Archive for Serve & Social Justice

Compassion Week: Save the Date, Lead a Project

Last year, Compassion Week surpassed our goal of 2,000 volunteers, and we hope to do the same this year, October 2–8. Save the dates and plan to go beyond our Sanctuary walls and into the world to serve. With more than 100 projects available, everyone has an opportunity to serve, regardless of age or varied abilities. Consider blocking out an afternoon, a day, or the whole week to serve in our community.

Project leaders are an important part of our service! If you are interested in leading a project or learning more about Compassion Week, contact Nadine Tadeo.

Donate Books for Men’s and Women’s Jails

The United Methodist Women are now collecting books for both men and women at Elmwood Correctional Facility in Milpitas. Would you donate books to those with a little extra time to read? Please bring your book donation to the church office, where there is a collection box. Biographies, inspirational books, good fiction, and historical novels are preferred. Donations will be picked up and delivered by CIC Ministries, which responds to the spiritual needs of incarcerated youth and adults in Santa Clara County.

Habitat Volunteer Report

Last month, members of our OpenCircle young adult group and other Los Altos UMC members worked together to improve the Habitat for Humanity veterans shelter in San Jose. A full day of work involved adding seismic strapping, furring shear walls, digging dry wells, and weed abatement. The 1920s-era buildings have been renovated in partnership with the city of San Jose to serve veterans who are disabled, homeless or facing addiction issues. A special dog bathing station is included for vets with pets. Each room has its own heating and cooling system. Habitat can still use your help. If you would like to help with this ongoing project through our All Faiths team, visit the Habitat for Humanity East Bay/Silicon Valley website and volunteer sign-up page for further details.

UMCOR Sunday, April 30

On Sunday, April 30, you are invited to participate at any service in UMCOR Sunday (formerly One Great Hour of Sharing), an opportunity to touch the lives of those in need across the globe. Your special offering will assist in laying the foundation for United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) to continue its ministry of relief and hope.

This church-wide offering, along with other undesignated gifts made throughout the year, covers UMCOR’s costs of doing business, making it possible for UMCOR to use 100 percent of all designated contributions on the many relief efforts it fulfills around the globe, instead of on administrative or fundraising costs. Read more about UMCOR’s efforts online. Please give generously on April 30.

Walk to End Hunger, April 23

Join a team from LAUMC on Sunday, April 23, at 1:00pm for the annual CROP Hunger Walk in San Jose. Registration is at Hoover Middle School, located at 1635 Park Ave. in San Jose, with 1- and 3.5-mile options. Invite your friends and family to walk with you, and join the interfaith community’s efforts to overcome hunger and poverty by supporting the efforts of Second Harvest Food Bank, Sacred Heart Community Service, and Church World Service. You can register for the LAUMC team online or contact team leader Dave Ahn with questions.

Annual Rummage Sale, May 19–20

The annual Rummage Sale is just around the corner, and the Los Altos United Methodist Women and Starfire Singers are ramping up to get ready! Creekside Center will be filled with bargains for adults and children, and the Youth Room will feature a large selection of antiques and vintage collectibles. This is your opportunity to clean out your closets and garages and donate useable items, then pick up new-to-you bargains. Profits from the sale will support local, national and international missions of the United Methodist Women and assist our Starfire Singers youth choir in covering the costs of their summer tour.

Would you like to help? Here’s how:

DONATE to the sale. Bring your treasures to Creekside on Tuesday, May 16, or Wednesday, May 17. If you have larger furniture items in good condition, a pick-up can be arranged within 5 miles of the church. Contact Patricia Parfett (650-906-6265) to schedule. If you can’t donate on those dates, contact Karen Van Buren about scheduling an early donation. Donations of handled grocery bags or other large shopping bags are also needed.

VOLUNTEER to work before or during the sale. It’s fun! People of all ages can help sort, price, and sell. You don’t need to preregister to help sort and price items; just show up on Monday through Thursday, May 15–18, and we will find a place for you. Lunch and snacks will be provided. We will schedule helpers for Friday and Saturday during the sale. Contact Kay Zitzner if you are willing to work one or more shifts as a cashier or some other needed position.

SHOP at the sale on Friday, May 19, 8:00am–5:00pm and Saturday, May 20, 9:00am–2:00pm. Categories will include men’s and women’s clothing, children’s clothing, kitchen, home, office, garden, sports, books, artwork, games, toys, and more!

Why People of Faith Care About the California Values Act

If you missed the immigration information table between services on March 12, you can still learn about the UMC position on immigration and the California Values Act Senate Bill 54, sign up for a discussion group on these topics, or find sample letters from Faith in Action in support of passage of this important legislation: links are provided below. SB54 protects the safety and wellbeing of all Californians by ensuring that state and local resources are not used to fuel mass deportation, separate families, or divide Californians on the basis of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, immigration status, or national or ethnic origins.

