Funding for Social Justice
Shopping for Justice: We encourage everyone in our church community to purchase supermarket gift cards at church. These are used for full face value at the supermarket while the supermarket gives us 5% profit. This 5% goes entirely to relieve hunger and homelessness. So when you shop we invite you to “shop for justice” by using these gift cards and also by buying goods that we will deliver to the local food pantry.
Fair Trade Sales: We sell Equal Exchange items: coffee, tea, chocolates and other goods. This supports the Equal Exchange fair trade network around the world, and all profits we make go directly into funding our social justice programs.
Brown Envelope (BE) Collections: Our major fundraising vehicle is our brown envelope collection each Sunday morning during worship services. Each month a social justice organization or charity is chosen to support. During a Sunday service a presentation is made about the organization and its work. During the month, members and friends can contribute to the organization by placing a donation in a brown envelope during the collection.
In January 2023, BE donations were collected for World Central Kitchen, with a focus on feeding those who are suffering in Ukraine.
In December 2022, BE donations during regular services were collected for the UU Urban Ministry, a social justice organization based in Roxbury, at the First Church Roxbury Meetinghouse. During our Christmas Eve service this year, donations were collected to support the work of Father Bills & MainSpring House, offering shelter and resources to the homeless communities of Brockton and Quincy.
November BE funds were collected for Youth On Fire, a program of AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts, a drop-in center for homeless and street-involved youth, ages 14-24, located in Harvard Square, Cambridge, MA.
October BE funds supported UU The Vote, a nationwide effort by the UUA to register and educate voters on a broad range of important topics this election season. Focused on numerous critical social justice ballot measures and combating voter suppression laws that have made it more difficult for people to vote, organizers hosted events across the country to engage and mobilize voters in key states. Working with UU State Action Networks and other partners, the goal was to reach 4 million voters before Election Day in November.
Our BE collection in September (starting the Sunday after Labor Day) was directed to our Partner Church in Gyulakuta, Transylvania. For many years, our congregation has supported fellow UUs in Romania. The money we raised pays for a musician during their worship service and for a copy of the monthly Romanian Unitarian magazine for each family, as well as other urgent projects. They are enormously grateful for this support.
There was no regular BE collection for much of July and August, but some funds were donated, and the Minister’s Discretionary Fund was chosen as the recipient for this period. In addition, the SJC voted to seed the fund with $1000 from our discretionary account (primarily our Fair Trade sales income). This fund allows Reverend Jolie to support various needs within the UCS community as well as special cases that come to her attention. Combined, a total of $1,908 was raised for this important work.