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Archive: SJMT Food Justice 2012-2013

Social Justice Theme (2012 - 2013): Food Justice

Here are a couple of the past Food Justice projects and initiatives:


Workday/Adoption of an Urban Farm – We had an opportunity to work with with Urban Tree Connection to partner with a community garden. Their goal is to build Philadelphia’s communities one vacant lot at a time. We worked side by side with West Philadelphia residents to green their neighborhoods and strengthen their communities.

Monthly Partnering with Volunteer Groups - This was an opportunity to partner with the many organizations in Philadelphia that are addressing hunger and food insecurity. We explored working with groups such as Philabundance, the Food Trust and many others, organizing volunteer days and fundraising through the congregation.

Rebuilding Together Philadelphia

An opportunity to work with other First Church members making a real difference! Do you have home repair skills and a few hours to help low income neighbors in need?  If so, we need you.  For the 18th consecutive year, First UU will be participating in Rebuilding Together. Once a home is selected, a work list of tasks will be provided to help you to find where you and your skills might fit best. Work Saturdays are in late March and throughout April. More information will be published closer to the time.  To volunteer or for questions, contact Janet Scannell.
     Lead: Janet Scannell

First Unitarian Food Justice Book Group 
Did you hear about or attend the Ethical Dining forum held at Germantown UU on February 3rd?  Restaurant workers’ justice is a crucial element of our efforts to engage in ethical consumption. When we talk about food justice, it is not only about the food – it is also about the people who grow, prepare, and serve it.

The kick-off of the First Unitarian Food Justice Book Group was at an author event at the Philadelphia Free Library on Tuesday, February 19th at 7:00.  Saru Jayaraman spoke about her new book Behind the Kitchen Door: What Every Diner Should Know About the People Who Feed You.  The event details can be found here.

On Sunday, March 17th, Ranwa Hammamy moderated a conversation about this book at the inaugural Food Justice Book Group table at the Potluck to be held after the service. 

It's time to do your part in our "part"nership with Urban Tree Connection - We worked with Urban Tree Connection (UTC) to promote food justice, food security, and healthy eating in a neighborhood in West Philly.  UTC has allied itself with Neighborhood Foods to be able to offer an amazing CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program for the coming harvest season. You and First U can support their efforts by getting your very own CSA today! The Neighborhood Foods' CSA runs from May 24th through October 25th.  Sign up now through the Check out their pick-up locations all over the city

First U Food Stamp Challenge (January 7 - 13) - Newark Mayor Cory Booker has been in the news recently for completing the SNAP (or "Food Stamp") Challenge, eating for one week on the typical budget of an individual receiving benefits through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. On January 6, our student minister, Lee Paczulla, preached her own experience of the Food Stamp Challenge, and invited members of the congregation to take the challenge from January 7-13.

Holiday New Book Drive - On December 9th, the Social Justice Ministry Team kicked-off its 3rd annual Holiday Book Drive, which ran through January 13th.  All book donations went to the Andrew Jackson elementary school library and classrooms. Individuals selected an ornament (or several!) from the white tree; each ornament was labeled with a specific book title on the back. Then he/she purchased a new copy of that book, filled out a bookplate and placed it in the bin by the tree.

    Lead: Bijan Makarechi

Buy a Pie - Feed a Family - Order a pie by Nov. 16 at 215-496-2662 or Pick-up is Tuesday, 11/20 4-8 or Wednesday, 11/21 12-4PM at any of the 30 locations convenient to you. These are frozen - so you can keep them for the next dinner you are invited to - not just Thanksgiving. Your generous purchase helps MANNA deliver nourishing meals to thousands of people battling serious illnesses.

Scare Trade Chocolate - The Social Justice Scare Trade Task Force invited folks to buy Fair Trade mini-chocolate bars from Equal Exchange to hand out at Halloween. You could place a pre-order for dark or milk chocolate any time before October 7th. The chocolate was bagged and delivered on Sunday, Oct 21st and Sunday, Oct 28th. You could order 25 pieces for $5 and you’d get really good chocolate and better health for those who eat it. Most importantly, you would directly improve the health and financial well-being of the farmers who do the hard, tedious work of harvesting cocoa beans and making millions of pounds of chocolate. To place your order, visit this link (

Be a Positive Factor in the Equation for Success - Food Justice and Education/Literacy at Work! (August 12 - September 16)
First UU Congregants had the opportunity to help kick off the school year at the K-8 Andrew Jackson School by donating key items for success in school – Healthy Snacks and School Supplies. The bins were staged and ready to collect your Individually Wrapped Healthy Snacks and Composition Books, Two-Pocket Folders and #2 Pencils.   The office was on-board to collect Cash Contributions for bulk purchases.  Checks to First Unitarian Church with “Equation for Success SJ Project” on the memo line were also accepted.
What were suggestions for Healthy Snacks?   Whole grain granola bars with less than 15g of sugar, small bags of nuts, 100% fruit snacks like the ones at Trader Joes, 100% juice boxes are all good choices.
First UU made a real difference in ensuring a great start to the school year for the K-8 children of the Andrew Jackson School.  Questions?  Please see any member of the Equation for Success Social Justice Task Force – Ginny Beier, Debby Schultz, Diane Frey, Kathie Murphy and Jodi Pollock. 

40-40-42 Challenge - Congregants and Friends are invited to join the 40-40-42 challenge started at the Social Justice worship service on Earth Day (April 22) this year. Check out the 40-40-42 Challenge currently in progress at First U:


2011 – 2012

Social Justice Worship Service- On April 22, 2012, First Church had a Social Justice worship service. Education and Literacy volunteers were recognized and thanked, while the new theme, Food Justice, was launched.



