Making the world a better place is hard work, and it’s more productive and rewarding when done in community. Bloomington is fortunate to have all kinds of community agencies working together to provide direct assistance and fight systemic injustice efficiently and effectively. We are honored to work closely with many groups, including those highlighted below.
For more information about serving the community with us, contact the First United Church Office.
Our congregation has been involved with Monroe County United Ministries (MCUM) from its founding in 1939. MCUM “provides affordable, high-quality childcare for children ages 0-6 and support for families and individuals facing a financial crisis,” working to create “lasting solutions to economic, educational and social injustice in our community through quality services, collaboration and innovation.” In addition to giving generously from our annual operating budget to MCUM, we gather food and household supplies each month for MCUM’s pantry. We also provide many of the volunteers who work at Opportunity House, a thrift store that raises funding for MCUM’s preschools. And you’ll always find many of our members at the MCUM Spring Into Action luncheon each spring.
How you can help First United Church help MCUM:
- Bring food or household supplies to our No-Contact Food Drive, held every other month. Contact the church office for the next scheduled food drive.
- Donate your gently used items to Opportunity House.
- Get informed – sign up for the monthly MCUM electronic newsletter.
- Volunteer at the Each One Feed One food drive in August.
My Sister’s Closet’s founder and Executive Director, Sandy Keller, is an active member of First United. First United loves and supports the work of My Sister’s Closet, that is making a lasting difference in the lives of women and children by helping courageous women move out of poverty. Since 1998, this local organization has helped over 2,500 women with free tools and training to become self-sufficient through education, interviews, jobs, and life support. These essential community services are made possible with funds generated by the operation of a fashionable Resale Boutique and an eBay store. First United includes My Sister’s Closet through its annual operating budget, and supports their efforts through special offerings and supplies drives. Want to get involved?
- Shop at My Sister’s Closet, either online or at the boutique. Anyone can shop, and funds generated go towards helping women in need.
- Why not consider working or volunteering at My Sister’s Closet?
- Join First United for a supplies drive, collecting items to support women on their way to successful interviews and jobs. Click here for a list of frequently needed items. Drop supplies off at the church office or at My Sister’s Closet.
Farm to Family works to make healthful, locally-produced food more available to low-income households and to support our local farmers. At the close of the Bloomington Farmers’ Market each Saturday in winter and as needed in summer, they purchase produce and dairy that farmers wish to sell at half price, and donate this food to local pantries and shelters. They rely on a small number of dedicated volunteers, who sometimes need a break or whose vehicles sometimes get overwhelmed.
Volunteers with vehicles and in good physical shape needed to be on-call on in case additional assistance is needed to move food to local pantries. Volunteers can specify which Saturdays they would like to be on call.
A great volunteer opportunity for individuals, small groups or families (especially those with older children who can help carry food). Some items are heavy or bulky, but others are easier to carry, and there is plenty. A vehicle is necessary; a large pick-up truck, van, or roomy car is helpful. COVID social distancing easily observed. Most of the work is outdoors.
To get involved, let our Board of Outreach chairperson know.
Feeding people – Jesus thought it was important, and so do we. Community Kitchen’s mission is “to work, alone and in collaboration with others, to eliminate hunger in Monroe County and surrounding areas through direct service, education, and advocacy…. Community Kitchen provides free nutritious meals, nutrition education, referrals to other agencies, and a clean, comfortable social environment for patrons, staff, and volunteers.” Our congregation encourages volunteers to prepare and serve food at Community Kitchen. We were honored to provide a significant financial gift to Community Kitchen’s 2011 capital campaign to renovate their current home.
First United Church shares Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard (MHC)’s vision to create a community where “everyone has equal access to nutritious food, waste is minimized, and all members are healthy, self-sufficient, and empowered to reach their full potential.” Our volunteers work in the MHC community gardens and food pantry and at special events. MHC’s mission is “to provide healthful, wholesome food to people in need, as well as nutrition and gardening education. We strive to provide services in ways that enhance the dignity, respect, and self-care of everyone involved.”