Each month our UU Fellowship dedicates one “Share the Plate” Sunday offering to a non-profit group selected by us. For the 12 available slots, ten are voted on by the congregation, one is Minister’s Choice, and one is for emergency collections. We have 16 nominees for our Share the Plate collections during the upcoming year, July 2023 through June 2024. Please read the attached descriptions and vote for up to 10 of these organizations by midnight on Sunday, May 14.
This year we are voting online using Google Forms. Click the following link to open a form where you can vote for your choices: https://forms.gle/hqdLaVBkCmejZKKR9
Association of Ramaytush Ohlone
The Association of Ramaytush Ohlone (ARO) represents the interests of the original peoples of the San Francisco Peninsula. Its purpose is to align with their ancestral responsibilities to care for the earth and for the people who reside in the ancestral homeland.
ARO’s objectives are 1.) the rematriation of their ancestral homeland, 2.) the cultural revitalization of their culture and language, 3.) research, consultation, and education to ensure accuracy in public culture and history, 4.) ecological restoration, and 5.) community service, including community gardens and arts and cultures projects.
Financial contributions are asked of those who live in the counties of San Francisco, San Mateo, and the portion of Santa Clara northwest from Cupertino, all formerly lands of the Ramaytush Ohlone, in acknowledgement that we are living in the ancestral homeland of the Ramaytush Ohlone peoples. (Carol Cross)
Climate Resilient Communities
Climate Resilient Communities (CRC) serves local, low income areas in Fair Oaks, East Menlo Park and East Palo Alto. These neighborhoods are ethnically and racially diverse, with many immigrants speaking various languages. Close to SF Bay, they are vulnerable to sea level rise from climate change, and mobile home park residents there have already suffered flooding during the past few years. To address the impact of climate change on residents’ lives while educating them about its causes, CRC involves residents in designing solutions. For example, during recent wildfire smoke, its “Breath of Air” campaign raised money from Palo Alto churches to buy air purifiers for families suffering from asthma. Currently, CRC is creating home &”rain gardens”, removing old cement and allowing rainwater to sink into the soil, reducing flood risk and creating space for food growing. Its ethnically diverse leadership includes Ex. Dir. Violet Saena, an immigrant from Samoa. https://crcommunities.org/ (Debbie Mytels)
Community Overcoming Relationship Abuse
CORA is San Mateo County’s only provider of comprehensive domestic violence prevention services. CORA provides safety, support and healing for individuals who experience abuse in an intimate relationship, and educates the community to break the cycle of domestic violence. Services include a 24-hour hotline, support groups, legal services, emergency and transitional housing, and more, in English and Spanish. corasupport.org (Cathy Von der Porten)
Faith In Action Bay Area
FIABA is a local faith-based organization of congregations and community leaders working to uphold the dignity and worth of all people. It develops shared leadership, promotes civic engagement, and seeks to confront power and transform systems. It is currently focused on the issue of most importance to our Latino neighbors—safe and secure housing. It strives to build power through developing relationships with and commitments from local government officials.
Both Martha Beetley and I have been working closely with FIABA through its English-speaking and bilingual meetings and efforts. Many people at UUFRC have supported its efforts, including hosting a Redwood City Council candidates forum and participation at Redwood City Council meetings. (JoAn Vaugh
GRIP Training Institute
Serving incarcerated people in California, the GRIP Training Institute seeks to create personal and systemic change by turning violence and suffering into opportunities for healing. GRIP stands for Guiding Rage Into Power. Rooted in Restorative Justice principles, GRIP is a comprehensive offender-accountability program that helps incarcerated people understand the origins of their violent behavior and gain the skills they need to become peacekeepers. Since its inception in 2012 at San Quentin, GRIP has expanded to 5 institutions. With a recidivism rate of just 0.2%, the GRIP Program is extraordinarily successful. On an advocacy level, the organization envisions a new way of “doing prison” that transcends the “us vs. them” polarity and works to transform a nation that currently incarcerates its citizens in unprecedented numbers into a nation that stands for a second chance, redemption, and personal evolution. To learn more, please visit: https://grip-traininginstitute.org/. (Tovis Page)
Hidden Villa is a 1600-acre open space, environmental education property and organic, regenerative agriculture and animal farm in Los Altos Hills. Pre-pandemic it served 20,000 students each year with outdoor education programs and another 900 or so summer campers. From its founding 99 years ago by Frank and Josephine Duveneck, Hidden Villa has lived its values through programs that serve diverse communities, including free transportation and scholarships. The camp sets aside 1/3 of its spots for underserved children.