June 1, 2013 - Become a Force for Food Justice! Restaurant Worker Justice Training -  Join UUPLAN, UUSC, and the Restaurant Opportunities Center (ROC) for this important workshop. Learn how you can become an effective part of the campaigns to increase the legal minimum wage and mandate the provision of paid sick days for hourly workers in the state. Unitarian Universalists stand on the side of love, and that means advocating for fair employment practices that honor the inherent worth and dignity of all workers. Contact Ranwa Hammamy or UUPLAN Team Leader Jamie Preston.

April 20 and 27, 2013 - Rebuilding Together. This year, we are working on 3 houses in partnership with Unitarian Society of Germantown. 

April 21, 2013 - Join the Food Justice Book Group for a discussion about their next selection Food for Thought:  The Stories Behind the Foods We Eat, by Ken Robbins. The book selection is a children’s book that will be of interest to readers of all ages!

April 21, 2013 - Spring Potluck. Along with your delicious lunch contribution, we will be accepting monetary donations in exchange for your participation to be given to Sunday Suppers - whose mission is to strengthen the health and well-being of families through the transformative power of family meals. Check them out at

April 20, 2013 -  Install a Mural with Urban Tree Connection - Join the Urban Farm Task Force on Saturday, April 20 at Neighborhood Foods' Farm in the Haddington neighborhood of West Philadelphia.  We'll work with our partners, Urban Tree Connection, to install a mural on the side of the farm's new cold storage building - with mural tiles designed by neighborhood kids!  We need about 20 volunteers to turn out for this project, so mark your calendars now!  More info to come, contact Lee Paczulla or Brent Groce with questions.

April 13, 2013 - Join FirstU's Team for the Walk+Run Against Hunger at The Philadelphia Museum of Art. This is a fantastic opportunity to help support the amazing food pantries, soup kitchens and hunger-relief agencies here in Greater Philadelphia. First Unitarian is walking and running to support Sunday Suppers. You can register to walk or run at Or you can make a donation to the First Unitarian Team at:

March 17, 2013 - Ranwa Hammamy moderated a conversation about this book at the inaugural Food Justice Book Group table at the Potluck held after the service.  Participants were a part of the group to share their opinions about the book or to learn more about this important food justice topic.

February 19, 2013 - Kick-off of the First Unitarian Food Justice Book Group - an author event at the Philadelphia Free Library.  Saru Jayaraman sp0ke about her new book Behind the Kitchen Door: What Every Diner Should Know About the People Who Feed You.

February 15, 2013 - The Beat of your Heart Dinner - Celebrated Valentine’s Day with a delicious candlelit dinner of fair and local food, wine bar, and a champagne dessert reception during intermission. Delicious appetizers were at 5:30 PM. We are proud to report that the fundraising dinner and concert raised just shy of $4,000 for the First Unitarian Church of Philadelphia this year! Your tickets, cocktails, and love all helped raise funds to support this church. Thank you!

January 21, 2013 - Urban Garden Project MLK Day of Service - Join the Urban Garden Partnership task force on the MLK Day of Service for the inaugural Garden Partnership event! We will be working with the Urban Tree Connection to build raised beds in the Haddington neighborhood in West Philly.

January 21, 2013 - MLK Day Barcoding Blitz at Andrew Jackson School - we will complete the barcoding and shelving of 1000+ books.

January 20, 2013 - Gourmet Hot Chocolate Bar - Back by popular demand! Bring your sweet tooth (and $2) and enjoy a scrumptious cup of hot chocolate with all the fabulous fixins! All proceeds will benefit the Urban Tree Partnership sponsored by the SJMT.

January 6, 2013 - Children's Religious Eduation kick-off - During classes, the Diggers (ages 4-6) learned about protecting our earth, the Farmers (ages 6-8) practiced speaking their minds, and the Stewards (ages 8-13) contemplated the power we each have to do good in our community.

December 16, 2012 - Gourmet Hot Chocolate Bar - Bring your holiday sweet tooth (and a little cash) and enjoy a scrumptious cup of hot chocolate with all the fabulous fixins! All proceeds will benefit the Urban Tree Partnership sponsored by the SJMT.

December 13, 2012 - The Retired Senior & Volunteer Program (RSVP), in conjunction with Greenfield Elementary Home and School Association, hosted an informational breakfast for people interested in volunteering by tutoring and mentoring at Greenfield.

November 22, 2012 - WinterShelter Thanksgiving Potluck

November 18, 2012 - Giving Thanks Potluck - Along with lunch contributions, we accepted food (or monetary) donations as a price for admission to be given to SHARE - Self-Help and Resource Exchange...check them out at  It was a wonderful turnout with lots of delicious dishes, celebrating with friends and gracious contributions to the SHARE program. We donated over 100 food items to SHARE along with $68 in monetary donations that will help even more Philadelphia residents to be thankful this holiday season.

November 3, 2012 - Tour of Urban Tree Connection's farm in West Philly: Please contact Brent Groce or Nicole Haines with any questions.

October 28, 2012 - Urban Farm Partnership presentation: Skip Weiner, the Executive Director of Urban Tree Connection, presented about the fantastic urban greening initiatives going on at UTC and to find out how we, as a congregation, can partner with them to bring them even greater success.

October 28, 2012 - Scare Trade: Chocolate Sunday worship service - in partnership with the CRE

September 9, 2012 - Healthy Bake Sale - all benefits going to the Equation for Success Healthy Snacks and School Supply Drive (netted $170)

June 3, 2012 - Social Justice Ministry Team - Food Justice Brainstorming session (Ideas)



April 29, 2012 - Sustainable Harvest International presentation

April 22, 2012 - Social Justice Worship Service - introducing the new theme: Food Justice

March 25, 2012 - Social Justice Theme Proposals Presentations (including: Food Justice proposal)


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