The Social Action Committee is comprised of committed individuals who have a legacy of “deeds, not creeds.” They make a difference in our local society in the following ways.
Interfaith Cot Shelter in Northampton
In coordination with South Congregational Church of Amherst, from October to April we prepare, deliver and serve a meal per month at the Interfaith Cot Shelter at Center St. in Northampton. Many people in our congregation contribute by preparing and serving meals. The tasks are simple, well defined and many find it an easy way to help those in need. If you would like to help provide food and serve the meal please contact our congregational administrator who will put you in touch with the cot shelter coordinator.
Not Bread Alone
Every time there are five Saturdays in a month, UUs help prepare lunch, serve and clean up afterwards on the fifth Saturday at this local soup kitchen at First Congregational Church. This past year 20 different members, friends, children and their guests helped create tasty meals, serve and clean up. We also helped organize the plentiful amount of donated produce and breads from local grocery stores, from which the guests selected to take back with them at meals’ end. It was a great way to get to know new people while doing something very worthwhile.
Just One Thing
The Social Action Committee provides another opportunity for our members and friends to help the Amherst Survival Center. On the second Sunday of every month a basket is placed in our foyer for food and other needed items. The food/items specifically needed for that particular month are included in the Sunday Bulletin one – two weeks before. Additionally, throughout February 2016, a special collection was also made which produced 215 pounds of food for the 600-700 households who depend on the Survival Center for needed food. Thanks to the generosity of our members and friends we are able to provide regular contributions to local people in need through our monthly collections
Social Justice in Western Massachusetts UU congregations
Early in February 2016, members of most Western Massachusetts congregations with an active social justice agenda met in Florence to compare notes and organize for a visit to the State House in Boston, to meet with local representatives and discuss a variety of bills that were coming up in the legislature. A representative of UUSA reported on the various social justice issues our congregation has addressed in the past. The audience was interested primarily in our congregation’s leadership in climate change and climate justice.
Below is a list of Current Social Justice Foci of neighboring congregations represented.
• Berkshires – 350 Mass campaigns, Black Lives Matter, Food pantry, WTP
• Bernardston – just Economic Community
• Greenfield – Green Banks, Black Lives Matter
• Northfield – Opioids
• Northampton – Social Justice, Climate action; Some interest in Refugees.
• Orange – Prisons
• Petersham – Shrinking and aging congregation
• Some members active in agricultural carbon sequestration
• Springfield – Media action, anti-racism, UUA training, Active in Refugee Issues
Day of Action
On April 12, 2016, a group of UU Mass Action followers met at the UU Meeting House in Arlington, learned about the status of several bills and divided into groups according to our four major issues: immigrants and refugees, climate change/justice, end mass incarceration, escalating inequality. In the afternoon they met with legislators or their assistants to discuss their concerns and educate them on new developments and proposals.
Also in April 2016, the committee participated in a quickly developing interfaith group, the Pioneer Valley Interfaith Refugee Assistance Group (PVIRAG). Split in three subgroups, Group II organized an event to counter Islamophobia and promote dialogue among our diverse faiths and cultures. Group III has been picking up donations of quality furniture, clothing and other basic resources to offer a group of 8-12 refugee families expected to arrive in MA. Group I focuses on research and legal issues that need some shepherding. In coordination with Joan Butler from UU Springfield, the committee is planning a field trip to Rutland, VT to gather information about its success in attracting 100 refugees.