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Social Justice

The Social Justice Committee meets regularly on the third Sunday of the month after service via Zoom. The meeting is open to all who are interested.

The path of Social Justice at UUFHC is determined each year based on the need and interest of our membership. Funds for the committee's work are supplied via special monthly collections during our Sunday morning services, September through June. The Social Justice Committee strives to educate our community about social justice issues using many sources, including those provided by the UU College and Social Justice, monthly documentary nights, and hands-on volunteer opportunities.

Community Outreach

The Community Outreach Committee (COC) was recently established as an extension of the work accomplished by the COVID-19 Relief Project that was completed earlier in 2020. The mission of this committee is:

To reach out to and establish relationships with the
surrounding community for the purpose of addressing
local area needs.

The idea behind this mission is to help and support UUFHC-initiated projects that focus on helping folks within our local community, many of whom are experiencing particularly hard times during the COVID-19 pandemic. Several examples of this work include:

Bookbag and School Supply Drive

School Supplies

We are doing it again!! Our annual Bookbag and School Supply drive. Do you remember how much fun it was to go shopping for school supplies in anticipation of a new school year when you were a child? Or maybe you remember the excitement of back-to-school shopping with your own kids or grandkids? It is still exciting for children but some parents can’t afford school supplies for their kids. This year, our Community Outreach Committee has partnered with Church Creek Elementary School and SARC to donate book bags and school supplies to children in need.

We will be holding a Bookbag Drive from July 3 to August 2. Please place your donations in the plastic bin labeled BOOKBAG DONATION BOX in the church lobby.

Bookbag The most needed supplies are bookbags for ELEMENTARY school kids. There is also a need for wide-ruled composition books, kids scissors, glue sticks, yellow highlighters, 24 packs of crayons, markers, colored pencils, spiral notebooks and composition books. Thank you for whatever you are able to donate. The kids will be so excited to receive a new bookbag! Walmart usually has good prices on book bags and school supplies and The Dollar Store always has good prices on supplies. And of course you can always go on Amazon.

Extra donation drop off locations from July 27 to August 2:

If you have any specific questions, please email Laurie Feldman.

Sharing Table

Sharing Table

CBS News highlighted the Sharing Table and our members are seen preparing the food.

Our next Sharing Table date is Saturday, March 9th. The last time we served we made a goulash recipe which seemed to be popular with the cooks because it was fast and easy. We have been asked to prepare 370 meals so we will need quite a few volunteers to cook 3 or more pounds of meat to make the goulash. It can be ground beef, ground turkey, or vegetarian meat or a combination. If you would like to be reimbursed for your purchase, please give your receipt to Maureen North.

We have created a Sign Up Genius that you can go to to volunteer for cooking. Please click where it says "Sign Up" and just add your name, and in the comment section, tell me how many pounds you plan to make. If you have any questions or need the recipe if you don't have one yourself, just contact Maureen North.

As always, thank you for your generosity in supporting our community!

Contact: Maureen North (outreach@uufhc.net).

Welcome One / Harford Family House

Donated Items Harford Family House

Thank you to all who donated items to the Welcome One / Harford Family House Homelessness Drive. As you can see, your generosity was very evident in the amount of items we received. The staff knows our church volunteers every month and they are very appreciative of our support.

For Christmas we adopted a family from SARC consisting of a mom, a newborn baby expected in late in December, and a six and eight year old boy. The gifts need to be delivered to the SARC facility next week which was a very short turnaround time to get the word out to the Fellowship, purchase, and then collect the gifts, so we used the donations from the November collection to buy gifts for the family. If you would like to drop off a gift for the family this Sunday, the 6 year old likes science experiments and the 8 year old likes sports. Otherwise, please consider making a donation to the Community Outreach Committee in January to help cover some of the expenses. As always, thank you for your support in helping those in need.

Household & Hygiene Pantry Items Needed

Hygiene items for Pantry

The Community Outreach Committee is sponsoring a Health & Hygiene pantry, which is now located outside the religious education wing.

The Community Outreach Committee decided to focus on providing health and hygiene items since these are not covered by food stamps, but are high on the wish list of those in need who do use area food pantries. These can include toiletries such as toilet paper, deodorant, toothpaste, soap, shampoo; or cleaning supplies, such as paper towels, dish detergent, and general cleaners. The full list of items needed can be downloaded here.

