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Ways to Act

The Social Justice Council (SJC) has partnered with a range of local service organizations to support them with time, talent, and funding from UUSM.  We reach out to the UUSM community to let everyone know what they can do to help.  Your involvement can be big, small, or in between in accordance with your personal level of interest and commitment to acting.

Explore the organizations listed below and think about which one matches your interests and concerns.  Each organization has a UUSM contact who knows that organization and how it can use your help.  The options range from one-time volunteer events, support for fund-raising, and longer-term volunteer roles.  To find out more in any area, please contact the coordinator.


Home and Hope

Home and Hope (formerly Interfaith Hospitality Network) affords UUSM members and friends the opportunity to provide shelter, meals, and support services to families without homes.

Hosting rotates weekly among the host congregations in our network. In turn, each host congregation provides lodging, three meals daily, and welcoming care. Volunteers provide various services, including

  •     Cooking and serving meals
  •     Playing with children or helping them with homework
  •     Interacting with guests, with respect and compassion

To this: To learn more about how you can assist UUSM in volunteering when we host the temporarily homeless families, please call Joy Thomas (650-520-9997). For more information about the county-wide Home and Hope organization, please see their website.


Habitat for Humanity

habitat groupHabitat for Humanity Greater San Francisco  builds affordable homes in our community. Trained staff and volunteers, aged 16 and older, work together during the week or on a Saturday. In order to be a volunteer, you need not have prior building experience and you don’t need to be a star athlete. There are all kinds of jobs to do, some simple, some complex. Habitat personnel will train and supervise volunteers in safety and work projects. The goal is to match a volunteer’s ability and interests with the requirements of a particular building task.



Second Harvest Food Bank

 Second Harvest Food Bank has been serving the community since 1974.secondharvest 213x158  The Food Bank in San Mateo County currently feeds 42,500 people a month. 60% of these are families with children and 20% are seniors.  Programs include:

  •     Family Harvest
  •     Brown Bag
  •     Partners in Need
  •     Nutrition Education
  •     Mobile Food Bank

We also provide breakfast, lunch and a snack to 20,000 low-income children during the summer months when school is out. 96 cents of every dollar donated is used to feed hungry people in our community. For $1, Second Harvest can provide 2 nutritious meals to the hungry.

The food reaches the hungry through 800 partner non-profit agencies and distribution sites. Each year volunteers provide the workforce essential to the success of the Second Harvest Food Bank program. During the most recent year, volunteers donated an equivalent of approximately $3 million in work hours. The Food Bank in San Mateo and Santa Clara County is the 7th largest in the United States.


Homework Central

 Homework Central is an after-school tutoring program serving third, fourth and fifth graders at three sites in North Central San Mateo. Teachers from Sunnybrae, Horrall, and San Mateo Park Elementary School refer students; parents then enroll their children in the program, and students attend their homework center four days a week.

Our congregation is host to those students from San Mateo Park Elementary School. Our Site Coordinator, Jill Wagner, is the daily constant welcoming the students and assigning the rotating staff of volunteer tutors. Tutors work with students on their homework, strengthening math, writing and reading skills.

In addition, families attend evening classes that provide information on such topics of concern such as gang prevention, middle school transition, and positive discipline.

To learn more about how you can assist UUSM in helping with this essential program, please UUSM Coordinator Katherine Kinner (650-571-7622) or Site Coordinator Jill Wagner (650-513-1643).


Peace Action

 San Mateo Peace Action has meetings with educational programs monthly, usually in Beck Hall. Recent events include showings of the films "Plan Colombia: Cashing in on the Drug War Failure" and "The Trials of Henry Kissinger." Among other actions, we do tabling at local shopping centers and community events, participate in demonstrations, write letters to representatives and newspapers and publish an informative newsletter to keep you up to date on the local peace movement. We have also worked with the Aragon High School Peace Club to limit access of military recruiters to local high schools.

See their website for current events or contact Peace Action San Mateo for more information.


Open Door Committee

 The Open Door Committee exists to promote interaction communication and understanding among members of our congregation and the local African-American community and to build bridges across racial lines through working together, sharing interests and ideas, and socializing.

We provide a vehicle for social activism through community involvement and participation.

Our major event occurs on the Saturday before the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. national holiday.

We host a large community reception as part of the local Dr. King Day Poetry and Essay Contest.