News from the Social Action Committee (SAC) & 8th Principle Task Force:  December, 2022

Our congregation’s November Share the Plate (STP) recipient – the UUA Disaster Relief Fund – will be receiving a check for $355.00 with a Memo line reading: “For Response to Hurricane Ian.”  The Disaster Relief Fund disburses grants to UU congregations and UU-recognized non-profit entities (in this case to the Southern Region and more specifically to those in Florida).  For a view of the Disaster Relief Fund grants in prior years; the thankful responses from relief recipients; and to follow their work this year, go to https://UUA.org, then type Disaster Relief Fund in the search field.

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On Saturday, November 19th, our Food Drive to benefit CAST was held in our church parking lot.  It was a bit chilly but we were warmed by Rev.Valerie’s hot cider AND some surprise guests who pulled up about 1/2 hr after we’d started.  The smiling young mother, who spoke in broken English, soon realized that we were collecting not distributing food, and ushered her two sons back to their car.  As she did so, the boys cheerily waved and wished us a “Happy Thanksgiving.”  Though we hadn’t collected much food at that time, we asked her to come back and pick out some things the boys might like.  Together we assembled a meal of canned ham, assorted canned veggies and fruits, some cookies, jar of peanut butter, and…a bottle of ketchup?¿

The following Tuesday morning, Susan Pond delivered to CAST a check for $300, a few coats, and about nine bags and boxes of non-perishable food and household goods.  At about 2:30, I brought over three more bags and, on my way in, passed a number of women with children who were already waiting outside for the food pick-up scheduled at 3pm.   Inside, I met CAST Food Relief Program Mgr, Karina Hayes, who spoke to our congregation about “Food Insecurity on the North Fork” on November 13th.  We hugged as she asked me to let you know that CAST is “immensely grateful” for your support of their work in our community.  She further shared that “with all the food donations received this week, about 350 families will have a holiday meal.”  I congratulated her and left her busily preparing to open the doors to those young families, telling her that I’d return next week to get her final number.  And when I do, I’ll tell her to add one.

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We are holding our Toy Drive (inside this year – what a concept!) at Holy Trinity, for the children of farm workers receiving support from Rural & Migrant Ministry (R&MM), on Saturday, December 3rd, from 9am to 3pm at our congregation’s Holiday Fair.  Bring a new, unwrapped toy and receive 3 (yes – three) free raffle tickets as a thank you.  And while you’re there, enjoy the vendor tables filled with holiday gifts and treasures.

You’ll remember that last year, we also collected funds to further the work of R&MM and would like to do the same this year.  Their Long Island Regional Coordinator, Noemi Sanchez, addressed our congregation on September 18th and outlined a number of programs about which we’d been unaware (ex. support for victims of domestic violence and holding Spanish language classes, in addition to English, for indigenous people who speak only Mestizo.  SAC requested and received approval from the Board that our December STP benefit Rural & Migrant Ministry (R&MM).

Noemi also told us about the workers at Pindar Vineyards on Long Island, who are the first farmworkers in NYS to unionize.  Through the Justice for Farmworkers Campaign, it took them over twenty years to get the Farm Labor Practices Act passed in 2019.  This removed a provision that went back more than seventy years to the New Deal, excluding farmworkers from protection when bargaining collectively in NY.  In 2020, they voted to join Local 338 RWDSU/UFCW (part of Agricultural Workers United) and have been working towards their first contract ever since.  Pindar has refused to negotiate .  The union is now asking that Pindar Vineyards enter mediation in order to complete a fair contract.  So in addition to our First Sunday STP donations to R&MM, the farmworkers need allies.  After Sunday worship on December 4th, information will be available about who you can call or write to, and what you can do to help and when.  If you are unable to attend service on December 4th, contact pattemcgoo@yahoo.com, or call (631) 997-9405.

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Trying to get a bit ahead of the calendar, SAC requested Board approval that our January STP benefit the Riverhead-based Sound Justice Initiative.  Dr. Kerry Spooner, founder of the Sound Justice Initiative addressed our congregation on October 2nd informing us of the societal benefits of providing liberal arts education and resources to justice-involved people right here in Long Island jails.  Part of Sound Justice Initiative’s goal is for incarcerated students to become excited about learning, so that upon release they are inspired to continue their educations, helping to break the cycle before people ever get to prison.

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Wednesday, December 14, 2022 at 4:00pm is the scheduled date and time of the next SAC & 8th Principle meeting, via Zoom.  One of the agenda items will be providing feedback to the UUA Article II Study Commission on their initial draft of recommended changes to the Principles and Purposes, last revised in 1987.  For Article II Study Commission background info, historical context, and current status (including resources, reports, and a copy of the Initial Draft), visit https://www.uua.org and type in Article II Study Commission.

We will also discuss the Winter Film Series being sponsored by SAC & the 8th Principle Task Force.  All are welcome – please join us with your ideas, questions, passions and concerns.

During this season of giving thanks, on behalf of SAC & the 8th Principle Task Force members, I would like to express how very grateful we are for your continued support of one another and our larger community.  Our best wishes to you and your loved ones as we close out 2022.

Patte McManus, Chair