Please note: The Community Outreach Committee's goal for the free pantry outside is to have it up and running by the end of June, so we are looking for donations of items that are not covered by food stamps. We are providing a list of the items we are collecting in the Order of Service this month, and you can also find a list here. For the month of June, let's try to focus on providing toilet paper and paper towels, although any item on the list you wish to donate will be appreciated. We will be advertising our pantry later this month on county websites and at shelters, so we would like to be prepared for visitors once the information is out among the public.

Contact: Marge Calvert

Member Needs Non-Food Items

The Compassion Care Team is working with one of our members who is in need of items that the food pantries around the area do not stock. We are hoping that our generous congregation can provide these items over the next couple of weeks or so. The needs are:

If you think you can provide any of these items, please place them in the basket in the lobby to the left of the nametags. We appreciate your support of our community. Thank you.

Trisha (compassioncare@uufhc.net), on behalf of the Compassion Care Committee.

We Supported an Afghan Refugee Family

In February of 2022 our Fellowship chose to partner with two other faith communities to support an Afghan refugee family.

The Noori family of 13, arrived on Valentine's Day, and with them came all of the challenges you might expect from a family with 11 children, one of whom was born in route to America. No one in the family had ever been to school, had never visited a doctor or dentist, and had no knowledge of the English language. And thus, our journey began. Representatives from each of the church communities formed a core group who laid out all of the areas of service that needed to be provided, and worked to engage other volunteers to accomplish these goals.

We have all learned so much over the past year about the Afghan culture, about each other, and about ourselves. Our core group met every week (46 meetings in all) as well as numerous interactions by email and phone. There were more than 25 volunteers from UUFHC that helped make all of this happen.

Read more ....

988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline

In 2020, the U.S. had one death by suicide every 11 minutes. Suicide is a leading cause of death for people aged 10-34 years old. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is an agency in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. SAMHSA’s mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America’s communities.

Persons experiencing a mental health crisis have a new way to reach out for help.

Modeled after 911, the three-digit 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is designed to be a memorable and quick number that connects people who are suicidal or in any other mental health crisis to a trained mental health professional.

Their web page contains the history of the new hotline, links to suicide statistics, links to suicide prevention resources, and more. Here's the link:

988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline – SAMHSA

Silent Witness Commemorates Lives Lost

For over a decade, UUFHC has been known as the church on Rt. 22 that houses the Silent Witnesses, raising the awareness of our entire community about the tragedies of domestic violence. This year, however, because of COVID-19, we will not be holding a ceremony. Anyone is welcome to drive into the parking lot and sit for a moment of silence in reverence to the lives lost.

Silent Witness 2

UUFHC has prominently displayed the Silent Witness figures for 18 years. A grant for the project was funded by Harford Community College at that time. Since then, the figures have been displayed outside the church during the month of October which is Domestic Violence Awareness month.

Originating in 1990, the Silent Witness National Initiative began with a group of 8 women from the St. Paul/Minneapolis area who decided to address the issue of domestic violence murders in their community. They created 27 life-sized red wooden figures representing women who were murdered by a spouse or partner and called the figures Silent Witnesses.

According to the American Psychological Association, women who are victims of domestic violence are 8 times more likely to be killed by an intimate partner if there are firearms in the home. FBI data indicates that 30% of female homicide victims are killed by husbands or boyfriends. This translates into the deaths of four women per day at the hands of male partners. Women often times remain in an abusive relationship because it can be dangerous and difficult for them to leave. If they threatened to leave or are separated from their abuser, this is the most dangerous time and when they are most apt to be killed. Why is this? According to the Strengthen Our Sisters website, Murder is the ultimate expression of the batter's need to control the woman's behavior. Knowing this, women need organizations like SARC to help them design a plan to leave safely. SARC's free services include a 24/7 helpline, a shelter, counseling and legal services. For more information visit www.sarc-maryland.org or call the 24/7 phone number 410-836-8430.

The UUFHC members coordinating this year's commemoration stated, The Silent Witness Initiative helps us understand the profound damage violence brings to our lives, and hopefully raises the awareness in our community about the tragedies that have occurred right here in Harford County. Our statues are a silent remembrance of those victims and we especially welcome family and friends of those victims.

The mission of the Silent Witness project is to promote peace, healing and responsibility in adult relationships in order to eliminate domestic murders in the United States by 2020. You can learn more about the Silent Witness National Initiative by visiting its website at www.silentwitness.net.

If you are interested in finding a community that offers fellowship, personal growth, and opportunities to give something back to society, please consider visiting UUFHC. Social Justice Committee announcements are posted on the wall over the food table in the coffee room. You can also find us on Facebook.

For more information on the Social Justice Committee or our projects, please contact Susan Knause (socialjustice@uufhc.net).