Thursday, September 27, 2007

Myanmar (Burma) Action Idea

Amnesty International has an online letter to President Bush requesting he support a UN Security Council Mission to investigate in Myanmar (Burma).

Monday, September 24, 2007

Youth Group Schedule.

Sept. 30 Journey in class; for more info, contact Pastor Steve; Friends in worship; everybody collect donations for Walk for Hope after worship
Oct. 7 Journey and Friends in worship for World Communion Sunday; everybody collect donations for Walk for Hope after worship
Oct. 14 Journey and Friends Walk for Hope
Oct. 21 Journey and Friends work with Suzette to prepare the Pilgrim House Open House

Pilgrim House Open House Oct. 21

You are cordially invited to

Fellowship Time

Sunday, October 21

after 10:30 am worship.

The Youth Group will host the grand unveiling of the Youth Room.

Come for snacks and conversation (and to find out why JK is painting sideways). The youth will be stationed at the 3 shallow, wide-tread steps to help anyone who needs a hand.

The Youth invite anyone from CUCC to schedule a time of private retreat or a group meeting in this comfortable and cozy space. We're calling it "The Youth Room," but it is available whenever it isn't full of youth!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Hold Nov. 4, 4pm, for Educational Sampler Potluck (ESP)

All CUCCers are invited
to a rollicking supper-time feast of food
and semi-seminars
for our Justice in a Changing Climate initiative.

Teens and adults will choose from a smorgasbord of videos, briefings, book discussions, and happenings. Children will play their way through "green justice" activities; a nursery will be provided for the under-3 set.

If you can, bring locally grown food to the potluck, because the biggest contribution we can make to slowing climate change is by driving fewer vehicles miles. Tell us where your food came from.

Dozens of helpers are needed for small tasks; call Jane Smith to volunteer.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The Saga of Your Food Bag

I just served my first week bagging food at the UM food pantry . Here is what I learned. Remember, I’m new on the job so an experienced volunteer could tell you the mistakes I made! I hope I did my trainers proud.

Your Bag Arrives

Marge drives your bag from church to the loading dock at the new Urban Ministries building on Capital Boulevard. The bags are logged in and placed on a side table – packed just as you prepared them. Imagine a climate-controlled room which is a cross between a clerestory-lit warehouse and our Vaughan Fellowship Hall. Everything is very well organized and very, very clean.

First, a digression… Who can get a food bag?
People in need of food, medical care, and other assistance call ahead to make an appointment for an interview. The interview space is a large, sunlit area off of a lovely garden; there are a playroom for small children and many comfortable chairs for the adults. A staff person or volunteer interviews the person, keeping careful record of the many documents the person brings to verify his or her information. The record keeping is required so that Urban Ministries can pass along resources provided through a variety of government programs and private grants. On my two visits so far I have been impressed with the attitude of the interviewers: respectful, smiling, exuding a genuine pleasure to meet the person and a desire to help with whatever the person needs.
The interviewer might offer food, medical care, or advice on which other agencies might have the resources the person needs. There are English and Spanish-speaking interviewers and health care workers. The Open Door Clinic (located in on the second floor) becomes the person’s family doctor; ODC isn’t an urgent care center or emergency room, it follows patients just as in a private practice. A person can receive a food bag (enough food for two weeks) once every three months; there are too many people in need and not enough resources to go around. Money for utilities, etc., is rarely given; there simply isn’t much available.

Now, back to the story of your food bag.
When a person is approved to receive a food bag, the interviewer types into the computer the name, number of adults & children, dietary restrictions, and government food okay. Back in the food pantry, this information appears on our computer and a food bagger (that would be me!) springs into action filling a shopping cart with food!
Your food bag is a Basic Bag. To this is added an array of government food, fresh bread, fresh fruit & vegetables, meat, and miscellaneous stuff donated through food drives and by local stores. So a "food bag" is really a shopping cart. Here is what I packed for a family with 4 adults and 2 children:

your Basic Bag
from the freezer: 3 packs of turkey cutlets, pack of hotdogs, pack of lunch meat, 2 packs of ground beef, bag of corn on the cob, giant bag french fries
from the fridge: 6 yogurts, 1 pound margarine, 2 bags of mixed greens, 4 individual juices, 1 small watermelon, handful of coffee half&half cups
from the government: 2 each of 5 lb bag rice, pack powdered milk, large can each grapefruit and apple juices, small can spaghetti, can corn
from miscellaneous: salt, sugar, package of napkins, box of corn muffin mix, 6 breakfast bars, 2 min-packs cookies, 1 giant box Corn Flakes, 6 sodas, 4 packets of chips, 1 sliced loaf and 1 artisanal loaf bread, 1 large can tuna, bag sweet potatoes
The shopping cart was FULL!

Every order has the same Basic Bag and most have the government items, but after that, filling a shopping cart is an art form and depends on whether the shelves are full or empty. The volunteer who trained me gave me some helpful hints to tailor the order to the recipient. Is the diet low-salt? No chips, low-salt canned veggies. Diabetes? Don’t include the sodas or cookies and bag the oatmeal instead of sugared cereal. Are there children? Be sure to have a loaf of "boring" sliced bread, grab hotdogs instead of kielbasa, and hunt up a box of sugared cereal. Big families get gigantic cans. Hispanic families tend to prefer bagged beans to canned beans and they appreciate tortillas.
I kept wishing I could call out to waiting room with questions. Would you rather have the apple pie or the chocolate cream roll? Have you been hungry for hush puppies? Do you like hearty beef soup or do you yearn for a bowl of chicken noodle? The right food can be such a comfort in times of stress.
After speeding through my choices, I click the computer screen: "order completed." Within minutes the person arrives at the back door to load a car with food.
Your Basic Bag makes a difference. It is the nutritional core and, when the shelves are empty, the bulk of what gets distributed.

Keep shopping!

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Painting Done!

Next steps:
chalkboard wall,
and furniture painting!
Sept. 16: Journey goes with Toni to Dix Hill for a photojournalism field trip.
Friends help Jane with 100,000 for Peace Ministry Moment during worship
Next workday - Sept. 23 - Taize' + chair painting
Help wanted: An adult who likes to paint chairs to join us Sept. 23.