Interested in learning about new opportunities to help others? You can volunteer for an ongoing effort or get a taste of trying something new.
Plastic Free July. This is something we all should strive for all year round. But you can join the global movement that helps millions of people be part of the solution to plastic pollution. Take the challenge to refuse single-use plastic for one month, and see if the habits stick. Many fell back into the habit of accepting plastic bags at stores during the COVID-19 pandemic. Did you know we can now use our own reusable bags again at grocery stores? Why not bring those same reusable bags to the Farmers’ Market? If you eat at a restaurant, bring and reuse plastic containers to bring home your own “doggy bag” for leftovers. Every year, about 8 million tons of plastic waste escapes into the oceans. Only 9% of plastic is actually recycled, and 70% ends up in landfills. To learn more about the movement to cut plastic waste and to find out more about how you can cut your own use of plastic, visit the Plastic Free July website.
Volunteer opportunities with Housing Forward. Housing Forward is looking for help to serve Housing Forward guests staying at the Write Inn Hotel. Help is needed for the following shifts: breakfast service aides, 8-10 a.m. M-F, 8:30-10:30 a.m. Saturdays and Sundays; dinner service aides, 6:30-8:30 p.m.; and on-site assistants, various times during the week. Those interested can sign up on Housing Forward’s volunteer calendar. The First United Faith in Action Team has been organizing volunteers to buy food, make sandwiches, and deliver them to the Write Inn on the third and fifth Mondays of each month. Volunteers are still needed for two tasks: buying food and being reimbursed through Faith in Action or making sandwiches and delivering everything to the Write Inn that evening. This spreadsheet gives an overview of the program; dates where help is needed are listed until 2022. Volunteers also are needed at the Economy Shop’s “Better Women’s Clothing Room” to assist in room maintenance and to run the room on sale days. Some Economy Shop proceeds go to Housing Forward. The next sale day is Sept. 9. To learn more about Housing Forward, one of First United’s mission partners, visit the organization’s website.
Beyond Hunger Home Delivery. Volunteers are needed to help Beyond Hunger serve the needs of 250 homebound households. Volunteers are needed the first three weeks of every month to call clients, bag produce, drive clients, and select and organize items for clients’ personalized menu choices. All onsite shifts will take place at the Beyond Hunger Home Delivery Chicago Office, 5317 W. Chicago Ave., although calling clients can be done remotely by those with computer access. Interested volunteers should contact Daisy Gabriel, Program Coordinator ([email protected]). To learn more about Beyond Hunger, one of First United’s mission partners, visit the organization’s website.
Native Garden Tour, July 24. This year’s native plant tour will be in person from 1-5 p.m. Saturday, July 24. You can see eight gardens in Oak Park, River Forest, Forest Park, and Berwyn. The Birds, Bees, and Butterflies Native Garden Tour will feature everything from wild parkways to surprisingly large urban homesteads and is part of the Year of the Butterfly Initiative. Native gardens are high-performance, lower-maintenance gardens that bring huge benefits to a home landscape and provide essential habitat for birds, bees, butterflies, and threatened pollinators. The garden tour is sponsored by Interfaith Green Network and the West Cook Chapter of Wild Ones, supporting native plants in natural landscapes. Tickets are available at this link and are $10 for members and $15 for nonmembers; kids get in free. Ticket holders will receive a tour map two days before the event. The tour also needs volunteers and volunteer docents; all volunteers get in free! You can sign up for a volunteer slot at this link.
Fourth Sunday Offering for the First United Church Nursery School Tuition Assistance Fund, July 25. Each month, all undesignated money donated on the fourth Sunday goes to a specific beneficiary supported by First United. This month’s Fourth Sunday Offering on July 25 will go toward a tuition assistance fund for students in need who attend First United Nursery School. Applications for assistance may be obtained from the school director and may be requested on the registration form. Decisions regarding assistance are made by the Finance Committee of the Nursery School Board and are based on need and available resources in the fund. Learn more about the nursery school at the group’s website.
NOTE: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, church is being streamed at 11 a.m. Sundays instead of being held in the Sanctuary. Our online giving system is in a period of transition. You can donate by mailing checks to First United, which can take the place of the in-person Fourth Sunday Offering, at least for now.
Car wash to raise funds for BUILD, July 30. Here’s a perfect opportunity to share a little love for BUILD and get a clean car at the same time. BUILD, an organization dedicated to providing youth intervention and preventing gang violence, will hold a youth-led car wash from noon to 6 p.m. on Friday, July 30, in the parking lot of BUILD headquarters at 5100 W. Harrison St., Chicago. The cost of a hand car wash is $10, and all proceeds will go to projects that support youth. Hot dogs and snow cones also will be available for sale to raise money. You can learn more about BUILD, one of First United’s mission partners, at the group’s website.