The Ending Hunger & Homelessness Project
On January 31st, 2012, the Board of Trustees of the UU Church of Nashua adopted an all-church social justice project under the banner of "Ending Hunger & Homelessness." Based on a Project Overview from the Social Justice Committee and a recognition of the many people in our church already working on related issues, the Board of Trustees deemed this project to be one of the top three priorities for our church during the next 18 months.
Monthly Community SuppersOur church hosts community dinners the third Sunday of every month. Everyone is welcome, and many volunteers are needed. Check out the The UU Nashua "Ending Hunger" web site to learn more and to sign up to volunteer.
During this time, the project aims to be "All-Church", involving as many church members (including children) and friends as possible, and having four specific areas of focus: Education, Advocacy, Service, and Financial Support. In addition, the Board has defined the following metrics for the duration of the project:
- To accomplish four major efforts (events, publications, or the like) which will serve to educate our church members and friends, as well as the wider community.
- To track (and double) the number of volunteers associated with our church working in the associated organizations and the hours spent volunteering.
- To donate at least $10,000 to associated organizations.
|We recognize the many organizations who are already doing amazing and impactful work in the fight against hunger and homelessness. Our goal is not to work in isolation, but to join with those groups and look for many ways to support their work.|
Update for Church Year 2013-14
At our Annual Meeting in June, the Board of Trustees announced that this project would be extended for two additional years under the banner of "All Church Social Justice Focus." The measures of success are defined as (1) 6 major educational efforts, (2) all member involvement in a service project, and (3) at least $15,000 raised and donated to organizations focused on hunger and homelessness issues.
At this time numerous projects are going on:
- Ending Homelessness Fund--several members of our church have teamed up with Harbor Homes to set up a new and very targeted fund to eliminate chronic homelessness in Greater Nashua as quickly as possible. The Fund's goal is to raise at least $100,000 each year to provide housing until the most challenged in our communities are housed. Fund project members can be reached by speaking to a member of the Development Department at Harbor Homes at 603-882-3616 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please take a few minutes to view this video "Giving Back to Our Veterans" about Harbor Homes and their successful programs to provide housing and services to homeless veterans.
- Advocacy for the Residents of Bronstein Apartments--Bronstein is a housing project in downtown Nashua with 49 affordable units. The Mayor had expressed interest in demolishing Bronstein without talking with the residents or detailing a relocation plan for the 160+ residents. Although the mayor's intentions have quieted down for the present, we are still keeping an eye on this situation.
This link will take you to a page of all the related Nashua Telegraph articles.
- Soup Kitchen Support--on a monthly basis, many members of our church have participated in (1) the preparation of six large casseroles which we drop off at the Soup Kitchen for future use and (2) serving one dinner.
- Anne Marie House Volunteering--A number of members currently volunteer hours at this supportive facility for transitional housing. Of particular mention is Janie Andolsun, a church member who gave many hours of service. When Janie passed away this past November, donations were solicited for a Memorial Library that has since been dedicated in her name.
- Food, toiletry, and clothing collections--A basket in the Parish House hallway indicates the focus of the current collection, and welcomes donations. (Individuals in the Social Justice Committee communicate with area organization to identify needs.)
- Dedication of Sunday Collections--all the money collected on Sunday morning are donated to community groups, many of which are supporting related issues. For example, in the 2011-12 church year, we have donated collections to:
Organization Targeting: Bridges Victims of domestic abuse Anne Marie House Transportation for individuals in transitional housing SNH Services Fuel assistance for low income people Girls Inc. Dinners for 40+ girls every night Harbor Homes Healthcare for homeless individuals
- Public Communications--numerous "Letters to the Editor" and articles in local newsletters related to issues of hunger and homelessness have been published.
- Many Other Activities--please check out this list of accomplishments.
Activities being Discussed
- Establish project to help eligible people sign up for Food Stamps (SNAP program).
How to Get Involved
If you're interested in participating in this project, we invite you to stop by the Social Justice table during Coffee Hour on Sundays. You will find materials on the EHH project as well as someone you can discuss your particular interests with. If that's not possible, please call the church office at 882-1091-they'll help get you in touch with the right person.
For those who might have an interest in volunteering, a selected list of Local Resources is available.
|Nashua Soup Kitchen||www.nsks.org|
|Great Nashua Continuum of Care||www.nashua-coc.org|