by Rhea Kuhlman, South Bay Food Pantry Volunteer.
At the South Bay Food Pantry, we never know until the last minute what kinds of fresh produce we’ll receive from the San Diego Food Bank and Feeding San Diego, or how much meat or bread will be available for our families on Saturday. But one thing we can always be sure of is that the bags of shelf stable goods the mid-week baggers put together every week will contain good healthy food that can keep a family going, regardless of what else is available. The SBFB always keeps on hand stores of non-perishable items to supplement the fresh and frozen items we distribute each Saturday
By Nina Douglass, South Bay Food Pantry Volunteer
The parking lot of 907 Broadway is like that of any other Chula Vista strip mall on weekdays. On Saturdays, however, the lot is transformed by hundreds of South Bay Food Pantry volunteers and clients. Volunteers arrive by 8am to receive and stage hundreds of pounds of canned and other dry goods, fresh produce and Starbucks bakery items from the big Feeding San Diego truck. By then, many pantry guests are already waiting for the 9am distribution of numbers which serve to organize the line-up for the 11am - 12:30pm food distribution. The few trees at the site provide welcome shade for people waiting to collect their food.
by Nina Douglass, South Bay Food Pantry Volunteer
When asked what inspired her to found the South Bay Food Pantry, FUUSD member Maureen McNair has recalled noticing signs of insufficient access to nutritious food among the elementary school children she taught in that neighborhood. Maureen’s recognition that chronic food insecurity in the South Bay is pervasive led her to address the problem through the creation of the pantry.
What is SJET doing in January?
If you didn’t participate in a Listening Circle in December, now’s the time for you to sign up for one of our January 2022 Listening Circles. (January circles are exactly the same as those completed in December, so if you attended a circle in December please only encourage others to sign up.)
A total of 21 Listening Circles are scheduled from January 8 through January 23. We’re very disappointed not to have an in-person option. We’d hoped to schedule indoor in-person Listening Circles after January 15 but the date for indoor small group meetings is being pushed back. In December, we found that outside in-person Listening Circles didn’t work well.
You’ll be asked to provide a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd choice of dates/times. We’ll do our best to schedule you for one of those dates/times. We do need a minimum of 4 “sharing” participants to hold a circle. To stay within 2 hours, no more than 7 “sharing” participants will be scheduled. You’ll be asked to respond to 3 questions (see Why Listening Circles below).
Don’t miss out on this first phase of First UUs healing and reconnecting process. Sign-up now at our Listening Circles page.
Help First UU become more of a “happening place” and promote more multi-generational, ethnic, racial, and class diversity at First UU, including greater offerings for events - among members, attendees and families. The Board has created a new board committee to administer the Outreach and Growth Fund (OGF) that was created as part of the generous Renewal and Growth Fund donation to the church in late 2021.
First UU has been selected by Project New Village to receive the Fannie Lou Hamer award at the annual celebration to honor the legacy of that great civil rights leader. The event date is to be announced and the award ceremony will take place at the San Diego Port Pavilion. We hope to purchase a number of tickets to encourage our members to attend. More information will be forthcoming soon. If you're interested in attending please contact Steve Gelb firstname.lastname@example.org.
UU's in action! SOLACE volunteer Farrah Karapetian teamed with Rebecca Merton, Freedom for Immigrants staff to write a multi person medical and mental health neglect report. The result is that Otay Mesa Detention Center asylum seeker S. received the MRI he needed and was enabled to get help from a law firm to file a stronger request for disability accommodations at Otay Mesa Detention Center. Learn more about our SOLACE program.
When a BBIPoC person shares that they've been harmed by racism, please learn to listen and respond with compassion. It may seem that we hear about racism in our church more often than in our other spaces. This is not because racism is not happening elsewhere, it is because we have members who trust us with their truth because our principles say that we will hear them. How to Respond with Compassion when Someone is Hurt by Racism.
By Maureen McNair
Food pantries across San Diego County, including ours, face several months of food shortages. The US Department of Agriculture farm to family program from which our South Bay Food Pantry has received many tons of food, has largely cut SD County out of federally funded food distribution contracts that cover the next several months. Our South Bay Food Pantry will be relying on food from the Jacobs and Cushman San Diego Food Bank and Feeding San Diego. However, both food banks limit the amount of food we can get from them. Feeding San Diego currently allows us food from their warehouse only two days a month. We shop weekly at the San Diego Food Bank warehouse, but our credit limit restricts the amount of food we can purchase there.
We only had a few cans of food on hand and told her we had no opening plans yet. But, we offered to give her food. We gave her several cans of food with pop tops. She turned out to be the first client at our South Bay Food Pantry.
On this week where we focus on gratitude we recommend watching two short videos:
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.
SOLACE is a visitation program that comforts and supports persons held in immigration detention, tells their stories, and advocates for humane immigration policy. SOLACE offers a friendly visitor to end the isolation and affirm the dignity and worth of those who request a visit. Many people I've spoken to did not know we were back in as a presence at the Otay Mesa Detention Center. This is our 3rd life as SOLACE. We have to keep reinventing ourselves as we've been suspended three times. Two times because they changed the paperwork and agreements we needed to sign to enter the Detention Center? which would effectively have taken away our First Amendment rights. There were many visits to Congressional offices both times to find a way to get back in, as well as phone calls, and needed visits to pro bono attorneys. UURISE (Unitarian Universalist Refugee and Immigrant Services and Education, Inc.) was one of the organizations we consulted with about this.
Following the leadership of BIPOC folks & admitting we can (& do) harm others are important learnings. Gain some insights by listening to:
From our partners at the San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium (SDIRC):
"Thank you to everyone for your hard work in making the 2020 TRUTH Act Forum a success! Collectively we:
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.
Journey Toward Wholeness: What Can I Do? Learn about the role of race in Biden's victory & Trump's relative success by listening to NPR's podcast "How Whiteness Affected the Election" (35:39). Listen to Krista Tippett's interview [51:00] with a trauma specialist "Resmaa Menakem in Conversation with Robin DiAngelo." It has made an impression with Beloved Conversations Virtual participants and may challenge you.
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.
Read our UUA President Rev. Susan Frederick Gray's UU World column "A Message to White Unitarian Universalsists" about how her attitudes on policing has changed over the past years & the resource list at the end of the article. Then watch the brief (2:13) interview with Sonya Renee Taylor on combating racism with action.
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.
The First UU Church of San Diego blog is your resource for upcoming events and past event recaps. Leave us a comment to let us know what you think!