Each month we identify a special project or community partner and we give away 25% of our weekly Sunday offerings to this effort.
June 2020: Navajo & Hopi Families COVID-19 Relief Fund
The Unitarian Society has an ongoing congregational friendship with the people on Hopi and Navaho, and it is with particular concern that we are learning of the increasing rates of infection on Navaho. Last month we focused our outreach on families in our Santa Barbara community experiencing food insecurity and managing exposure risk; this month we will extend this care to families on the Navajo and Hopi Reservations by designating the Navajo & Hopi Families COVID-19 Relief Fund as our June Outreach Offering recipient. The Navajo & Hopi Families COVID-19 Relief Fund is an all-volunteer, grassroots, indigenous-led group operating on the Navajo and Hopi Reservations. They are prioritizing the elderly (especially those raising their grandchildren), single parents, and struggling families by helping them buy groceries, water, and health supplies, and by protecting them (and their vulnerable communities) from exposure by engaging volunteers to make the purchases and deliver them to a safe transfer location for the families. This fundraiser is organized on behalf of Rural Utah Project Education Fund. More information about the fund can be found at the website www.navajohopisolidarity.org.
May 2020: Foodbank of santa Barbara county
In May, our Outreach Offering will support Foodbank of Santa Barbara County, another local organization that is effectively mobilizing to support the most vulnerable during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Foodbank of Santa Barbara County’s mission is to end hunger and transform the health of Santa Barbara County through good nutrition and increased food security. With nutrition education, disaster preparedness, environmental sustainability, and community resilience at the forefront of its mission, Foodbank is working to solve the underlying causes of hunger in Santa Barbara County.
In ordinary times, one in four people in Santa Barbara County receive food support through Foodbank’s 300 programs and partners annually. Since Covid-19 safety measures took effect, a visible and staggering increase in need for food is evolving throughout the county. Foodbank has tripled the amount of food it normally provides to community members facing food hunger and food insecurity. In the last week of April, to meet growing need, the Foodbank purchased $100,000 in food that is difficult to source by donation.
At this time, financial donations and volunteers are most urgently needed. For more information about the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County, including how to volunteer, please visit their website: foodbanksbc.org.
April 2020: 805 Undocufund
The Outreach Offering recipient for April is the 805 Undocufund, a collective effort among Ventura and Santa Barbara County-based grassroots organizations. The fund assists local undocumented immigrant individuals and families who are are excluded from federally funded safety net programs, and who have been economically impacted by the loss of their homes, wages, and/or employment due to disasters in our communities like wildfires, mudslides, and now COVID19.
The 805 Undocufund was created in the aftermath of the 2017 Thomas fire and the Montecito debris flows in early 2018; it was relaunched after the Woolsey and Hill fires in 2018, and reopened again for the Easy and Maria fires in 2019. In 2020, the fund is opening again, with a widened scope of mission, to assist families impacted by the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
The fund estimates that over 126,000 undocumented immigrants live and work in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties; many work in sectors that will be hard hit by COVID-19, including service and hospitality, restaurants, child and elder care, and day labor. During the Thomas fire and Montecito debris flows, the 805 Undocufund raised over $2 million. The goal is to raise at least $1 million in response to COVID-19 to give a meaningful level of assistance to help individuals and families recover.
Undocumented immigrants, including mixed-status families, who are residents of Ventura or Santa Barbara Counties who have experienced loss of housing, job, or income are eligible for assistance.
Thank you for giving generously to support this uniquely responsive organization. For more information about the Fund, including their need for volunteers, please visit their website: 805undocufund.org
MARCH 2020: HUNT FOR JUSTICE
Learning to “put legs on our faith” through giving is one of the earliest religious values we teach our children. Caring and sharing behaviors can be taught and modeled at all ages and are at the roots of teaching empathy.
And a great place for children to learn about giving? Home. Once again we are making our traditional Easter egg hunt, the Hunt for Justice, a family project. Our Outreach Offering for March will fund the charities chosen by our children.
Many children have little opportunity to learn about the work of local charities. Linking giving to interests or experiences they have had is a wonderful way to teach. A child who enjoys animals might want to support the Humane Society. Has your child had a classmate who is seriously ill? It might be helpful to learn about the work of medical charities. Or maybe your child has a classmate who lives in foster care who has benefited from a court-appointed special advocate.
Please have a conversation with your children about where they would like to donate the money collected by our congregation during the month of March. We suggest organizations below, but we will also include recommendations made by you and your children:
- Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation, children’s cancer charity
- CASA of Santa Barbara, court-appointed special advocates for children
- Freedom Warming Centers, this USSB sister group shelters people without homes on cold or rainy nights
- The Santa Barbara Humane Society, provides a safe haven for homeless dogs and cats until they are able to find forever homes for them
Thank you for helping us teach giving as a reflection of our Unitarian Universalist values.
