National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week is November 12-20, 2016, sponsored by the National Coalition for the Homeless. FUMC is spending all of November highlighting this pressing problem and working to raise awareness about the problem of hunger and homelessness.
- Did you know that every night, it is estimated that there are over 2,121 homeless individuals in Austin/Travis County on any given night?
- Or that more than 18% of Texas households (one in six) experienced food insecurity in the years 2011-2013?
- Or that the number of homeless students in Austin ISD has been rising with an estimate of 2,642 students without a permanent address for the 2014-2015 school year?
Emergency Assistance Fund
During the month of November our Mission Emphasis/Communion Rail Offering will go to replenish our Emergency Assistance Fund. This fund is able to provide assistance to individuals and families in crisis due to poverty, domestic violence, unemployment, and/or homelessness. We still have two months in this year to go, months in which the need for assistance is often the greatest. The Emergency Assistance Fund is completely dependent on donations from our congregation.
“One of the gentlemen seeking assistance came with numerous needs…rent assistance, prescriptions, utilities, food and a bus pass. Mr. K has stomach cancer and had just been diagnosed with lung cancer as well. The following week, he was scheduled to begin an intense chemotherapy treatment which would be ongoing for 2 months. With the generosity of our church, he was provided two months rental assistance and utilities (he lives in Section 8 housing), food, and a bus pass. In working with another church, his prescriptions were filled. Now, through this grace, Mr. K can focus on his health without the worries of bills.”
By Libby Sykora, Congregational Care Coordinator
Throughout the year, FUMC is blessed to provide emergency assistance support to both the homeless and those facing hard times. Below is a summary of how the fund has been utilized this year to assist the varying needs of those we serve.
Please prayerfully consider participating or financially supporting the ministry opportunities below to help FUMC better serve the homeless and hungry in Austin.
Caritas Food Drive
In support of Hunger and Homelessness Awareness, FUMC is hosting a food drive benefiting Caritas, a non-profit organization that helps prevent homelessness, poverty, and hunger in Central Texas. Caritas of Austin provides take-home groceries to their clients, this year providing enough groceries for 43,000 meals. When you are struggling to make ends meet and must choose between putting food on the table and paying the electric bill, weekly groceries from the Caritas Pantry bring great relief to families toward stability.
We are collecting some of their most needed items throughout November:
- Canned chicken
- Dried beans (northern and black)
- Canned pineapple
- Canned fruit cocktail
- Small containers of cooking oil
- Canned mixed vegetables
- Canned beets
- Canned garbanzo beans
- Soups (cream of tomato, cream of mushroom, beef stew, and cream of chicken)
Donations may be left in the collection bins located in the foyers of the Sanctuary, Chapel, and the Family Life Center.
Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Sunday on November 13
Pastor Cathy Stone will be preaching on this issue in both Sanctuary services.
“Feed My People” Breakfast on November 22
Each Tuesday and Thursday, the Great Hall in the Family Life Center is the site for a breakfast that feeds 250-300 hungry people. On the last Tuesday of the month, FUMC provides the food and volunteers to prepare and serve breakfast. Each Thursday at 6:30am, Pastor Cathy Stone leads a time of worship, study, and discussion for those at the breakfast. If you want your hearts to be touched and transformed, come be a part of this community and share in the concerns and prayers lifted in this service.
Manna Bag Sale on November 20
Manna Bags are a gift to a homeless or hungry person. They are filled with a nutritious meal, a new pair of socks, and a note asking for God’s blessing on the recipient. These bags will be sold for $5 at a table outside the Chapel and Sanctuary. When you buy a Manna Bag, you are not only helping a hungry person, you are also affirming our children in their effort to become part of the solution to hunger and homelessness.
Mobile Loaves & Fishes on November 20
Each day, teams prepare sandwiches in the kitchen off Wesley Hall and take them in the Mobile Loaves and Fishes truck to hungry people at various locations around the city. Each third Sunday we have a team open to first-timers of all ages to give this ministry a try. Volunteers can serve on the make-ready team 4-5 pm, the truck team 5-6:30 pm, or both! Please sign up on our website.
Cold Weather Shelter Program
First UMC is a Tuesday night host for a Cold Weather Shelter for Women. This program is managed by Front Steps at the ARCH (Austin Resource Center for the Homeless). We will have a training on Sunday, November 6, 10-10:45am, in Murchison Chapel. This training will include safety/logistics about this program, how to treat our guests, how to deescalate stressful situations and signup information. For additional information, contact Pastor Cathy Stone at email@example.com or 512-478-5684 (ext. 215).
