First Parish Bedford UU

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Home Social Action Social Responsibility Council
Social Responsibility Council

 Welcome to Social Action

  The Council recognizes four basic facets of social  action:

  • Education/Awareness
  • Service
  • Action
  • Dialogue/Reflection

 First Parish has always held social action to be one of its most important values. In a recent survey of activity, parishioners reported involvement in nearly sixty organizations, local, regional, and global. Social action programming is coordinated by the Social Responsibility Council which was funded by a vote of the semiannual Parish Meeting held in October, 2001; monies flow to the Council through First Parish’s endowment. The goal of the Council is to act on behalf of the parish to coordinate and fund projects that express Unitarian Universalist values within our community. A by-law establishing the Council was voted at the 2002 Annual Meeting of the parish, and seven members were elected to serve terms ranging from one  to three years.



An important initiative of First Parish's Social Responsibility Council

is a program of grant-making and donations to agencies and organizations that represent our core values.



Grants Awarded For  2013-2014 Program Year



Milk for Lowell Transitional Living Center (LTLC) - $168
Funds were used to purchase five gallons of milk for the second Friday of the month, which is the day members of First Parish serve dinner at the Lowell Transitional Center. The milk was much appreciated by the diners and staff.
Bedford High School Tenacity Challenge - $1,000
The Tenacity Challenge is an inter-district, team-based, academic competition for African-American and Latino High School youth that was created by the leadership and staff at Bedford High School in 2012 to nurture a culture of scholarship for all of our Latino and African-American students. The academic competition has become a huge success and has grown significantly in just two years. The $1000 that was donated by First Parish went towards one of six first place grand prizes for the event. First Place prizes were $1,000 for each member of the overall winning team and will be held in an account earmarked for scholarship after high school. Bedford High School is extremely appreciative of the generosity of the members of First Parish in Bedford.
Toward Independent Living and Leaning (TILL) iPads - $1500
Funds were used to purchase three iPads for individuals who attend a day habilitation program.
IPads assist adults with disabilities to make choices and interact with the world in a more independent and interactive way.
Community Dinner for Veterans and their Families - $200
Funds helped support NAMI’s contribution to a veteran family community night that was held in the fall. Approximately 80 people attended.
Bedford Housing Task Force (BHTF) – Community Cooks Project - $1050
Funds for the Bedford Housing Task Force (BHTF) Community Cooks Project have been used to support the development of a volunteer model in collaboration with the Community Cooks, and to purchase paper products for Sunday meals for families temporarily placed at the Bedford Plaza Hotel due to homelessness. Since January 2014, the project has provided 19 Sunday dinners for 25 to 40 families each week. To date, we have had 122 volunteers from the Bedford community including our FP friends: Renu and Dan Bostwick; Mitch Evans; Dot Bergin; Marge Heckman; Paul Bradford; Deborah McKenna; Christine Rabinowitz; Ali Hon-Anderson; Meighan Matthews; Ginni and Dave Spencer; Ann Williams; DJ Prowell; Erin Davis Campbell; Rev. John Gibbons; Sue Baldauf; among others! The volunteers plan the meals, coordinate assignments among team members, cook and prepare food, deliver, serve and clean up. The families at the hotel have contributed to this project by helping with set-up, clean up, and giving input about menu planning. This project has provided a positive way to build community and express our social justice mission.
Access for All - $150
Access for ALL is a relatively new First Parish committee that is dedicated to broadening awareness of the needs of parishioners with disabilities and finding ways to support their needs. Of the $150 requested, approximately $50 was used for materials for Religious Education and some books for adults on disabilities. The remaining funds were used to purchase large print hymnals and supplements for the Church.
Bedford Community Table - $800
Funds were used to provide four meals at the Bedford Community Table that were prepared and served by members of First Parish. First Parish members shopped, prepped, cooked and served meals on: 9/26/13, 11/2113, 1/23/14, and 3/20/14 and fed a total of approximately 350 diners, ranging from 65 guests to 115. Many of the diners were patrons of the food pantry, residents of the Bedford Plaza, veterans, and seniors.
Families for Justice as Healing- $150
The intergenerational Task Force on Incarceration Issues requested a stipend of $150 to enable Andrea James of "Families for Justice as Healing" to speak on incarceration issues at a First Parish Lyceum. The event was publicized widely and approximately 55–60 people attended. Her talk was also publicized in newspapers, which helped to increase awareness of the issues.
Lighting for United Teen Equality Center (UTEC) Café - $1,500 Funds will be used to purchase lighting fixtures for the new UTEC café, which is about to open in its LEED platinum certified green center. UTEC youth will be taught to work in the food service industry.
AIDS Memorial Quilt - $225
Funds were used to defray shipping costs of the AIDS Memorial Quilt, which hung in the sanctuary for two weeks in the fall. Besides the honor of displaying two panels of the AIDS Quilt, parishioners were reminded of the large number of people lost to the disease, that they were loved and remembered by family and friends, and that we need to make safe choices in our lives.
Senior Youth Prison Book Program - $750
The senior youth received a matching grant of $750 to support postage costs for the Prison Book Program. The Prison Book Program sends books to prisoners at different locations throughout the United States. First Parish youth raised more than $1700 through fundraising activities.
Thiou School in South Sudan - $1400
Funds were used to pay operational expenses at a school in a remote village in the Bahr el Ghazal region of South Sudan. Funds were distributed as follows: $425 was used to build a community cell phone charging station, which now brings in revenue of about $100 a month for the school, $475 was used to purchase school supplies for the 2014 school year, and $500 was used to pay two teacher salaries for three months.
Trip to Transylvania for Laura Fell Scholten - $500
Funds will be used to partially support Laura’s trip to Abásfalva, our partner village in Transylvania.
Interfaith Peace Builders - $2,000
Funds will be used to fund two scholarships to partially offset the cost of participating in an Interfaith Peace Builders Delegation to Israel and Palestine. The scholarships were awarded to Phil and Janet Vitiello. Traveling in September as part of a delegation, the Vitiellos will meet with both Palestinians and Israelis working to achieve a lasting resolution of the difficulties in this important region. They will stay in Jerusalem and travel throughout Israel and the West Bank during a two week period.








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