Food and Shelter Team

Mission: The Food and Shelter Team (FAST) explores ways to alleviate homelessness and hunger and present meaningful service opportunities and programs toward the goal of further understanding the experience and issues of hunger and homelessness through direct service and education for the UCE congregation.

Food and Shelter Team 2016-17 Brochure

Programs of the Food and Shelter Team

Refugee Sponsorship

Fair Trade Cart

Our Giving House

Soup Kitchens

Bundled Blessings

The Mitten Tree

“Our House” Curt’s Café

A brochure describing the work of Interfaith Action of Evanston and how you can participate: Soup Kitchen Volunteer Flyer

Postings

Update from the Refugee Family

The Syrian Refugee Family team would like to thank everyone who donated yarn for Fattoum’s knitting projects. You have our sincere thanks because this work gives her a great sense of purpose. We are looking for someone who would like to play chess occasionally with Mohammad. Please contact Jeanne Kerl ([email protected]) if you are interested.

Both Mohammad and Aya got jobs this week with a catering company that makes food for Mariano’s, Whole Foods, etc. Aya and Mohammad also started intensive English classes at Truman College this week.

The family is accomplishing a great deal when you consider they only arrived in the U.S. in September. The mother, Fattoum, is beginning to attend English classes through a parent program provided by the Skokie school system and their father Khaled continues English classes with Refugee One. Uday, the youngest, is doing  very well in his studies at Niles West High School. The family continues to face the many challenges of adjusting to a new culture, but they are making friends and learning quickly. The family and the volunteer team celebrated the holiday season with a party hosted by Carol and Brian Nielsen.

The family’s oldest daughter, her husband, and their young child are still living in a camp in Turkey. We hope that they will arrive in Chicago soon, despite the current climate in Washington.

We thank each one of you who have donated time, energy, rides, or money to this effort. Your generosity has made their journey much easier.

By | January 12th, 2017|Categories: food and shelter team|0 Comments

UCE Mitten Tree

mitten-treeUCE’s Mitten Tree has collected gifts and holiday food for over 25 years and is a wonderful tradition of generosity for those who need help during the holiday season. Contributing generously not only helps those in need, but helps each of us add to the love in our hearts during the holiday season. Paper mittens (with the wished for items noted) will be available from Nov. 6 to November 29 at tables at the back of the sanctuary. Please bring your new, unwrapped gifts to UCE as soon as you purchase them. The final deadline for bringing gifts is Dec. 4. We are providing gifts and food for nine groups this year.

Volunteers are needed to help at the Mitten Tree tables on Sundays and to sort, wrap, and deliver gifts.

Dates: November 6, 13, 20, 27 and December 4 when all gifts are due

Times: After each service -10:15-11:00 and 12:00-12:30

If you wish to volunteer please contact Jeanne Kerl or Melanie Kitchner. If you have questions about Mitten Tree please contact Carol Nielsen.

By | November 4th, 2016|Categories: food and shelter team|0 Comments

Introducing the Khalaf Family

Submitted by: Jane Kenamore

We are looking forward to a visit from the Khalaf family on Sunday, October 30, at the 11 a.m. service.  As you know, UCE is co-sponsoring the Khalafs with Refugee One, a not-for-profit agency that resettles refugees.

The family is composed of parents Khaled and Fattoum;  son Mohammed, 22; daughter Aya, 18; and son Uday, 14.  The family left their home in Aleppo in 2012 and had lived in a refugee camp in Turkey before their arrival here on September 8.  Since they arrived, they’ve been settling in and have become familiar with their neighborhood in Skokie and the greater environs.

Church mentors have shown them how to get around on the El; taken them grocery shopping, shopped for winter clothing, visited the beach in Evanston; and taken them to the Art Institute, the Cultural Center, and Millennium Park.

Currently the entire family is focusing on learning English.  They attend ESL classes up to four days/week through Oakton College and Refugee One; and Lynn Kendall and Meredith Haydon are reinforcing the classes with home instruction.  The entire family is enthusiastic about learning English, so they make great students!  (No bragging, but the kids are the stars of their classes!)

Finally, a cultural note:  When you meet them in church, it’s ok for UCE women to shake hands with the men in the family.  The women in the family are not comfortable, however, with shaking hands with men they don’t know.  The common gesture in lieu of the handshake is to place your hand over your heart.

By | October 14th, 2016|Categories: food and shelter team|0 Comments

Our Giving House

giving-houseThe Giving House is under the care of Will and Johna Van Dyke for this year. We publicize, and see to it that there is a sponsor every month. The sponsors volunteer for a given month, and are responsible for 2 things. 1 – matching the amount of product in the Giving House for their month, and 2 – getting it to Hilda’s Place along with the existing contributions from the house. However your group decides to accomplish this is entirely up to you. We will count up the contents, call you with the amount you need to contribute on the last day of the month. When you are ready, we will choose a time to consolidate all of the items for your group to deliver. We will need a contact from your group.

