over 1000 bags (actually 2000 because we double bag them), allowing those dollars to go directly to the purchase of goods for Manna recipients! Please keep those doubled paper bags coming! NOTE: for those plastic bags or paper bags that cannot be used by Manna, volunteers have found local thrift shops that are happy to take them and re-use them.
2. Reducing the need for using plastic bags for produce. Thanks to the Rags to Bags sewing group, the T-shirt bag sewing group, and to Manna member church donations, Manna is able to pack almost all 200 bags of produce each month in reusable cloth bags instead of purchasing heavy duty plastic bags. Please continue to drop off any reusable cloth or heavy paper bags that you cannot use. Whatever does not work for Manna is passed to other organizations.
3. Repurposing plastic ware from take out, picnics, and parties. This year Manna church members dropped off plastic ware that they did not want to throw away but knew they wouldn’t be using. This plastic ware was donated by Manna to Grace Mission and more recently to the Kearney Center (who is using disposables during Covid). A rough estimate is that more that 2500 forks, knives, and spoons were donated! This is a significant savings for those organizations and helps clean out your home and office kitchen drawers. Please drop off any plastic ware (from home, church, school, office) with your Manna food donations and we will see it gets to Kearney and Grace Mission.
4. Repurposing of cardboard boxes. Each month Manna breaks down over 100 cardboard boxes of all sizes and, until this year, could only place them in the recycling cans. This year Manna partnered with church volunteers who are working with community gardens. The gardens have had someone pick up the boxes to use as mulch, thereby repurposing the cardboard boxes. If you need boxes for mulch or know of a garden who might like to be notified when they are available, let Manna know.
Manna provides each of us with opportunities to help feed the vulnerable in our community, help out our local environment, and most importantly, to be role models to others demonstrating the importance of volunteerism. We are doing an excellent job month after month. Thank you and keep up the good work!
In Case You Missed It!
Harmony Camp – Revitalized & Reimagined With Your Help
By Kerry Burner
As many long-time congregants know, Harmony Camp was a valued part of our UUCT community for over 15 years. It was conceived of at a UUCT retreat at The Mountain by Joanne Taylor who chaired the first committee that brought it to fruition.
Joanne Taylor on the philosophy of Harmony Camp: “A major focus of social learning must be to teach young people to value a variety of cultural and subcultural life styles. Differences in cultural awareness and understanding often lead to conflict between diverse groups. We believe that in exposing our children to opportunities to become more culturally aware and to learn tools that they can use in real world situations to manage or resolve conflicts, our broader community will benefit. We feel that through our Unitarian Universalist community, Harmony Camp is a first step toward developing a child’s understanding of cultural diversity. The camp gives the opportunity to not only provide experiences, materials and activities for children, but as adults to model the significance of accepting and appreciating cultural diversity for all ages.”
Rosa Morgan wrote the grant UUCT gratefully received from UUA to launch the camp with paid staff. Since then, it primarily has depended on the efforts of an all-volunteer management staff – often just one like the years Claudia Montague led camp – so UUCT could pay camp session leaders fair wages.
In late 2019, trying to plan for 2020, that volunteer person-power was simply not available which sadly meant that even had we not been in a pandemic, Harmony Camp did not happen that year for the first time since its inception in 2004.
During that initial hiatus, the then newly formed and until now defunct UUCT Harmony Summer Camp Planning Committee had started to work on creating a plan for a sustainable summer camp program – one that is rooted in all the wonderful things Harmony Camp has accomplished and nurtured over the years, and one that welcomes a refocusing on the social challenges faced by today’s children and youth.
Clearly, with the current pandemic, Harmony Camp didn’t happen again in 2021. The goal is for this revitalized and reimagined summer camp program to resume the summer of 2022.
The reality of that goal is that Harmony Camp cannot happen without substantial volunteer support, both behind the scenes planning and organizing and during camp working with campers and Jr. advisors.
If you would like to join the re-instantiated UUCT Harmony Summer Camp Planning Committee or if you are interested in learning more about volunteer opportunities during Harmony Camp, please email Kerry Burner at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ongoing Need for Volunteers!
Kearney Center Meal Service and Preparation Volunteers Needed
By Janet Temkin
If you and your family are looking for a way to give back to our community, the Kearney Center can use your help.
UUCT has signed up to prep and serve lunches on the first, third and fourth Tuesday of each month at the Kearney Center. We will be assisting with dinners on the second Monday of each month. 4-5 volunteers are needed at each mealtime.
Meal prep is a fun way to connect with others and help our vulnerable homeless population at the same time.
You can easily sign up to volunteer using the link below:
Kathryn Schroeder is now our UUCT coordinator. Please email Kathryn at email@example.com for more information.
UUCT Volunteer Opportunity – Auditor
UUCT’s Manual of Policies and Procedures calls for an ad-hoc audit committee to perform an internal review of our financial accounts and procedures every two years. The board is looking for volunteers to do this important work. A financial background is not necessary and there is a checklist from the UUA to help ensure a thorough review. While this is a significant project, prior volunteer auditors tell us that it can be done by one person, or alternatively a small committee, within a couple of weeks. Members performing these audits cannot be serving on the finance committee or serving in positions directly related to UUCT’s finances.
So are you detail oriented and willing to review our financial records and interview our treasurers? If so, please let the board know – email firstname.lastname@example.org.