UUFRC has had deep connections with Hidden Villa over the years, including George Taylor, member of UUFRC, who for decades built and restored trails on the property. Peter Hartzell has spent many years serving on the Board and Elisa Neipp is currently serving as Human Resources Director.
UUFRC’s donation will go to scholarships that make it possible for underserved kids and youth to participate in Hidden Villa programs. (Kaye Bonney)
Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity
The Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity (IM4HI) facilitates the Peninsula Interfaith Coalition for Immigration, which UUFRC belongs to. Rev Deb Lee has been a worship leader at UUFRC. For over twenty years, IM4HI has brought people of faith together to act on their core beliefs of welcoming refugees and showing compassion to strangers. IM4HI reaches out to us when there is a local refugee who needs help.
UUFRC members have attended immigration hearings and led vigils at ICE headquarters in San Francisco, advocated for the release of detained immigrants, and last year we helped Denis, an asylum seeker from Guatemala by providing short term yard work. We recently got word that Alexey, an asylum seeker from Russia who we helped by attending his immigration hearings and helping his family while he was in detention, has gained asylum!
Please help IM4HI continue to provide a compassionate religious perspective for immigrants. (Nancy Goodban)
International Convocation of UU Women
The nonprofit International Convocation of UU Women’s mission is to advance equity for women and girls worldwide through leadership development, programs that empower, and advocacy. We support projects that benefit women.
In 2022 we had two projects in Texas. We assisted women and children seeking asylum in the US with resources for navigating the asylum process and coping with psycho-social impacts of migration, detention and deportation. We worked with Dreams without Borders in San Antonio to provide information around immigrant and reproductive rights, mental and physical well-being with culturally and linguistically sensitive materials.
We continue to support schooling for Ukrainian refugee children and provide supplies for displaced Ukrainians through the Hungarian Unitarian Church.
IWC consults with the United Nations Council on the Status of Women, and is involved in UN matters of Peace and Human Rights and Climate Change with COP. (Beverly Morgan)
One Life Counseling Center
One Life Counseling Center in San Carlos, is a non-profit whose mission is to provide easy access to counseling, education, & opportunities to connect through service. One Life offers individual & group therapy, community & school based programs (including school counselors in San Carlos, Belmont, & Redwood City public schools), & food & diaper distribution. They believe therapy is a necessity for anyone struggling, and not a luxury only for the few so they offer therapy on a sliding scale.
I began volunteering at One Life in March 2021 helping with their food distribution program. What started as a drive-thru monthly program morphed into a walk-up self-service pantry benefitting about 150 families weekly. In January 2023, the food distribution program was put on hold when the main office & storage sheds were completely flooded. Everything was lost but they rebuilt because there’s such a need. Visit their website: https://www.onelifecounselingcenter.com (Jessica Stoutamire)
Puente De La Costa Sur
Puente is a 25-year-old nonprofit that provides essential services to farmworkers, low-income families, students and parents in the local school district, children 0-5, first generation college students and Seniors. As the region’s only Community Resource Center, Puente serves the communities of Pescadero, La Honda, Loma Mar, and San Gregorio. I have supported this small but impactful nonprofit since the fire storm of 2021.
Here are just a few highlights of the most recent work supporting South Coast communities:
- Provided financial help to those unable to work or ineligible for government assistance through the pandemic and more recently after 2023 winter storm damage.
- Partnered with San Mateo County and other organizations to bring COVID-19 vaccination clinics, testing clinics and distributed free COVID tests and PPE equipment.
- Launched Del Campo al Cambio Program (From Field to Change), a leadership development initiative for and by farmworkers. (Annie Tate)
Creating solutions to generations of harm & inequity.