This is an excellent activity for Covenant Groups or other groups. It is simple, rewarding, team oriented, and not too expensive. ($10.00 to $20.00 a person) If you have a problem with the cost of your particular month, just let us know. We will help out.

The collection and counting of the Giving House items is made on the last day of the month by us. Please let us know if you have any questions. We hope your group, will choose to volunteer for one of the months coming up.

We have very few sponsors for the rest of this church year. Could you all please make your choices of which month works for you, and we will try to accommodate you. Could you also get back to us if you no longer wish to participate in the Giving House program and tell us how we could make it better for you? We are currently searching for someone to sponsor the month of October which would be collected on November 1st.

Thanks for all you do!

Please contact Johna or Will Van Dyke

[email protected]

[email protected]

By | October 14th, 2016|Categories: food and shelter team|0 Comments

From the Syrian Refugee Family Team

Khalaf Family

The Syrian refugee family we are sponsoring are getting settled in. They are delightful: friendly, outgoing, eager to learn English, and to get settled in America. We have taken them shopping for clothing essentials, but we still need many specific items. If you can help, please bring your donations to the box under the coat rack at UCE. Thank you!

Clothing for the Khalaf Family

We need the following specific items for our family. Everything should be good quality and in excellent condition – 
 

Women

Winter coat—long, black, xlarge
Winter gloves—black/grey, large
Leggings—black, sm/med
Boots—black, 7.5/8 and 9
Shirts/turtlenecks—muted colors, sm/med, xlarge
 

Men

Jeans—49 waist/23 long
Jeans—28 waist/28 long
Jeans—31 waist/28 long
Pants—khakis/dress pants, 49 waist/23 long
Shirts—pullover/polo, muted colors, medium, xlarge
Hoodies—muted colors, medium
Sweaters—muted colors, xlarge
Shoes—muted colors, 8, 9.5, 12
Boots—black, 8, 9.5, 12
Winter gloves—black/grey, large
Winter hats—black, knitted
Winter coats—medium and xlarge

 

We also need a large, deep cooking pot with lid.

Note: We can shorten men’s pants if needed.

By | September 22nd, 2016|Categories: food and shelter team|0 Comments

Our Giving House

Our Giving House is under the care of the Van Dyke Covenant Group for this year. We publicize, and see to it that there is a sponsor every month. The sponsors volunteer for a given month, and are responsible for two things. One –  matching the amount of product in the Giving House for their month, and two – getting it to Hilda’s Place along with the existing contributions from the house. However your group decides to accomplish this is entirely up to you. We will count up the contents, call you with the amount you need to contribute on the last day of the month, and when you are ready, we will choose a time to consolidate all of the items for your group to deliver. We will need a contact from your group.

This is an excellent activity for Covenant Groups or other groups. It is simple, rewarding, team oriented, and not too expensive. ($10.00 to $20.00 a person) If you have a problem with the cost of your particular month, just let us know. We will help out.

The collection and counting of the Giving House items is made on the last day of the month by us. Please let us know if you have any questions. We hope you will choose to volunteer.

Please contact Johna or Will Van Dyke.

 

By | September 16th, 2016|Categories: food and shelter team|0 Comments
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More Information

OUR GIVING HOUSE COLLECTION 2015/16

September/October: Welcome Kits –Regular size soap, toothbrush, tooth paste, conditioner, baby powder lotion, shampoo, razors, washcloths, shampoo

November: long underwear and socks

December: no collection-Mitten Tree

January: Canned tuna, chicken, salmon

February: Diapers

March: Tuna, salmon, chicken

April: Hearty canned soups/stews

May: Card games, kids small games or puzzles

GIVING HOUSE GUIDELINES FOR SPONSORS

The Giving House is under the care of the Van Dyke Covenant Group for this year. We publicize, and see to it that there is a sponsor every month. The sponsors (often a Covenant Group) volunteer for a given month, and are responsible for 2 things. 1) matching the amount of product in the Giving House for their month, and 2) getting it to Hilda’s Place along with the existing contributions from the house. However your group decides to accomplish this is entirely up to you. We will count up the contents, call you with the amount you need to contribute on the LAST DAY OF THE MONTH, and when you are ready, we will choose a time to consolidate all of the items for your group to deliver. We will need a contact from your group.

This is an excellent activity for Covenant Groups. It is simple, rewarding, team oriented, and not too expensive. ($10.00 to $20.00 a person) If you have a problem with the cost of your particular month, just let us know. We will help out.

The collection and counting of the Giving House items is made on the last day of the month by us. Please let us know if you have any questions. We hope you will choose to volunteer.

If you wish to participate, or have any questions please contact Johna Van Dyke at [email protected].

UCE’S REFUGEE PROJECT

The refugee project is busy at work. We had a great turnout at our Potluck on May 2nd and many people have volunteered to help. We are now ready to seek congregation-wide volunteers.

