Social Action

UUC is committed to supporting our shared UU principles through action and service within our congregation, the local community and the broader world. To that end, we support several social action projects throughout the year.  Contact the Community Service Team for more information about any of these projects.

 

RE Food CollectionInterfaith Food Pantry: The Interfaith Food Pantry was formed as a cooperative effort of town churches, and now has more than a dozen donor churches, including the UUC. It serves 800 clients a month currently with approximately $100 to $200 worth of food depending on family size and food availability. The Pantry is staffed by volunteers from participating churches with 2-to-3 volunteers serving each day. Food and monetary donations come from local churches, civic clubs, schools and businesses, VT fraternities/sororities food drives), and the generous bakery and produce donations of the University Kroger and North Main Food Lion. In season, fresh vegetables are donated by local residents, and the Virginia Hunters Association contributes butchered venison. The children’s offering in our RE classes is currently donated to the Interfaith Food Pantry.

 

To Our House: The UUC partners with other local churches in a program to provide temporary overnight shelter during the harshest winter months for homeless men in the New River Valley. Our role is that of a Support Congregation to the Host Congregations who actually house the men in their churches. We provide food, activities, and companionship for one to two weeks out of the total time frame which runs from Nov. 1st to March 31st each year. UUC has participated in this remarkably successful program for the past three years and will do so again this year. In addition to meals and a warm place to sleep, additional services, such as transitioning to more permanent housing and job counseling, are provided. This year's host church is Our Saviour Lutheran Church in Christiansburg. Learn more.

 

Caring Network: For the past many years, the Caring Network has focused on its Members/Friends Support Program. This has involved the coordination of services, meals, transportation, and child care to those in need. It also includes the Job Squad which provides labor to individuals within the UUC and wider community who need help doing home-related projects due to their illness or advanced age. We currently have 15 volunteers who do this kind of work, and projects have included cleaning out a mobile home to provide low-income housing for an individual with mental illness, installing an air conditioner, assisting with moving, etc. Adopt a Highway

 

Adopt-a-Highway: From November, 2010 through March, 2015, UUC was part of the Adopt-a-Highway program. We were responsible for litter pick-up on two miles of Rt. 460 in Blacksburg. The program ended due to the construction taking place for the new interchange on Rt. 460. Beginning in 2016, we again are participating in the program and have a new spot to maintain along Rt. 460 near Lowes in Christiansburg.

 

Green Sanctuary: The UUC Social Action Committee’s survey of the congregation in January, 2007, showed that the environment was the primary concern of members and friends. In response, the Green Team was formed to study and act on that concern. In November 2009, the Unitarian Universalist Association Office of Congregation Stewardship Services formally approved the UUC application for candidacy into the UUA Green Sanctuary Program. On November 12, 2012, our congregation was approved as a Certified Green Sanctuary congregation.  Learn more about the Green Sanctuary Program.

 

1/2 Plate Donations: At the service each Sunday, 1/2 the plate is donated to a designated  local charity or UU-affiliated organization.

Learn more about the 1/2 plate recipients for 2017.

Learn more about past recipients.

 

Community Assistance Fund: A special collection is held during our Christmas Eve Service for this fund which is used by our minister throughout the year to help those in our congregation and wider community needing assistance with rent, utilities, food, etc. Donations can also be made at any time during the year to the fund. Recipients of these funds are kept confidential.

Collections of Items: Several collections of needed items will be taken throughout the year. Some of this and past year's collections are listed below.

School Supplies Collection for Local Communities: In August 2013, the Community Services Team and Religious Education Committee collected school supplies for children in kindergarten -grade 2 at McHarg Elementary School in Radford. In 2011, the donated supplies were delivered to Eastern Elementary/Middle School in Giles County. In 2012, the donations were distributed to students in Eastern Montgomery Elementary School in Elliston.

Montgomery County Christmas Store: On all Sundays in November, the Community Service Team will be collecting new children’s underwear and winter coats as well as clean, gently used children’s winter coats for the customers of the Christmas Store. If you wish to support this project, please bring your contributions to UUC on one of the collection dates.

