Week of Compassion Gift

The special Week of Compassion offering was officially collected throughout the Disciples of Christ denomination on February 19 and 26. Our church participated and while we do not know how much was collected yet, we know that it was at a minimum $225.00! Our Ministry Council decided to give our February Mission Action donation to "Week of Compassion" due to the relief efforts desperately needed around the world.

As the relief, refugee, and development mission fund of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Week of Compassion works with partners to alleviate suffering throughout the world. They are in communication with continuing relief efforts in Ukraine and now in Turkey and Syria in the aftermath of the earthquake. You can find out more about their work at https://www.weekofcompassion.org

From the website: "Week of Compassion is more than a week. It is a ministry of the whole Church, reaching those in need "around the world, around the year.” Any time we respond to a need in the world, we bear witness to the unity of our table, faithfully sharing the gifts that we have as an expression of Christ's love. In working together with partners, we represent the Disciples of Christ commitment to unity, making our resources reach farther and growing our impact on a global scale."

If you want to make a donation, you can do so through the Week of Compassion website, through the FCC Vallejo https://vallejochristian.org/donate, or send a check made out to First Christian Church of Vallejo to the office with the memo line "Week of Compassion".

Thank you for your contributions!

Hope Center Update

After the Global Holiday Faire, we received a lovely thank you letter from Lynn Epp, the Amador Street Hope Center board chair, member of the Faire organizing committee, and friend of the church. She updated us on the work of the Hope Center in 2022 with a look ahead to an exciting new program coming soon.

“Greetings! The Hope Center is in full swing. The number of people we’ve served this year 2022, totals well over 15,000 — 15,546 to be exact. Your faithful support through the proceeds from the Global Holiday Faire has allowed us to do that. Thank you for this most recent check of $835!… For our first year back after COVID, the Faire was very successful - especially since it was a rainy day!

Our Assistant Director, Donisha Patterson, is doing so much to help the community with our usual fresh produce, meat, boxed and canned foods.

S.O.S. - Solano Options & Support now offers medical help by appointment on Tuesdays. It offers substance use treatment & recovery support services.

Hope Cafe will be opening in February - free soup and sandwiches at first, which may be consumed in the Fellowship Hall or ‘to go.’

Thank you again, for your support.”

It is quite impressive how much the Hope Center has accomplished and we should be proud that we are a part of that!      

Advent Collection

During Advent we collected socks and underwear to donate to the Mobile Shower ministry at Lighthouse Covenant Church. They have been bringing the shower unit to many locations & encampments in Vallejo over the last year for those who do not have access to showers and hygiene care. Lighthouse Covenant only manages the shower unit, not the hygiene donations. The donations will be given to Vallejo Together who will designate them for use for Mobile Basic Needs Community-Based Response (CBRs) that provide showers/hygiene kits at Transitions Village/Central Vallejo, Faith Food Fridays/Central Vallejo, Boys and Girls Empowerment Group/North Vallejo and Mt Calvary/Couch St. 

We have multiple baskets and boxes full of socks, underwear, and undershirts which will make a big impact on those who receive them! These items will be delivered in the new year.

A big thank you to everyone for your donations!!

Make A Commitment

Over the last 10 years, Common Ground has been building a diverse, powerful constituency. As a member organization, FCC Vallejo is part of this effort to develop the capacity of everyday people to become leaders in our communities. It is hard work, it takes time, and it takes money! But conversation by conversation, action by action, we are building the kind of constituency needed to ensure families have the resources they need to thrive. We cannot do it alone!

Here are our top 10 wins of the last 10 years!
        * Successfully pushed Solano County Supervisors to double the amount of funding allocated to rental assistance in the first months of Covid-19.
        * Co-authored one of the strongest eviction protection ordinances in California.
        * Successfully pushed Solano County Supervisors to approve our proposal to hire additional paralegals to help desperate tenants with eviction paperwork.
        * Researched and met with experts of Civilian Oversight for Police Departments, then wrote an Ordinance for Civilian Oversight of the Vallejo PD, which has been presented to the Vallejo City Council and the Chief of Police.
        * Worked with sister organizations to hold a statewide action with over 1000 leaders, to advocate for more aid for undocumented essential workers.
        * Organized a team of Spanish-Speaking leaders to ensure that this community's needs and stories are represented.
        * Continued building a “Napa Cluster” so we can build membership and gain power in Napa County.
        * Identified and repaired 10 of most dangerous intersections in Vallejo with additional signage and crosswalks.
        * Researched and wrote an ordinance to clean up vacant lots in the City of Vallejo, and worked with the council to pass it.
        * Kept 250 households in Vallejo safe from losing their homes. Common Ground worked with Vallejo City Council to freeze the rent hike, and broker a negotiation with the landlord.

