Social Concerns Committee
The Social Concerns Committee of the Unitarian Church of Los Alamos consists of people from many walks of life who have specific ideas for helping people and organizations in our local and global communities. Fundraisers have been held for school building projects in the Philippines and India; collections of toys, clothes, are other goods have been sent to an orphanage in Mexico; money has been raised for scholarships to send children from our partner church in Romania to high school; and many other projects have raised money or assisted local schools and organizations.
Annually the Committee decides on the recipients of the “Share the Plate” program, where half the funds in the collection basket each Sunday are donated to the recipient of the month. Every year, on the first Sunday of December the committee hosts a soup and bread lunch and a special collection for Self Help. We sell UUSC holiday cards to raise money for the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee. In November items are collected for the Janos Orphanage in Chihuahua state, Mexico. Some time in the spring a special collection and fundraiser is done for our Partner church. At any other time of the year the committee might host a Dinner & Movie night, soup and bread lunches, afternoon concerts with high tea, or other types of events to raise money for disaster relief at home or abroad, and occasionally to assist in remodeling or upgrading our own church home.
“Tools for Schools
“, sponsored by Self Help, Inc., is the largest annual project every fall when 50+ UUs gather to sort and package school supplies for 16 elementary schools and 2 middle schools in the Los Alamos and Espanola School Districts. Other funds are used to purchase uniforms, underwear and socks for the poorest children in communities near us. Members of the committee also assist in teaching the youth of the church to put on their own fundraisers so they can go to youth conferences. The committee welcomes anyone who has an idea for a project to come and present their ideas, and will support them in their efforts. The committee generally meets once a year, in the late summer to plan. Other communication is done via email and phone. Projects are usually managed by one person who organizes help from other volunteers. Joyce Nickols is the temporary contact person for the committee: 662-2810.
UUA’s Social Justice page and calendar.
In 2003, the Church Council designated the first Sunday in December to be set aside as a fund raising day for Self Help, Inc., a Los Alamos based organization that offers assistance to residents of Rio Arriba, Taos, Los Alamos, and northern Santa Fe Counties.
For years, the Unitarian Church of Los Alamos has worked closely with Self Help, Inc. to raise money to help local persons and businesses develop tools for self-reliance. Members and Friends of the church tend to be a key part of the Empty Bowl Event. For a donation, participants can choose a hand painted bowl and enjoy a delicious soup and breach lunch with live entertainment. The event is located at the Betty Ehart Senior Center.
Listen to Ellen Morris Bond, Execute Director of Self Help, Inc., describe the organization during a Sunday Forum presentation.
Standing on the Side of Love
Standing on the Side of Love is sponsored by the Unitarian Universalist Association and seeks to harness the power of love to stop oppression. From immigration to same-sex marriage issues, the Unitarian Church of Los Alamos strives for fairness and justice.
Our own Rev. John Cullinan recently attended a rally in our state capital, Santa Fe, in support of equal rights for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered people in New Mexico. The rally was sponsored by EqualityNM.
Social Justice and Religious Exploration
Several times during a church year, the children’s Religious Exploration program holds “Social Justice Sundays“. The children in RE classes join together to learn about a Social Justice issue and get involved to help out where they can. Some of the Social Justice Sundays…
- Food Boxes for LA Cares
- Food, pet food and cleaning products are collected, organized and boxed for LA Cares, a local organization supplying items to those in need.
- Birthday Bags for the Esperanza Shelter
- Church members and friends purchased birthday party supplies. The RE classes helped put the supplies together into birthday bags for the local Esperanza Shelter to help children have happy birthdays.
- Hunger Banquet
- The children in RE classes attend a banquet where some of tables have a lot of food, but few places to sit, and most of the tables have a little food and lots of places to sit. This represents how most of the food is distributed throughout the world, with only a few having abundant food, while most having very little. This banquet helps the children think about what it’s like to be hungry and why there is hunger in the United States and the rest of the world.
- Empty Bowls for Self-Help
- Every year, the children’s RE classes paint ceramic bowls that later get glazed and fired. These bowls then are part of the Empty Bowls project, which raises funds for Self Help, Inc. (see above).
- Earth Day and the environment