Interested in learning about new opportunities to help others? You can volunteer for an ongoing effort or get a taste of trying something new.
Volunteers needed for Housing Forward lunches. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Housing Forward has transitioned its emergency shelter program to the Write Inn, where guests participate in an Interim Housing program. But they still need lunch! The First United Church School made lunches for many years for Housing Forward’s PADS program. Now Faith in Action invites the congregation to help provide lunch for the third and fifth Mondays of the month — nearly 800 lunches between now and June 30, 2021, About $3,000 is needed to purchase the food, and volunteers are needed to shop and/or to make sandwiches. Please contact Lois Love ([email protected]) to volunteer your time or arrange a donation.
Contactless giving for the Holiday Food and Gift Basket program. For years, members and friends of First United have delivered the holiday spirit to individuals and families in an effort sponsored by the Community of Congregations. First United members have generously supported a total of 80 people each year, buying and wrapping gifts for local needy families, from babies to senior citizens. This year, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Holiday Food and Gift Basket program decided that shopping for and delivering gifts could not be done safely. Instead of asking people to buy and wrap presents, the program is asking for monetary donations to purchase Target gift cards for the some 2,000 people served in the program. Donations can be sent to HFGB, P.O. Box 3365, Oak Park, IL 60303, or can be made online through PayPal at this link.
Fourth Sunday Offering for Beyond Hunger, Nov. 15. 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 (which is being held on the third Sunday on Nov. 15) will benefit Beyond Hunger, one of the church’s mission partners that is housed in the church and serves clients in 13 surrounding ZIP codes. Besides offering twice-a-week food distribution from its food pantry, Beyond Hunger also offers nutrition and health education, food programs for kids, home delivery where needed, social services, and a food rescue program. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the agency has seen a 153% increase in requests for hunger relief. More information about Beyond Hunger is available on 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. Giving online and marking the donation for the Fourth Sunday Offering, texting FIRSTUNITED to 73256, or mailing checks to First United can take the place of the in-person Fourth Sunday Offering, at least for now.
Transgender Day of Remembrance, Nov. 20. The day is an annual observance to honor the memory of transgender people whose lives have been lost in acts of anti-transgender violence. Transgender Day of Remembrance was started in 1999 by transgender advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith as a vigil to honor the memory of Rita Hester, a transgender woman who was killed in 1998. The sponsoring organization, GLAAD, or Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, invites supporters to hold or take part in a vigil on Friday, Nov. 20. The vigil often involves reading a list of the names of those lost that year. To learn more about the national effort, visit this website.
Virtual Thanksgiving service, Nov. 22. The Community of Congregations will hold its annual multi-faith Thanksgiving service at 7 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 22. Instead of gathering in a local house of worship, faith leaders and other participants will offer the service online via the group’s Facebook page. The theme of the service is “Together for Good.” The speaker will be Reesheda Graham Washington, a native of the Austin neighborhood and executive director of Communities First Association, a national faith-based nonprofit committed to asset-based community development. You can join the livestreamed service at the Community of Congregations Facebook page at this link.
Virtual Interfaith Prayer Service, Nov. 29. The Chicago Faith Coalition on Middle East Policy and the American Friends Service Committee is sponsoring an online interfaith service in solidarity with Palestinian people at 5 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 29. The virtual service will be a program of music, prayers, and words of inspiration from the Muslim, Christian, and Jewish traditions. There will be messages from Palestinians and their supporters to inspire hope and resiliency. You can get more information about the service and register at this link.