Community Beyond Our Doors
The Unitarian Universalist Village Church is committed to social justice and action within Hot Springs Village, our surrounding community and the world. Though much of our outreach is done as individuals, we, as a church, have agreed to support the following programs and organizations with our time, talents and treasure.
Our Monthly "Share the Plate" Offering
On the first Sunday of each month, we collect a special offering, “Share the Plate,” that benefits a local/regional service organization. Contributions may be added during the month, using an envelope for all cash donations and putting “Share” on the memo line of checks to UUVC. Our Social Action Committee chooses the organization based on suggestions from the congregation. In addition, UUVC budgets for one or more direct contributions. Following is a list of the organizations that received funds in the last year. Our goal is that at least 10 percent of our church funds are donated through these contributions.
Share the Plate contributions for the last 12 months:
Since 2009, the UU Village Church has been responsible for the (UU-C4K) program. The program was originally started by a church member who was serving on board of the Fountain Lake School District. From serving only the FL district, the program has grown to serving 4 other area school districts and is looking to expand into several more districts. Major components of the program, are: refurbishing computers which have been donated by residents, businesses and the FL district; installing new software (Windows 10, Office 2010 and other productivity software); and distributing the refurbished computers to area families who have children in one of the local schools and who do not have a home computer. Since the beginning of the program, over 500 computer systems have been refurbished and provided to local student and their families. UUVC has dedicated space in our facility for the storage and refurbishing of the computers. Anyone wishing to donate a computer to this program or assist with the refurbishing, placement and transport of the computers is encouraged to do so.
Eleanor Klugh Jackson House for Crisis Intervention Services, Inc., commonly known as “Jackson House," is an interfaith non-profit community crisis center which provides short-term emergency assistance for basic needs such as food, clothing and shelter, and medicine without regard to race, creed, sex or nationality - and without imposing values or beliefs upon those served. Five church volunteers work in the Soup Kitchen every third Tuesday from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and two people volunteer in the Thrift Shop every first Thursday from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. We also collect and deliver non-perishable food items to the Jackson House food pantry weekly, and make occasional clothing donations.
Ouachita Childrens Center
Ouachita Children's Center (OCC) is a non-profit community based shelter for children and youth aged seven to eighteen years old. The shelter can house up to eighteen children with individual stays varying from one to sixty days. The OCC provides a safe, stable, supportive transitional home to children in crisis, and serves as an advocate for additional services needed by youth. In addition to the emergency shelter care, OCC offers reproductive health education and outreach case management for juvenile delinquents, juveniles in need of supervision, and dependent neglected juveniles. We volunteer at OCC one Saturday of each month from 9:15 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. to work with the children in arts and crafts projects.
The Social Action Committee created a “Reduce, Reuse and Recycle” brochure, to encourage and assist community residents to become more environmentally responsible. A few items can be recycled at UUVC: aluminum cans, ink cartridges, batteries, and plastic bags. The Sleeping Mat Group uses the bags in their activity.
Sleeping Mat Group
Recycling plastic bags from the grocery store into mats that are waterproof, lightweight and colorful is the special joy of a group of crocheters, and those who get the bags ready to use by cutting them into plastic yarn. This group meets at UUVC twice monthly to prepare the mats, and than deliver them to Jackson House to give to the homeless.
The UUVC supports Fair Trade by offering Equal Exchange products for sale, such as coffee, chocolate, olive oil and nuts, two Sundays a month. Fair Trade is a trading partnership, based on dialogue, transparency and respect, and that contributes to sustainable development by offering better trading conditions for, and securing the rights of, marginalized producers and workers.
The Social Action Committee promotes individual membership in the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, (www.uusc.org) an organization which is the UU equivalent of “missions”. UUSC supports local groups in many countries and in the US to advance human rights, especially for the most marginalized. The Social Action Committee informs the congregation about UUSC through the Justice Sunday program and Guest at Your Table.
UUVC participates in the Hot Springs Village Interfaith Council, and takes its turn hosting community wide worship services to commemorate special days, such as Thanksgiving and Earth Day. We donate to the annual shoe fund and prepare gift baskets for families at Christmas.