City of Austin
Diaper Drive for the Salvation Army Shelter for Women and Children
Diapers Homelessness is not always what you think. 73% of those sheltered by The Salvation Army last year were women and children. They are seeing an increase in the number of very young children and babies with their families in emergency shelter. Your donation of diapers helps ensure that each child and each family has the resources and care they need while in shelter. Diaper sizes most needed are sizes 3 & 4, and pull-ups (any size). Diapers may be delivered to the Downtown Shelter at 501 E. 8th Street; Austin Shelter for Women and Children at 4523 Tannehill Lane; and The Salvation Army Austin Area Command at 10711 Burnet Road, Ste. 231 (in the BBVA Compass Bank Building).
Positive Sounds, Saturday
Saturday, November 12
5:00-10:00 p.m., Independence Brewing
Come join Project Transitions for an evening of artists and musicians sharing life stories celebrating PT and those living with HIV/AIDS. A $5 suggested donation at the door or an item from our wish list (www.projecttransitions.org/wish-list) is appreciated. For more information contact Blythe Plunkett at firstname.lastname@example.org or go to www.projecttransitions.org.
24th Annual House The Homeless Memorial Sunrise Service
Sunday, November 13
6:57 a.m., Auditorium Shores at Butler Park
House the Homeless offers the 24rd Homeless Memorial Sunrise Service as an opportunity for community members to honor the men, women, and children who died in Austin over the past year. First Baptist Church Pastor Griff Martin is the keynote speaker this year. The service begins at sunrise and takes place at Auditorium Shores (75 yards east of the Stevie Ray Vaughn statue and 75 yards west of the Fannie Davis Gazebo). A breakfast reception will follow at the Fannie Davis Gazebo. For more information, contact Blythe Plunkett at email@example.com or go to http://www.housethehomeless.org/.
Red White and Blues 512
Sunday, November 13
4:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m., Stubbs Waller Creek Ampitheater
Join us for House Our Heroes, a blues music festival presented by Red, White and Blues 512 to raise awareness and funds for Austin’s homeless Veterans. The men and women who have served our country and fought for our freedom should never find themselves homeless. Under the leadership of Mayor Adler and ECHO (Ending Community Homelessness Organization), and through the unified teamwork of the public, nonprofit and private sectors of our community who are dedicated to working together, Austin has been able to achieve great progress in helping our homeless Veterans find their way off of the streets and into a place they can call home. This collaboration of community partners has built the infrastructures and systems that can ensure any identified homeless Veterans in Austin will be placed in permanent housing quickly and efficiently, and then given the support services needed to allow our Veterans to live sustainable lives. Go to www.redwhiteandblues512.com for tickets and further details.
ECHO Fall Meeting: A Community Approach to Tackling Homelessness
Tuesday, November 15
7:30 a.m.–10:00 a.m., St. David’s Episcopal Church, Crail Hall
We invite you to participate in a special interactive community forum at the Ending Community Homelessness Coalition’s (ECHO) Fall meeting. Join elected officials and key community leaders to provide your input to how we can better address homelessness. Presenters and facilitators include representatives from Downtown Austin Alliance, ECHO, the City of Austin Innovation Office, and Upstream – a local social innovation consultancy. The event is free and open to the public. Please register for this event here.
7:30-8:00 a.m. Breakfast
8:00-10:00 a.m. Interactive forum
Thursday, November 17
5:30-8:00 p.m., The Mohawk, 912 Red River Street
HumanizeMe.Org returns for the 2016 National Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Week to bring you Youth Street Photography. Instead of interviews and photos by the partners of Humanize Me, we’ve joined forces with youth experiencing homelessness in a street-led photography project to shed a spotlight on this creative and resilient community. Join us for a night of art, music, and volunteer registration. RSVP Here.
**Point In Time Count Volunteer Registration
***A Way Home Austin Volunteer Registration
For more information, contact Casey Cork at firstname.lastname@example.org or go to www.facebook.com/HumanizeMeAustin.
Art From The Streets: 24th Annual Show & Sale
Saturday, November 19 and Sunday, November 20
11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Austin Convention Center
Art From The Streets is a free and open studio in Austin, TX that serves the homeless community. It was founded in 1991 to provide a safe and encouraging space for the positive spirit of artistic expression of those who need it most. For the past 23 years AFTS has been a place for creating amazing work while providing insight into the human beings who brought them to life. Original pieces are sold online and at their annual Show & Sale with proceeds going to the artists. Go to www.artfromthestreets.org to learn about the artists and get more details.