Humane Society of Montgomery County (HSMC): During the months of March and April, items are collected for our animal friends. These items are then used for our annual Easter Egg Hunt before being taken to HSMC. Donation boxes are both upstairs and downstairs.

Fairview Home: During the months of May and June, 2014 the Community Services Team collected items for the residents of Fairview Home, an Assisted Living Facility for adults with behavioral health disorders such as mental illnesses and/or intellectual disabilities. Items such as tissues, shampoo & conditioner, body wash, toothbrushes & toothpaste were requested. Each month, members of the congregation sponsor and run a Bingo game for the residents of the home.

 

Social Justice

UUC is committed to social justice, and the congregation has opted to focus on two primary areas at this time: Mental Health and Environment/Climate Change.

 

Climate Change & Environmental Justice

Prior to the June 4, 2017 UUC Annual Meeting, Interim Minister Reverend Don Rollins shared a 2-page document about the Gardiner Model, which outlines the the procedure used this year in choosing proposed Social Justice Focus options. Here is the link.

At the Annual Meeting, the Congregation voted to initiate a second major congregational effort, in addition to (rather than supplanting) our current Mental Health Justice Ministry initiative. A planning group for this year's choice — “Climate Change & Environmental Justice — has been meeting and has created an electronic resource library of links to articles on climate change and environmental justice. Here is that library as of October 27, 2017. Please explore these files and send comments and/or suggestions for additional materials or Web links to Rick Ashley.

The Mental Health Justice Ministry (MHJM)

The Mental Health Justice Ministry is a committee of dedicated UUC congregants, is a sub-committee of the UUC Social Justice Task Force. Here is a link to the MHJM mission statement. Our meetings are held at the UUC on the first Tuesday of every month from 4:30 pm to 6:00 pm. All are invited. For further information, contact Margo Walter.

The Mental Health Justice Ministry includes two support groups: one for persons with a mental illness, and one for friends and families of persons With a mental illness. The groups meet jointly at UUC on the 3rd Monday of every month, 6:00–7:30 pm.

I fit in one pf those categories, but why should I join a support group? We believe that meeting and making new connections with a caring, supportive group of peers allows one to develop improved strategies for living successfully.

MHJM is actively involved with the Virginia Chapter of NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Meetings are held on the third Tuesday of each month from 4:30-6:00 pm in our library. All are welcome.

Ethical Eating: Food and Environmental Justice

Delegates at the UU General Assembly in Charlotte, NC, approved Ethical Eating: Food and Environmental Justiceas a 2011 Statement of Conscience.  UUC has initiated a Task Force to encourage congregants to implement ethical eating habits into their lives.  Read more

Green Sanctuary Application

The Green Sanctuary Program, an environmental program of the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations, is the action arm of our Seventh Principle: “Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.” Read more

 

 

Led by Rev. Dara Olandt, UUC was instrumental in organizing the:

Witness for Love & Marriage Equality: Interfaith and Community Action

On May 12, 2014 over 50 people joined with Rev. Dara Olandt at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Christiansburg to show support of the day when all loving couples can legally marry the person of their dreams in our state! There was singing, interfaith prayer, personal testimonials,  and a sharing of "love cookies." A small contingent delivered a Love Letter to the county clerk indicating our support of Marriage Equality. More information is available from the People of Faith flyer and the Witness for Love flyer. More photos can be found on our UUC Facebook page. The event attracted much media attention.

 

 

Mass Moral Monday in Winston-Salem, NC

Several of our members joined UUA President, Rev. Peter Morales, and other UUs from across our Southern Region in Winston-Salem, NC on July 12-13, 2015 to stand for racial justice and the preservation of African American voting rights. There were teach-ins, workshops and gatherings culminating in a March for Voting Rights through downtown Winston-Salem on July 13. To learn more, go to http://www.uuasouthernregion.org/ncvotingmarch.html. Read the letter from Rev. Morales.

 

 

 

Peaceful Public Action: Interfaith & Community Witness for Religious Freedom & Religious Pluralism

On Wednesday, December 23, 2015 many UUs and members of our community gathered in downtown Blacksburg holding signs for interfaith welcome and affirming dignity and respect for people of all faith traditions, particularly those practicing Islam.