Diaper Collection

At our Region's annual Women's Retreat (Sept. 22-24 at the Mission Springs Conference Center in Scotts Valley, CA), those gathered for the retreat are collecting diapers, baby wipes and diaper rash cream and ointment for mothers in need.  Diapers are not covered by the food stamp programs that low income people receive.  This becomes a barrier when they are looking for work, because you have to have diapers to put kids in daycare.  If you don't have enough diapers, you can't put your child in daycare, then you can't go out to interview for a job.  It is part of a cycle that keeps people down.  Diapers are a daily necessity that families with little ones can't live without.  So, this is a very worthy Mission Action effort for the Retreat.  We at First Christian Church, Vallejo will be actively participating in this program as we will be collecting the items donated by our members from August through mid-September to send with one of our members who is attending the retreat.

New Year Giving

In the wake of the election and the fears that many minorities are feeling with the rise of hate crimes in our country since then, it is important to not forget that there are ways for us to help potentially disenfranchised members of our community, as well as the world as a whole by supporting certain causes.  There are several organizations that need donations to continue to do this good work.

Going into the New Year, we will look to support these types of organizations that will need help now more than ever with the new administration.  As part of our Mission Action effort, our church makes a financial donation to a different organization each month.  We are also encouraging our members to make personal donations to these causes as a response against the hate that is growing in many places.  The non-profits that we are considering making monthly gifts to in 2017 include the Anti Defamation League (www.adl.org), Planned Parenthood (www.plannedparenthood.org), the Center for Reproductive Rights (www.reproductiverights.org), the Natural Resources Defense Council (www.nrdc.org), the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund (www.naacpldf.org), the Trevor Project for LGBT Youth (www.thetrevorproject.org), and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (www.maldef.org).

Mid Year Mission Action Update

As part of First Christian Church's Outreach efforts, we designate a different non-profit organization each month to receive a financial contribution.  We also encourage our members to learn more about these different organizations in the hope that some of them will choose to get involved and make their own contributions of either time or money to help the work that these groups do.  So far in 2016, the monthly recipients of these donations have been Meals on Wheels, Habitat for Humanity, the Larkin Street Youth Service, CROP (the hunger relief program of Church World Service), the Christian Help Center, and Week of Compassion (the disaster relief organization of our denomination).  We are already looking forward to a July donation for Mercy Corps, and are considering various options for August.  This is all in addition to our monthly giving to the Disciples Mission Fund as well as weekly donations of canned food and home grown produce from our Johnson Memorial Garden to various food pantries in our area.  In fact, we recently harvested a large amount of potatoes and peas to donate with squash and other produce being planted to harvest this Fall.

In April, we participated in the annual Vallejo CROP Hunger Walk and helped to raise over $7,500 with 75% of the money going to CROP and the other 25% being split among four worthy local organizations.  One of those local organizations is the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano County which is in great need of volunteers, so we are now starting to get the word out to the congregation to see if some will be able to help out in this great work.  We will also be encouraging our members to participate as we always do in the annual American Cancer Society Relay for Life in early August.  And plans are already in the work for our biggest Outreach effort of the year, the Global Holiday Faire that takes place on the first Saturday of December. 

Collection for the Homeless

It is that time of the year!  Starting December 13th (and going through January 3rd), our church will be taking donations for the homeless.  We will be focusing on some of their main needs: new underwear and socks, plus warm (gently used) blankets and coats.  All of these will go to The Sparrow Project, a local agency that will distribute them to those in need in Vallejo.  We really need your support and the recipients will be much more comfortable over the winter to have what you give.

Mission Action Recap

Helen Mezzera and Caroline Gaskins have run the Mission Action program of the church for the past 12 months (from July 2014-June 2015).  One of the duties of Mission Action is to donate $100 a month to charities around the globe.  The most recent charity our money went to is Christian Church Homes, Resident Care Fund.  Christian Church Homes is in the business of creating, building, and providing affordable senior housing.  They allow seniors to “age in place.”
   
Looking back over the past year, this May’s offering of $100 went to a group of wonderful people who feed the homeless every Friday by the library in downtown Vallejo.  In January, $100 was sent to support the fund established by the Greek Orthodox Church for a young boy who was was critically injured in an auto accident.  In December, our money went to the Solano AIDS Coalition to help those who are battling this incurable disease.  The gift went to the Contra Costa/Solano County Food Bank in November, 2014.  188,000 individuals were served in 2014 and 20 million pounds of food was distributed which was enough to make 16 million meals.  In October we supported The Sparrow Project which is a ministry of First Baptist Church which feeds the hungry, continuing this amazing effort despite the great damage to their building in last August's earthquake.  In August, in addition to encouraging our members to participate in the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life, we donated our $100 gift to that worthy effort.  Last July, the gift went to The Solano County Friends of Animals.
   
In addition, over the past year, we have supported Week of Compassion, Reconciliation Ministries, and Church World Service (though the CROP Hunger Walk and Blanket Sunday) at different times and in different ways.   In each case, $100 Mission Action gifts were added to the money donated by members and friends of our congregation to these causes, so that we could increase the amount given to those outstanding organizations.

Besides these gifts, we continue to support the four special Disciples of Christ offerings we have which are Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter and Pentecost.

Of course, this is in addition to our on going Mission efforts including collecting non-perishable food items every week in church to donate to the Amador St. Hope Center, and our garden, the produce of which also gets donated to either the Hope Center or the Sparrow Project, plus our biggest annual Mission Action effort, the Global Holiday Faire which last year raised over $15,000 for 18 non-profit organizations.  It has been quite the year in terms of reaching out to those in need, and we strive for an even better year going forward.

And a big Thank You! to Helen and Caroline for their leadership for the past 12 months and to Caroline who will continue in this leadership role for the next year!

Recent Mission Efforts

Wow!  Thanks to the generosity of our congregation, a total of $436 was collected during February for "Week of Compassion," with that money being sent to the national office to support The Disciples of Christ's efforts along our borders to assist refugee children trying to find families in the United States.  Our congregation really makes a difference!

Also, Blanket Sunday was a huge success!  Our goal was to raise enough money for 25 blankets.  We surpassed that.  Including the $100 for our monthly Mission Action gift, we are sending in donations to cover 43 blankets!  We don't know who will receive our blankets, or where in the world they will be sent, but we do know that they will go to those who are in need of them.  The timing of this Outreach effort turned out to be very fortuitous in light of the recent earthquake in Nepal.  Church World Service's disaster relief efforts (including Blanket Sunday) go to help people in need all around the world when a tragedy like this earthquake strikes.

Church World Service also works through CROP to relieve hunger and poverty in the world.  On April 25th, several of our members participated in the annual Vallejo CROP Hunger Walk (which we also sponsor and help organize) to raise money for CROP as well as four local agencies working to end hunger in our own community.  While the final amount raised has not yet been calculated (more donations continue to come in!), we know that the Hunger Walks over the past several years have raised over $46,000 for CROP and after this year's walk, we are confident that number will be over $50,000!