Fact Sheet: SB 54, California Values Act

UMC Immigration Links

Letter of support for SB 54

Everyone Has Certain Basic Rights, No Matter Who Is President – National Immigration Law Center

For additional information, contact Yvonne Murray or Jan McDaniel of Los Altos UMC’s Bold Service and Social Justice Committee.

Advent Generosity 2016 Report

For the seventh consecutive year, our congregation participated in Advent Generosity as a way to share God’s love with others and be a source of light in the world. Your 2016 Advent Generosity giving totaled $99,889 and supported three programs:

  • Hope’s Corner, Inc., is the only local (Mountain View) source of free meals on Saturday for the homeless and needy. In addition to providing hot breakfasts and bag lunches for more than 250 weekly guests, Hope’s Corner also offers shower facilities and helps guests connect with other available services.
  • Compassion Week 2017 provides LAUMC congregants and community members with an opportunity to put our faith in action by performing acts of service. Compassion Week 2016 involved 2,034 volunteers addressing poverty, homelessness, education, hunger, the environment, and more throughout the Bay Area.
  • UMCOR International Disaster Risk Reduction (Advance #3021952) is a program designed to mitigate death and economic loss by preparing ahead for common natural disasters and to facilitate community recovery following such disasters.

LAUMC’s extravagant generosity during the Advent season over the last seven years has resulted in a total of $534,016 being put to work to save, nurture, and enrich the lives of others.

This season, we were invited to participate in hands-on service projects in addition to making monetary gifts. More than 30 people helped to plan, prepare, and serve a Christmas dinner to homeless guests at Project WeHOPE in East Palo Alto. Others served at Hope’s Corner in December and beyond.

Thank you for practicing extravagant generosity through your contributions of time, service, and financial resources. In doing so, you let the light of Jesus shine through you by showering love on others.

Book Drive for African Library Project, Jan. 15–29

Los Altos UMC’s Bold Service and Social Justice Committee is sponsoring its second book drive in partnership with the African Library Project. The African Library Project changes lives by starting libraries in rural Africa that serve to improve literacy, education, and self-empowerment. Our book collection efforts will support a new primary school library in Swaziland, so please donate books appropriate for children in preschool through fourth grade. Drop off your donated new and gently used books in the red barrels in either the Sanctuary entry or Creekside lobby between January 15 and January 29. Here are the types of books needed:

  • Baby board books
  • Children’s picture books
  • Children’s fiction (e.g., chapter book series such as “Junie B. Jones” or “Magic Treehouse”) and nonfiction
  • Early readers
  • BIG books
  • Teacher resource books for school libraries
  • Children’s dictionaries/picture dictionaries
  • Children’s encyclopedias/picture encyclopedias less than 15 years old
  • Children’s thesauruses
  • Paperback textbooks in math, English, geography, health, and science at appropriate levels (kindergarten to fourth grade). Send no more than two copies of any textbook; these will be used for teacher resources.
  • Books with universal themes, such as friendships, animals, or love
  • Children’s books teaching life skills about health, hygiene, adolescence, and careers
  • Accurate, up-to-date atlases
  • Books about Africa or African-Americans
  • Educational children’s science and literary magazines in good condition
  • Brain teasers, flash cards, educational games, and puzzles

You can also participate by contributing to the cost of shipping the books. Please make checks payable to Los Altos UMC with “African Library Project” in the memo line.

For more information, contact Janice Maggiora (650-857-0454).

Outreach Connection, Jan. 8: Day Worker Center

Day Worker Center Mountain ViewOn Sunday, January 8, our featured Outreach Connection agency will be the Day Worker Center in Mountain View, which serves men and women working as day laborers in our community. Representatives will tell us about the center during each worship service, and we will have an opportunity to donate money in support of its operation. The Day Worker Center provides for its members critical economic and emotional support, a sense of community, a clean, safe, warm and dry place to gather, and education and training.

How can we help?

  • Donate money on our online giving site and selecting the Outreach Connection gift fund or by writing a check to LAUMC with “Day Worker Center” in the memo line and putting it in the offering plate.
  • Volunteer to lead a job training workshop (painting, pruning, house maintenance, etc.), help teach English, computer literacy skills, or resume writing, or tutor students at homework club.
  • Donate tools and equipment such as sewing machines, painting supplies, buckets, hard hats, measuring tapes, leaf blowers, drills, vacuums, etc.
  • Employ a day worker to help you move, weed your garden, paint your house, repair your fence, or prepare for a party.
  • Post a positive review of your experience on Yelp.

For more information, visit the Mountain View Day Worker Center website, visit the center at 113 Escuela Ave, Mountain View, or call 650-903-4102.