by Maureen McNair
Earlier this month, Feeding San Diego (FSD) made an offer I couldn’t refuse. They are now delivering food to us every week! This is a really big deal for two reasons: the pantry does not own a truck and sourcing tons of food every week is time-consuming work with no guarantee of success.
During the pandemic last year, FSD had waived their rule that they would not bring on any new pantries to supply with food, and offered to deliver food the first and third Fridays each month. The first and third Fridays food and delivery was arranged as an incredible surprise by another pantry manager whose family has hosted a food distribution for 30 years. She saw the need for food in our community and our church’s commitment to providing it. Those deliveries have been very gratefully received by pantry volunteers, client, and me.
by Maureen McNair
Even though the Food Pantry volunteers received a key for our new suite at the beginning of the month, we could not move in immediately. The owner of the strip mall where we are located sent in a plumber, carpet cleaner, and property manager to do some work. Even after he sent in a carpet cleaner and released too many cans of air freshener, the suite was still visibly dirty. We were also concerned the air freshener was not solving, but only masking, odors we originally detected. The suite had been a marshall arts studio for many years.
by Maureen McNair
Imagine my surprise earlier this month when Feeding San Diego asked me to train people wanting to start new food pantries. Only two years ago this month, I was a newbie, traipsing around Chula Vista with Rev. Andrea Travers, a facilitator for Beloved Conversations and the South Bay Wisdom Circle. We were gathering information about food insecurity from local social service agencies.
I have met lots of food pantry managers who have been running pantries for decades. I continue to learn a lot from their expertise. And, our volunteers just started to clean out a closet-sized junk room at our South Bay campus in December 2019 that would be the start of our food pantry. So, we have been operating less than two years.
But, at the request of Feeding San Diego, I have now started to train someone who wants to open a food pantry at her church in Santee. We’ve met on the phone. And, last Saturday, she came to our pantry for a tour of how we have set up our operations. Our volunteers were singing loudly while bagging green beans, so they made the work look fun and easy.
Feeding San Diego, the region’s largest food bank, is the local affiliate of Feeding America. They have done a lot for our pantry during the pandemic and months of severe food shortages. My contact at Feeding San Diego has been a Neighborhood Coordinator. She was promoted to management at the end of September and reached out to me the first week of October. I am really grateful for the opportunity to give back to an organization that has been so supportive to us.
She had another welcome surprise for us last week too. If all goes according to plan, I will share that news with you next week. Meanwhile, thank you all so much for your continued generosity. We would not be living our values the way we do without each of you.
by Maureen McNair
The food pantry volunteers finally have a key to our new suite! Here are a couple photos of the raw space. The suite we will move into is in the same strip mall where the South Bay worship space and social hall are located. It is adjacent to the social hall. Thanks to your continued generosity, the food pantry now has 810 square feet of dedicated space. We do not know when we will move yet because the exterior door needs to be replaced, internal repairs need to be done, and tenant improvements also need to be taken care of.
By Rhiannon Roselle, BoardTrustee
October is a month of many spooky things - pumpkin lattes, bats, ghosts, and goblins. It's also time for one thing that ISN'T scary . . . a return to the Annual Pledge Drive! First UU's yearly operations are made possible by member and friend financial commitments which make up 60% of our annual operating budget. It helps keep the programs, facilities, and music you love running. This year's Pledge Drive theme is Back to Basics: Building Our Community. With everyone longing for connection, the Annual Pledge Drive Team is planning something special. By the end of the month, every member will have received an invitation for a personal phone or zoom call or, if they're comfortable, an in-person visit. These personal calls and visits will be a chance to spend time with a fellow First UU congregant and are much more than simply making your financial pledge.
Yippie! Camp de Benneville Pines has reopened for eight weeks of Fall fun! Art Camp recently wrapped up with 28 happy campers, and volunteers have been up at camp working hard to make camp more firesafe by trimming tree limbs and picking up forest fuels off the ground. The number of participants at each camp will be held to half capacity. COVID safety practices have been implemented. Read the latest news release.
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