News of increasing poverty and homelessness has dominated much of our recent media. According to the LA Times, homelessness "jumped 12% in the last two years in both the city and county of Los Angeles. The number of tents, makeshift encampments and vehicles occupied by homeless people soared 85%, to 9,535, according to biennial figures from the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority. Countywide, more than 44,000 homeless people were tallied in January, up from more than 39,000 in 2013... Experts blame soaring rents, low wages and stubbornly high unemployment." As we heard last Sunday, poverty and homelessness are not about inadequate resources, but about distribution and, ultimately, about power.
During his recent, historic visit to the United States, Pope Francis declined lunch with the power brokers in Congress and instead, opted to share lunch with the homeless. According to Msgr. John J. Enzler, the chief executive of Catholic Charities in Washington, “The pope is saying with this visit, you need to get involved with the poor… You can’t just go to church and say, I’ve done my duty. He says, ‘Go to the edges, go to the peripheries,’ He’s saying to all people, ‘Get out in the streets, get dirty, and be a church on the street.’ ” That is a tradition and philosophy embraced by Unitarian Universalists the world over. PUC is working to be just such a “church in the street."
Three Cheers for the Peanut Gallery!
Hip, Hip, Hooray! In September, PUC collected more than 140 pounds of peanut butter to help feed the clients of Harbor Interfaith Services in San Pedro and to highlight our work with HIS. PUC has long partnered with Harbor Interfaith, which, in 2014, assisted over 31,000 homeless and working poor people in the San Pedro area by providing the comprehensive services they need to lift themselves out of poverty and onto the road of self-sufficiency. We are always collecting nonperishable food and toiletries — Look for our brightly painted box in the courtyard!
Service is a Warm Blanket
Last Sunday, Kim Gosney shared with us the symbolic importance of the blanket and quilt in many societies. Today, a warm blanket can make a world of difference to one person on a cold night. PUC will be collecting new and clean, gently used blankets throughout the month of October for distribution to the homeless of the San Pedro area.
More to Come
PUC’s Season of Service will continue to highlight volunteer opportunities throughout the remainder of the year. Join the Social Justice Committee when we meet at PUC on Wednesday, October 7th from 6:30 to 8 pm to fulfill our Season of Service and to begin to plan for future social justice actions.