Initiatives to reduce incarceration, heal harm & build communities.
Mission: Facilitating a circle of intergenerational healing & supporting reduction of risk of incarceration & recidivism.
ReEvolution, co-founded – Paul Bocanerga: network of people building resilience, creating positive change in individuals & communities impacted by incarceration. While embracing those who are system-impacted, we give focus to youth, incarcerated youth offenders, & formerly incarcerated juvenile lifers. We provide programs that span prevention to reentry as we leverage our collective experiences, relationships, & resources to bring awareness, healing, & change full-circle.
Providing a container for deep empathy alongside messages of healing, hope, & offering of practical skills, we address trauma, substance abuse, gang culture, violence, institutionalization, & shame through restorative practices. We strive to increase accountability, responsibility, & compassion to build new individual & community values so risk of incarceration & recidivism is reduced. https://www.reevolutiongroup.org/ (Becca Kieler)
St. Francis Center of Redwood City
I would like to nominate the St Francis Center of Redwood City as a Share The Plate candidate for these reasons: They are local, practical, and proven. I have a dear friend whose whole family was saved from homelessness through the intervention of the St. Francis Center, and UUFRC has done several clothing drives for them in the past.
The St. Francis Center provides immigration counseling, a food pantry, community gardens, showers and laundry, clothing, food, housing, and private school and after school programs – all for our neighbors. (John Anning)
Second Harvest of Silicon Valley
UUFRC has had a long standing relationship with Second Harvest Food Bank, and it is eminently worthy of our financial support, along with our volunteer efforts. Addressing the serious problem of food insecurity, the organization distributes nutritious groceries through a network of more than 300 partners at drive-through and walk up centers across Santa Clara and San Mateo. Our own Chris Stovall and John Anning expertly oversee the food distribution center at Nesbit School in Belmont. Once a month, we volunteers serve eight tons of food to between 125 and 155 grateful families. Let’s help Second Harvest continue to thrive. (Marianna Raymond)
Sequoia High School Dream Club
The Sequoia Dream Club’s mission is to help create limitless educational opportunities for undocumented students. The club works toward this goal through political activism and fundraising for scholarships. Dream Club Members have participated in services at UUFRC. We have welcomed them and many of us have been moved by these impressive teenagers and their stories. Our donations go to club’s scholarship fund and provide critical funding to undocumented youth who pursue higher education. (Bruce Knoth)
Sonrisas Dental Health
Sonrisas Dental Health (SDH) provides access to inclusive dental care and oral health education, with dignity, respect, and compassion. Our Access to Care program serves low-income children and adults. Last year 72% of all clinic visits were for low-income patients which includes individuals with Medi-Cal and undocumented adults.
In 22-23, Sonrisas will screen over 700 children in the RWC School District, including homeless children and those who’ve just arrived in the country. Tooth decay is the most common chronic disease in children. Poor oral health negatively affects attendance and academic performance with a disproportionate negative effect on children from disadvantaged and minority groups. Sonrisas is also providing Senior Dental Screenings in RWC. Middle and low-income Seniors struggle to afford the oral health care they need. As the CEO of SDH, I work hard to ensure the most vulnerable in our community have access to dental care, which is important for overall health. (Tracey Carrillo Fecher)
Upward Scholars is a local nonprofit serving adult immigrants working in minimum wage jobs like gardeners, nannies, house cleaners and dishwashers who enroll in local community colleges to continue their education, expand their career options and serve as role models for their children.
Upward Scholars provides financial assistance for textbooks, laptops, bus passes, parking permits and food vouchers. Upward Scholars students take ESL courses, vocational classes and some transfer to universities. Others start a small business or get a better paying job. Upward Scholars provides volunteer tutors, mentors and English Conversation Partners who assist students with homework, English-speaking skills, and effective study habits.
UUFRC has many connections with Upward Scholars. Erika Pretell and Beth Harrison are on the board of directors, and Nancy Goodban serves on the board of advisors. Many UUFRC members are tutors, attend the “Conversation Club,” or study with “¡Habla Más!” Spanish coaches.
Learn more at www.upwardscholars.org (Erika Pretell)