Many paths. One welcoming and diverse community.

Community Outreach

helpinghandsThe Mission of the Community Outreach Committee is to promote Unitarian Universalist values by leading the UUCOV congregation in social service outreach to the local community. We do this by:

      • Educating the congregation about social service needs in the local community,
      • Communicating social service volunteer opportunities to the congregation,
      • Coordinating congregational social service projects,
      • Working in collaboration with Interfaith Outreach, Inc., and other community organizations to serve local social service needs,
      • Raising funds for local social service needs.

Our current activities focus on improving the lives of children and adults in South Sarasota County who are homeless, hungry, or economically deprived.

Community Outreach News

Family Promise: Thank You’s All Around

This year’s first hosting (December 24, 2017 – January 7, 2018) presented an opportunity for UUCOV to show our flexibility and what a caring FamilyPromisecongregation we are. Because of the holidays, we added 8 more shifts and additional van drivers to ensure our families had access to the Family Promise South Sarasota County Day Center when it was open. The Center, the primary place where these families’ lives are focused (there they have access to computers, play grounds, washing machines, showers etc) will be closed for three days in a row so the employees can have the holidays off.
        -Thank you to all the volunteers from our co-hosts Venice United Church of Christ and St. Mark’s Episcopal Church and to the ‘free agents’ (not affiliated with a church) who help us host.
        -YRE has plans to welcome the hosted families and their children to UUCOV’s home - joy, sharing, taking time to say hi! Thank you, YRE.
        -Jim Beckstrom has been working to bring us into the 21st century with a computer program that will seriously reduce the number of times people touch the same document to accomplish 1 task. Thank you, Jim.
        -Thank you to the Social Activities Team for inviting our Families to the UUCOV holiday party on Xmas Day. Whether they attended or not, they knew they were welcome.
       - Physical Plant team continues to amaze with their work. Thank you for all your help with Asta Linder House.
       -And to all the volunteers who are giving food and shelter and a shoulder to lean on to the 2 families in the current program (a single mother with 4 children, 3 boys and 1 girl, aged 8years to 6 months and another single mother with a 3 year old), it is an honor and a privilege to work with you and for you. You make a difference!!

And Family Promise Starts the Year with a Request

Family Promise needs at least one more member on the steering committee, an adminstrative position not requiring directly working with the families. The ideal member has not only respect and love for the program, but organizational skill as well, and is open to sharing responsibility. Our goal for the administration of Family Promise at UUCOV is to have several coordinators who can transfer responsibility from one to another. The computer program Jim Beckstrom is developing makes this possible and easy. We are very flexible and accommodating! If you’re interested or just want to check it out, contact Cindy O’Dell 317-370-6705.

Even Florida Has Cold Nights

As the colder months are almost upon us, the UUCOV Social Justice Community Outreach Committee would like to spotlight the Cold Weather Shelter as a volunteer opportunity where we all can make a great contribution. The Shelter is an on-call service where volunteers are called upon to help the local homeless population in any of several ways.
Grace United Methodist Church on the island of Venice supplies the space and kitchen for the Shelter. Volunteers are needed to help with either serving dinner or breakfast, and others are needed to socialize for a few hours in the evening with the people using the shelter. Other volunteers are needed to stay overnight. The overnight stay is done in two shifts: either 11pm-3am or 3am-7am.
If you are looking for a worthwhile opportunity to help in our community, please consider volunteering at the Cold Weather Shelter. You can contact Eileen Leapley   or Phil Veach and Steve Batchelor .

UUs Behind Bars

Many in prison feel particularly lonely and vulnerable during the upcoming holiday season. Sunday, December 3 is your last chance to make a small, helpful gesture to one of the over 800 presently incarcerated UUs who are members of the Church of the Larger Fellowship*. Bring a greeting card to the Common Good table: with an undecorated, unsealed, stamped white envelope, signed with your first name only, with a short, upbeat sentiment written inside (e.g. we have not forgotten you or thinking of you this holiday season or …)
*Church of the Larger Fellowship (CLF) is a UU congregation without walls, connecting people all over the world for spiritual growth, worship, learning, and mutual support.

We Did It!

FamilyPromiseThank you for your outstanding support of the Family Promise Program. Your generosity in supporting the “Dream Walk” for Family Promise of South Sarasota County (FPSSC) is bountiful. We, UUCOV and VUCC, raised over $11,000 (of the total over $55,000) on the November 11th Dream Walk. WOW!!!
VUCC, St. Mark’s Episcopal, and UUCOV host our next families from December 24 to January 7 , which you know includes holidays. We will have the FPSSC van to drive them to the Day Center where families can relax and do laundry and use the playground and the computer, so we will need drivers; additionally, we need extra volunteers for day shifts because the Day Center will be closed for 6 of the 14 days.
Currently, there is 1 family in this host period, a single mother with 4 children, 3 boys and a girl, all under the age of 8. She has no car and a mountain to climb to escape her homelessness. And here is where we help, and you can help, by giving her hope and a hand up.
A typical family will be in the program for 60 or so days before FPSSC has found them an affordable home, helped them save their money, taught them some necessary life skills and put hope back into their lives. It can be exhausting work, but there will be joy in your heart knowing you made a real difference in the life of a person who needed a hand up.
Want to help and make a difference? Please call Cindy O’Dell 317-370- 6705.

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