February 2020: Beloved Conversations
This month’s Outreach Offering will support a congregational initiative designed to explore the role of race and ethnicity in our individual and congregational lives. Originally commissioned by a congregation in need of resources to hold its members in covenant as they learned how race and ethnicity shape their spiritual and social lives, Beloved Conversations: Meditations on Race and Ethnicity is now serving more than 140 Unitarian Universalist, Jewish, and Quaker congregations across the United States.
Beloved Conversations recognizes that centuries of racially informed social, emotional, and spiritual practices wound every person, no matter their racial and/or ethnic identity. Using a small-group ministry format, the curriculum creates a supportive space for congregants to talk about their own experiences, while identifying places where growth is necessary. As an instrument of faith formation, it offers participants a chance to rediscover the sacred and important presence of compassion, grace, risk-taking, vulnerability, and the healing joy when cross-racial relationships are reconciled. In addition, the curriculum’s third edition (2017) offers real-time faith formation resources explicitly for people of color, as well as organizational support for making institutional change.
Last year, the board of trustees, staff, and lay leaders of the Unitarian Society participated in Beloved Conversations. This year, there will be two more cohorts of participants, who will join others from six local UU congregations at an opening retreat February 7-8 in Ventura. In February and March, the two USSB groups will complete the remaining eight sessions of guided experiential exercises.
Please contact Rev. Julia with any questions about Beloved Conversations.
More information about the curriculum is available on the Meadville Lombard website.
January 2020: Martin Luther King, Jr. Committee
The mission of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Committee of Santa Barbara is to foster positive relationships between the many diverse groups in the Santa Barbara community and the surrounding areas; to sponsor programs and events which exemplify the teachings of Dr. King; and to observe and celebrate the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day holiday. Among other activities in support of this mission, the committee organizes an annual essay and poetry contest for community junior high and high school students.
Dr. King’s birthday, celebrated each year on the third Monday in January, is the first national holiday to honor an individual Black American. This year, the committee has organized a full weekend of events beginning Friday January 17, and culminating Monday with a speech by the Rev. James M. Lawson, an American activist and university professor. Rev. Lawson worked with Dr. King as a leading theoretician and tactician of non-violence within the civil rights movement. He was inducted into the California Hall of Fame for his life’s work in nonviolence, social justice, and civil rights. All events are free and open to the public.
A quotation from Dr. King inspired the theme for 2020: “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”
Raise your voice through an Outreach Offering donation to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Committee of Santa Barbara.
For more information, please visit the website: www.mlksb.org
December 2019 : Angels foster care of santa barbara
Throughout Santa Barbara County, very young children are in need of a soft place to land after experiencing abuse or neglect. Angels Foster Care places infants and toddlers with carefully screened and trained local foster families, and helps those families provide loving care until the court decides their permanency paths.
Angels Foster Care is a private agency that operates independently, but in cooperation with the Santa Barbara County Department of Social Services. Angels serves children from birth to age three, and siblings to age five, all of whom are Santa Barbara County residents. Angels Foster Care was founded in 2006 and has since placed over 230 children in stable, loving foster homes.
As a non-profit 501c(3) organization, Angels Foster Care of Santa Barbara is completely funded by private donations from philanthropic individuals, companies, and foundations. All funding received is used to recruit, train, and support Angels families and their foster children.
For more information about Angels Foster Care of Santa Barbara, please visit www.angelsfostercare.org.
November 2019 : Hillside
Hillside is an independent nonprofit serving adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Currently there are 59 people, who are part of this communal living environment, located in Veronica Canyon in Santa Barbara (off of Las Positas Road). Hillside strives to advance the potential of each resident and promote equality by fostering abilities and creating community.
Recognizing the value of a mixed-ability neighborhood, Hillside is in the planning stages of creating an exciting state-of-the-art, adaptive “community” neighborhood on their property – the first of its kind in the Santa Barbara area. The project will open the path for greater community integration, increased independence for residents and greater financial stability for Hillside.
Please give generously during the Outreach Offerings in November to support Hillside residents. If you chose to do so, please make your check payable to Hillside House. It’s a perfect time to give as Hillside continues to move forward with its community neighborhood initiative.
For more information about Hillside, please visit www.hillsidesb.org or call (805) 687-0788.
October 2019: P A T H Santa Barbara
Focus: Ending homelessness in Santa Barbara
Path Santa Barbara helps homeless people find permanent housing. It provides case management, medical and mental health care, employment training, benefits advocacy and other services. It also helps those who obtain homes to maintain them stably.
PATH envisions a world where every person has a home. In 2018, PATH helped 967 people and made 75 housing placements in Santa Barbara. It launched an innovative recuperative care program in partnership with Cottage Health, serving high-need homeless patients discharged from the hospital. Path also awarded Homeless Emergency Aid Program (HEAP) funds to operate LeaseUp Santa Barbara, a countywide landlord engagement program.
Please give generously in October to support our homeless neighbors via PATH.
To learn more, visit PATH Santa Barbara.
September 2019: Academy for Success – Santa Barbara Public High Schools
The Academy provides at-risk students the personalized support they need to succeed in school and life. The Academy connects students to school and community through strong personal relationships, programs, and organizations. But on any given school day, many Academy participants may not have had breakfast or lunch, and lack other necessary supplies. USSB support would go toward snacks, water, text books, and school supplies for the upcoming school year.
