Are you feeling alone? The NAMI (National Association for Mental Illness) has many helpful resources that might help. To learn about them, visit namisandiego.org/covid-19/.
The Reopening Team has been researching and responding to your questions as our region continues to experience fluctuating and sometimes confusing COVID guidelines. As San Diego is currently in Tier 1 (Purple) on the state's infection scae, gatherings of any size are considered unsafe. However, we have been sharing ideas and we invite you to read the questions and answers so far. Steve H. sent in this one "I agree that we cannot get back to “normal” for many, many months, maybe years. But that does not mean that we must have no in-person activities. Please tell me if you think this suggestion is not advisable, and why."
By Maureen McNair
Less than two miles from our South Bay Food Pantry in Chula Vista, UC San Diego Medical School is conducting a Covid-19 prevention study to evaluate a vaccine. Pantry volunteer Jude Outwater, a senior at Lesley University in Boston and son of Board Vice President Julie Forrest, organized a visit by a representative from the Medical School to recruit study volunteers. Medical School Community Outreach Specialist Aaron Gutierrez spoke to Pantry clients and volunteers to ﬁnd adults, aged 18 and older, who are more likely to be exposed to Covid-19 and who might be interested in participating in the study, which does provide compensation.
By Maureen McNair
Last Saturday, the pantry held its largest food distribution to date. We gave away over 8,000 pounds of nutritious food. We distributed a variety of kinds of fresh produce, milk, yogurt, cheese, meat, poultry, shelf stable food such as cereal and pasta, and about 500 pounds of food donated by Starbucks. We also had the largest number of people come to the pantry for food. The prior week, we distributed food for over 150 heads of household, providing food for about 600 people. Last Saturday, we provided food for over 190 heads of household, providing food for about 800 people. Our pantry guests repeatedly express how thankful they are that we have this food distribution. One woman told me about her family emergency and how important we are to her. I want to pass on the gratitude I hear about to you. I am not completely sure why we saw such a huge increase in one week. But, I have a couple educated guesses.
By Maureen McNair
For the ﬁrst time since the food pantry opened, Lead Minister Rev. Kathleen Owens had her Saturday morning schedule freed up enough that she visited a food distribution. Kathleen did more than visit, though, she worked helping unload a delivery of food donated by Starbucks. There is nothing quite like repeatedly carrying 30 pound boxes of food across the parking lot to put into the cars of our pantry guests to drive home how labor intensive and physically exhausting pantry work can be. Kathleen is deﬁnitely up to the task! Rev. Kathleen also got to talk with regular volunteer, retired Rev. Arvid Straube, and some pantry volunteers that she knows because they are congregants. She also got to meet some, not all, of our volunteers from the wider community.
By Maureen McNair.
Inclement weather was bound to happen! Last Saturday, volunteers gave out food during three squalls which brought rain and wind during our distribution. It was a crazy day all around! As of Friday evening, we thought we would be receiving a delivery of 192 boxes of food on Saturday morning. But, at 6:30 am Saturday, the delivery company sent an email cancelling the order because the food was bad. It all worked out, I think. We had plenty of food on hand to substitute and who needed soggy cardboard boxes anyway? You Can Still Make Financial Donations Directly to the Food Pantry! Both one-time and monthly sustaining donations help us stay open! No amount is too small, or too large. Donate online. If you need food, there are lots of options, get all the details on our Food Pantry page.
By Maureen McNair
Deer Park Monastery, located on 400 acres in the chaparral mountains near Escondido, is a monastery established in 2000 under the guidance of Vietnamese Buddhist monk, peace activist, and author Thich Nhat Hanh. It is a mindfulness practice center and monastic training center with two hamlets, one for monks and laymen and another for nuns and laywomen.
The volunteers had fun dressing up for our food distribution. And, as ever, our pantry clients are deeply grateful for the amount and quality of food we give them. I’ll be back next week with more pantry news. Meanwhile, take care and thank you for your continued interest in the pantry and generosity.
By Pat Gordon, First UU of San Diego Board Member
Our UU camp, Camp de Benneville Pines, located in the San Gorgonio wilderness, has been repeatedly hit hard this year and is in trouble. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all on-site events are canceled through April 1, 2021.The aftermath of the El Dorado Fire damage and the seriousness of the pandemic could require even further delays before we can consider re-opening. If we're to have a camp to bequeath to our children's children, then preserving what we have now is imperative. We almost lost our camp in the El Dorado Fire, this fire, and had it not been for the work of our staff and volunteers performing fire clearance duties throughout the summer, we would have. And yet, we'll still need more help during the spring and fall to rake pine needles and trim ladder fuels in camp- live or dead vegetation that allows a fire to climb up from the forest floor into the tree canopy. Please continue to send healing thoughts and good words of appreciation to our devoted staff, as they navigate through all the added responsibilities that come with the fire aftermath. We must now address the newest threat to camp's existence - flooding.
By Maureen McNair
Here is a good reason to answer a telephone call from an unknown phone number, even in the weeks leading up the election: it could be actual good news! Shirley Koch works for Rady’s Children’s Hospital in a program called Health Stars. Health Stars provides early literacy intervention for low income and homeless parents with children up to age 8. It was Shirley on the phone calling to introduce herself and ask if she and her team could distribute books and literacy information at some of our Saturday food and Sunday diaper distributions. I immediately agreed. Not only that, after Shirley explained her literacy mission in more detail, I let her know she had hit pay dirt to help her meet the goals of Health Stars.
by Maureen McNair
Food pantry volunteers Loren and Dana Tomlinson are moving to Arizona at the end of November. They own a huge Ford pick up truck and have been reliably and enormously generous with their time and energy picking up food for the pantry. In fact, they are the only congregant volunteers the pantry has who have ever picked up food in a truck for the pantry. The pantry needs transportation in place no later than November 27. If you, or someone you know, owns a pick up truck or delivery van, now is a great time to volunteer!
