Each month the “weekly pouch” is split with a local organization or group which supports the  “serve human need” portion of our UCM mission.  Last year UCM donated a over $15,000 to these various groups. Organizations that have been helped include Planting Hope, CVRAN, UCM Community Lunch, Good Samaritan Haven, Migrant Justice, Boyz and Girls First,  Peoples Health and Wellness, Friends of the Winooski River, Just Basics, Circle, Outright Vermont, Good Beginnings, Another Way, OUR House, Have Justice Will Travel, Central Vermont Community Harvest, and Days for Girls International.  During the past few years the youth have also chosen an organization during the their annual meeting.  These include CAMP!, Vermont Therapy Dogs and Green Up Vermont.

Organizations are selected in September of each year.

April’s Recipient: Good Beginnings http://www.goodbeginningscentralvt.org/

Good Beginnings’ mission is to bring community to families and their babies. Hundreds of families each year are matched with a Postpartum Angel, visit the The Nest, or attend early parenting workshops or babywearing clinics. Any family with a new baby is eligible. Our Free Carrier Program and Emergency Fund are available to help families experiencing financial hardship. During the pandemic, staff and volunteers continue to support families through expanded virtual services, home deliveries of food and essential supplies, and responding to increased need for mental health referrals and financial assistance. Together with other local partners, we formed the Family Connectivity Project to keep families with young children connected to the internet during the shutdown.

March’s Recipient: Barre Area Senior Center http://www.barreseniors.org/

The Barre Area Senior Center provides access to programs and resources that help older adults live independently and remain active. The senior center is a 501c3 non-profit that relies solely on grants, donations, and fundraisers. We strive to make BASC our member’s “home away from home”. We focus on programs and events that will benefit the aging community on many levels while offering a place that affords them with a fun and social atmosphere.

February’s Recipient: Central Vermont SURJ: Showing Up for Racial Justice  

Central Vermont SURJ (Showing Up for Racial Justice) is a chapter of a national network of groups and individuals working to undermine white supremacy and to work for racial justice. Active since 2015, Central Vermont SURJ’s goal is to build community and healing through anti-racist education, mutual aid, outreach, repair and the inner-work of acknowledging our own bias. https://www.facebook.com/CVtSURJ/ 

January’s Recipients: Migrant Justice & Vermont Freedom Fund

Migrant Justice: Throughout the pandemic, migrant farmworkers continue to work producing the milk and dairy products that line supermarket shelves. Farmworkers also continue to organize for their rights and to expand the groundbreaking Milk with Dignity program. Milk with Dignity brings together farmworkers, consumers, farmer owners and corporate buyers towards building a sustainable Northeast dairy industry that advances the human rights of farmworkers, supports the long-term interests of farm owners, and provides an ethical supply chain for everyone.

Vermont Freedom Fund: When non-citizens without immigration documents in Vermont go anywhere away from
home, such as to the grocery store, they risk being arrested and jailed in NH by ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement.) They are imprisoned indefinitely unless they have help. Vermont Freedom Fund pays for lawyers to request release on bail. If the Immigration Judge allows bail, a VT Freedom Fund volunteer pays bond and brings the person home to Vermont. We are considering expanding to pay pretrial bail for jailed Vermonters who are too impoverished to pay their own bail. All jails are dangerous in this pandemic.

December’s Recipient: People’s Health & Wellness Clinic

People’s Health & Wellness Clinic provides free healthcare to uninsured and underinsured people in Central Vermont. Services include medical, mental health, and dental care, and other specialties. COVID-19 forced the Clinic to shift to telehealth services, which remain our primary mode of treating patients, even as in-person visits resume. In addition to our technological growth, the pandemic has illuminated the limitations of the Clinic’s building. In order to follow COVID-19 precautions, the Clinic is operating out of a temporary site and we are at the beginning stages of a project to create a new long-term home for the organization.

Special Christmas Eve Service Community Pouch Recipient:

Good Samaritan Haven is central Vermont’s homeless shelter. Since Covid, we have scrambled to keep everyone safe. Besides providing a bed, food, and basic services, we also now help our guests navigate a pandemic world. Currently, we assist over 300 individuals experiencing homelessness — our highest caseload in our 35 year history. Most of our guests are in motel rooms supported by the state. More are housed in our main shelter in Barre and some transitional housing in Montpelier.   In November we opened the Christ Church warming shelter in Montpelier, providing a safe alternative for those living outside. In motels, shelters on the streets, we work to keep our homeless neighbors safe.

November’s Recipient: Community Harvest of Central Vermont.

Community Harvest of Central Vermont (CHCV) is a volunteer-driven community service program which utilizes the generosity of local farmers and volunteers – many UCM members – to address food insecurity, increase local food system awareness, and reduce waste. CHCV brings our community together through gleaning to recover surplus nutritious food produced on 36 area farms which is donated to 25 recipient partners who feed more than 10,000 Central Vermonters experiencing food insecurity. In response to increased need this year, CHCV expects to donate 125,000 pounds of fresh food in 2020, nearly doubling our previous record of 65,000 pounds in 2019!

You can donate online here and select Community Pouch in the drop down menu.

You can also donate by check – please designate Community Pouch in the memo line.  Make checks payable to Unitarian Church of Montpelier.  Mailing address: 130 Main St., Montpelier, VT 05602.