- PROGRAM The Academy program is a three-year plan. Students become eligible for the program in the 9th grade and start the three-year Academy program at the beginning of their 10th grade year.
- SCHEDULE Academy students have a carefully planned schedule and receive individualized attention from academy teachers and administrators. Students travel as a group to each of their English, math, science, and social studies classes. Academy students stay with their group of peers and their Academy teachers for the remainder of their years in high school.
- COUNSELING Academy students meet in smaller groups for group counseling, and are also given the option for one-on-one counseling with a licensed therapist. The opportunity to share personal issues helps the students become healthier and more capable to deal with school.
- INTERNSHIPS Each semester Academy students are given the opportunity to apply for local internships through Partners in Education, a non-profit that places students in community businesses and allows them to explore career opportunities.
Please give generously via Sunday offerings in September to support this program and the young people it serves. Read more at theacademyforsuccess.org
August 2019: Unitarian Universalist Justice Ministry of California (UUJMCA)
The Unitarian Universalist Justice Ministry of California (UUJMCA) aims to make the world more just by empowering the network of Unitarian Universalists in California. This ministry cultivates and connects leaders and communities and seeks to strengthen the public voice of those who share UU values and principles in our state. UUJMCA list of priority issues includes:
• Immigrant Justice
• Living Wage
• Climate Justice
• Right to Water
• Equity Ministry
UUJMA has been on the front lines of the immigration policy crisis playing out at the US-Mexico Border. Thousands of children have been separated from their families, and the situation is critical for the well-being of the young children being detained. As Unitarian Universalists we are called to uphold the worth and dignity of all. There is nothing that stands against those values more clearly than forcibly separating children from their parents. UUJMCA advocates direct action for awareness-raising, for witness, and for solidarity. Please support social justice in California with your generous offerings in August. For more information, visit www.uujmca.org.
July 2019: The Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES)
As we all know, recent changes in US immigration policy have resulted in refugee children being separated from their parents at the US-Mexican border. The human suffering caused by the splintering of families and isolation of children as young as two years of age has deeply concerned many Americans, and we as Unitarians believe the practice must be stopped. A recent National Public Radio report said, “Pediatricians and immigrant advocates are warning that separating migrant children from their families can cause ‘toxic stress’ that disrupts a child’s brain development and harms long-term health.”
The Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES) is at the front lines of this issue along the international border in Texas. What better cause to support with our Outreach Offering for July? RAICES Legal Representation, Education, and Advocacy Fund (LEAF) In a 13-day period this May, 658 children were separated from their parents at the border. As hundreds of children are being taken away from their parents at the border, RAICES received word in mid-June that federal funding to represent unaccompanied children in court is ending. Representation is often the last line of safety for vulnerable children.
RAICES has also started a Family Reunification Bond Fund—helping get parents out of jail so they can be reunited with their children. Raising funds for bonds is one of the best ways to increase someone’s chances in immigration court. Their case is much more likely to be successful if they are not in jail—and in this instance it means they can be reunited with their family. Please give as generously as you can to Outreach Offerings in July to support the RAICES. Our collective contribution may help reunite families and provide comfort to people seeking safety and justice in the United States. For more information, go to www.raicestexas.org.
JUNE 2019: OUR LOCAL LGBTQ PARTNERS
The Outreach Offering for June goes to our local LGBTQ partners, including Pacific Pride Foundation (PPF), Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), and Santa Barbara Transgender Advocacy Network (SBTAN). These organizations provide services and advocacy for the gay and transgender community and have facilitated the “Love. Period” interfaith services at the Sunken Gardens every year since 2015.
1. PACIFIC PRIDE FOUNDATION (PPF)
The Unitarian Society of Santa Barbara has had a longstanding relationship with the Pacific Pride Foundation. We turn to PPF for resources and education as we seek to grow in our understanding of the current needs of the LGBTQ community. Our own spiritual journey is enriched by our work with Pacific Pride, and we have stood with PPF in the public square to advocate for justice and celebrate our progress! pacificpridefoundation.org
2. PARENTS AND FRIENDS OF LESBIANS AND GAYS (PFLAG)
PFLAG describes itself as “the extended family of the LGBTQ community.” Its membership consists of LGBTQ individuals and their family members, friends and allies. They provide peer-to-peer support, publications, tool kits, and other resources to support LGBTQ family members. This allows families to then further support, affirm, and advocate on behalf of their LGBTQ loved ones. www.pflagsantabarbara.org
3. SANTA BARBARA TRANSGENDER ADVOCACY NETWORK (SBTAN)
SBTAN educates individuals and organizations on best practices for transgender and gender expansive clients, patients, students, congregants and families. It creates spaces, actions, and policies that advance the welfare of transgender people and their allies in Central Coast communities. SBTAN has provided training to workplaces, schools, medical providers and social service agencies, including Cottage Health Emergency, UCSB Faculty and staff, and Santa Barbara public and private high schools. www.sbtan.org