By Janet James, Camp de Benneville Pines Executive Director
Hello from a smoky mountain top as I sit in my office pounding out this newsletter to you. We all could use some good news, so in this newsletter, we're focusing on the fantabulous summer we had full of creative Zoom camps! Our volunteer summer camp deans realized that the pandemic would impact our traditional camping season, and they jumped into gear to create a virtual camp experience for so many campers.
The team is studying how and when we might safely come together again in person. The following is an example of the thinking we believe is worth sharing. Here is the beginning of a recent article by Aaron E. Carroll, a physician in Indiana: "Stop Expecting Life to Go Back to Normal Next Year: Americans will need to take pandemic precautions well into 2021 — yes, even after a vaccine arrives by "Dr. Anthony Fauci warned us last week that Covid-19 is likely to be hanging over our lives well into 2021. He’s right, of course. We need to accept this reality and take steps to meet it rather than deny his message. Many Americans are resistant to this possibility. They’re hoping to restart postponed sports seasons, attend schools more easily, enjoy rescheduled vacations and participate in delayed parties and gatherings. It is completely understandable that many are tiring of restrictions due to Covid-19. Unfortunately, their resolve is weakening right when we need it to harden. This could cost us dearly".
By Maureen McNair.
Early food preparation last Friday for our Saturday food distribution went smoothly. Jared Blackwell, Kate Collier, Steve Gelb, Steve Howard, Andrea Travers, and I carried 3,350 pounds of food into the pantry and securely stored it. We even arranged the cantaloupes, potatoes, and apples in such a way that Saturday morning, we could create an easy assembly line to put the produce into bags. We worked hard, said our goodbyes, and went home. Then, my phone rang. It was a friend who operates a food pantry in San Ysidro. She was delivered 48 extra USDA boxes of perishable food, including eggs, cheese, meat, and a full gallon of milk. In total, it was nearly 1,600 pounds of food she could not distribute or store. “Can you take it?” She asked.
By Rev. Tanía Márquez, Assistant Minister
When I was 14 years old, while visiting my family's town in Southern Mexico, a group of friends invited me to climb to the church's bell tower from where we could see the procession of people coming into the town to celebrate its annual festival. To get to the bell tower, we had to go through a dark and narrow spiral staircase. While looking forward to the view from the town's highest building, the time we spent in the staircase seemed endless. I was afraid, mostly because it was hard to see beyond the step I was about to take, and it was the voices of the people I couldn't see, but who were there with me, that encouraged me to keep going.
By Maureen McNair
In June of 2019, four or five congregants attending the annual meeting in the Meeting House wrote down that their vision for the future of First UU included a food pantry or a soup kitchen. At the time, the primary concerns on the minds of most people at that meeting were things such as how we would respond to the offer from UCSD Medical Center to purchase our Hillcrest campus; whether we would expand our music, dance, and art programs; and, requests that we find more ways to enjoy meals together. I didn't believe those few requests to start a food pantry would make it into the top five goals of the new strategic plan the congregation was providing input for. But, those requests reflected such an acute and immediate need that, as a newly elected member of the Board of Trustees, I thought we should do something about them.
By Kathleen Swift, Family and Lifespan Ministry Director
Like most of us, your fears and anxieties over the coronavirus COVID-19 are probably elevated right now. Although the risk for children and young adults appears to be less than for older adults, news of this pandemic is changing daily and is alarming. Many parents are wondering how to talk about it with their children in away that is reassuring, but factual. According to experts at the Child Mind Institute, it's better to talk about it than avoid the subject. Your children have probably already seen people wearing masks and have heard stories from their friends. Not talking about it can make kids worry more.
The South Bay food pantry will be open every Saturday in May from 11 am - 12:30 pm.
Our virtual annual meeting will be held on Sunday, June 28th at 1 pm. Please plan on attending to hear about and vote on important issues and learn about how things are going in our church. More detailed information about meeting URL and virtual voting process will be coming soon. See you there!
Hillcrest: bring your food donations to the Hillcrest parking lot every Saturday from 8am-9am. Deliver bags and boxes to the bed of Dana Tomlinson’s dark grey Ford pick-up truck with camper shell.
South Bay: deliver donations directly to the food pantry from 9:30am - 10 am. Get directions to either location.
Peanut butter is our most frequently requested food! We cannot buy it in bulk, so your individual donations of 1 or 2 jars makes a difference! Our other frequently requested items are:
Here are the top 8 jobs where the pantry could use more support.
Both one-time and monthly sustaining donations help us stay open! No amount is too small, or too large.
To donate by check:
Make your check payable to FUUSD, write "SB Food Pantry" in the memo line and mail to to FUUSD, 4190 Front St., San Diego, CA 92101, Attn: Robie Evans.
To donate by credit card:
Go to firstuusandiego.org/donations.html.
Follow the steps and under "Fund" select "SB Food Pantry."
Remember to select the frequency for your donation.
Photos by John and Peggy Holl. Click for a larger view.
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