Common Ground has a campaign goal is $20,000. Please consider making a contribution. Your generosity will make a difference in your community by allowing us to grow. To make an investment in this work go to http://www.commongroundiaf.org/donate If you want more info, please let me know!

A Peek At The Garden

From a nursery rhyme: Mary Mary quite contrary, how does your garden grow? With silver bells and…well, in FCCV’s case – beets, carrots, peppers, collard greens, cauliflower, Blue Hubbard squash, green beans, celery, eggplant, asparagus (in process as is rhubarb), potatoes and cucumbers galore, onions, squash, pomegranates and….well, lots of choices! And where does it go? To local food pantries!

Some crops worked; some did not. Several of the beds were dedicated to potatoes and we still have remnants of that crop, well, cropping up! Two of the beds were reconfigured into what we call “grid gardening.” Watering is more evenly and easily distributed and that’s a good thing. We experimented with companion planting and learned what didn’t work so well and how we’ll do that better next time. Tall growers like broccoli and cauliflower took the sun away from plants that needed more like carrots and beets, but we figured it out. And, in the blistering, relentless heat we had, the tall growers actually became shade “treelets” and protected plants below – kind of like live umbrellas!

Our garden is an adventure in progress – It will be dormant (“lay fallow”) for a few months to rest and be replenished (us too!), which will give us time to do some serious maintenance and make a plan for winter and spring planting. Come be a part of it!                 

Minsitry Report: Faith Food Fridays

A Blog Post from FCCV member Suzanne Awalt on her recent volunteer work with Faith Food Fridays, which she connected with through FCCV's partnership with the Vallejo Together Interfaith Coalition on Homelessness.

It’s Thursday morning at Faith Food Fridays (FFF). I have checked in with Mary Ann Buggs and signed a consent form for my volunteer gig as a member of Vallejo Together Interfaith Coalition on Homelessness. Before me is a sea of produce boxes stacked on tables in an off-set pattern. Rosa is the volunteer who strategically arranges the pattern so each box can be accessed. I learn that today we have 186 food boxes that, once filled by today’s volunteers, will be distributed Friday morning, no questions asked, to FFF clients who regularly come to the Solano Avenue facility. The physical space is tight, but the mood is light and our leader, Benjamin Buggs, sets a tone of joy and compassion in a ministry that he has shepherded and grown over 11 years. Today I am directed to place one bag of dried pinto beans in each box. Ann, a seasoned volunteer, suggests I use a shopping cart to carry the boxes and save a few steps. The task of box-filling is scheduled for 9a-2p each Thursday. My shift is 10a-12p. At any one time there are 4-7 volunteers. Benjamin tells me that volunteers come from varied walks of life—persons working off community service; high school students, church groups……so the mood can be altered by the mood and intention of the volunteer. Today the mood is very light and purposeful. Everyone is so helpful to me, the novice. But I quickly learn that this is only Carrie’s second time volunteering and Desiree started only a couple of weeks ago. We develop a rhythm. Periodically, Benjamin cheerily sings out, “Rule number one, don’t block the walk-way!!” Oops, that’s me! Have to take my cart and move on.

Into the boxes go rice, beans, boxed milk, canned meat, baked goods, potatoes, apples, and so on. There are pallets and crates of boxed and bagged food stuffs all around us. There is also a large walk-in cold storage locker. Benjamin has cultivated a relationship with Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano which links FFF to grocery stores and other sources of bulk foods.  On Tuesdays and Wednesdays, trucks fan out for grocery store pick-ups and Food Bank donations around town. Boxes are distributed on Fridays and Sundays. This same well-choreographed “dance” occurs 7 days a week year-round. There is a surplus of boxed milk this week, so Benjamin directs us to place a second one in each food box. I stay until after noon. Rev Dionne Carter from Vallejo Together has come to volunteer. So nice to meet her outside the Zoom screen. Benjamin has prepared lunch. His collard greens with garlic and pork belly are delicious. Each of us receives a FFF t-shirt. This is satisfying work. One thing I realize I forgot to do is to sign-out. Forgiveness is in ample supply here at FFF, so I know I will meet the same warm welcome next time. I definitely will return on future Thursdays. Need I say that volunteers are always welcome at Faith Food Fridays? They are. Talk to me if you want to know more.
P.S. Did you know that FCCV donates some of our garden produce to FFF? Glenda Goode makes the deliveries.