We will sponsor a Syrian family in September. We are working with Refugee One, a Chicago-based organization that has helped thousands of refugees settle in Chicagoland. Refugee One will handle a wide array of responsibilities. The UCE Refugee Committee’s responsibilities are to:

* raise money for rent/utilities/ and other necessities (approx. $8000-$10,000).
* gather furnishings and housewares for the family’s apartment (Refugee One finds the apartment and provides mattresses and bed frames).
* provide mentors for the family for at least 1 year. Mentors orient the family to basic ways of life in the U.S.: how to take public transport, how to shop for groceries, etc. Mentors also practice English with them and may take them to appointments, and to share social outings so they can get to know Chicago.
* prepare the apartment: clean, paint, and get the apartment ready to move in.
* meet the family at the airport and stock their pantry with at least 2 weeks of supplies and prepare them a welcoming meal.
* provide tutoring to help family members learn English.
* provide clothing for winter
* help the family understand the American school & higher education systems.
* help the family find a house of worship, childcare, etc.

Refugee One has language classes and helps refugees find jobs. Refugee One partners with local employers–so they get jobs pretty quickly in most cases.

What can you do? We will be launching the fundraising effort and will notify the congregation. We want you to share the funding page with your friends and co-workers. We need volunteers, please consider joining one of our volunteer teams. A volunteer sign-up chart is posted on the Food and Shelter Team Bulletin Board.

Questions? email: Jeanne Kerl ([email protected]) or Carol Nielsen ([email protected])

UCE’S REFUGEE FUNDRAISING FOR SPONSORSHIP BEGINS

UCE is co-sponsoring a Syrian family, in partnership with RefugeeOne, an organization working with the US State Department. We hope that the family will be housed in Rogers Park but we will not know until early September exactly where they will live.

There are two main parts to this project: the first phase is raising funds. We have set up a website hosted by Refugee One to begin the fundraising. We cannot commit to having a family until we have raised the $8000 that will be required for six months rent and utilities. Please visit our fundraising site to make a donation.

You may be contacted by one of the UCE Refugee Committee members to ask for your support. All levels of donations are welcome.

The second phase is preparing for the family’s arrival hopefully sometime in September. We will also be helping the family learn English, navigate the school system, find a job, and learn the everyday living responsibilities of life in Chicago.

There is a role for you! Please make a donation. Sign up at the UCE Social Action Bulletin Board to help on one of the teams. Questions: contact Jeanne Kerl ([email protected]) or Carol Nielsen ([email protected]). We look forward to working with you to change the lives of a refugee family.

UCE’S SOUP KITCHEN LOWDOWN

UCE’s soup kitchen work is part of an Evanston-wide system that provides a meal every day of the week 365 days a year. Several are coordinated by Interfaith Action of Evanston, and others are run independently by congregations. A schedule of all the offerings is available here.

During the fall and spring, UCE hosts Wednesday dinners when our neighbor Beth Emet is celebrating holidays and unable to host. We serve dinner and provide a sack lunch. This fall we are hosting on September 16 and 23 .

During the summer, we host three Monday lunches at Second Baptist and just completed our third on August 17th.
Like many of the congregations that host regularly, we aim to offer “radical hospitality” and believe that community, respect, and dignity are as important as food. We serve a nutritious and delicious meal we would be glad to have ourselves. We use tablecloths and real silverware, and often have piano music from our own Robb Geiger. We have practices to make our guests feel welcome and at ease.

Here are a few questions and answers we often get asked:

Who attends the soup kitchens? Some of the guests are homeless and depend on Evanston’s soup kitchens, warming centers, and shelter. Many others have housing but don’t have income for enough food. Some may even have the basics of housing and food but come for the community meal. All are welcome.

Why don’t we substitute at UCE more often for other churches? Our dates helping Beth Emet each year are determined by their rabbi and the Jewish calendar. Other congregations don’t need a substitute location because they don’t have the same limits on holidays as the Jewish congregations. They do offer the opportunity for outside groups to serve on their schedule, which you can read about at the Interfaith Action page linked above.
Why do I have to bring the casseroles hot on Wednesday? Our kitchen facilities don’t support heating up 10 casseroles from the refrigerator. We know cooking on Wednesday afternoon isn’t convenient for everyone, and really appreciate our cooks!

Why is there sometimes so much extra food? The number of people who attend the soup kitchen dinners varies unpredictably from 75-140 depending on weather, the beginning or end of the month, and the economy. We want our guests to relax and be sure there will be plenty of food. We almost always offer seconds and plastic containers for taking leftovers. If we still have significant leftovers we bring them to Hilda’s Place.

Ready to get involved? You can sign up on the volunteer page to cook, purchase food, or volunteer. There are also opportunities to serve as coordinators in the kitchen, security/hospitality, and clean-up. If interested, contact me.

I have been coordinating the Wednesday soup kitchens for almost 10 years. I have used my skills in planning and organizing to help others, plus learned new skills and made great friends. Come join us, we have lots of fun!
Janet Hartmann