The Service Committee frequently coordinates efforts to reach our goals by working with and contributing to already existing social justice and outreach efforts.  Four areas of focus help to organize our work:

Neighbor to Neighbor

Friendship Home is a non-profit corporation founded to provide respite care services to individuals with developmental disabilities and their families located south of Boston.  There goal is to build and operate a respite care center located in Norwell, MA which will provide overnight accommodations for adults with developmental disabilities who are still living at home with family members – thus providing respite for the primary care givers.  First Parish members serve on the board, volunteer time and support Friendship Home financially. www.FriendshipHome.net

UU Partner Church Council The vision of the UU Partner Church Council is that North American congregations will partner with churches around the globe to forge and sustain relationships linked by a joint and mutual covenant.  They envision a commitment to international engagement as a moral and spiritual principle that is integral to Unitarian Universalist congregational life. First Parish is partnered with Kadacs, Romania, a small village in the Transylvania area and supports the ministry through visits, correspondence and financial contributions. www.uupcc.org

South Shore Habitat for Humanity is an ecumenical, nonprofit organization dedicated to building simple, decent homes in partnership with families in need.  It was founded in Norwell in 1986 as an affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International.   They have completed 42 homes in 18 towns, helping over 70 adults and 150 children build a place to call home. First Parish members coordinate work groups, serve on work parties, and support Habitat financially.  www.sshabitat.org

Wellspring is a private, non-profit, multi-service organization located on the South Shore in Hull, Massachusetts. It is the aim of all Wellspring programs to reach beyond providing emergency services to help people to become more independent and productive members of the community. They strive to act as a catalyst, bringing community resources together to best solve problems and to offer opportunities for community participation through volunteering. First Parish supports Wellspring financially. www.wellspringhull.org

Carolina Hill is a private, non-profit corporation operating as a transitional shelter for homeless women and children. Their services are designed to break the cycle of repeated homelessness experienced by many families and are unique in their ability to accommodate families whose members may have special needs, (i.e. developmentally disabled or handicapped). First Parish supports Carolina Hill financially.

Norwell Food Pantry, open for food distribution on Thursday from 2 to 4, at the Norwell Town Hall, receives donations of food, money, and volunteer time from First Parish. Members of First Parish helped to found the Norwell Food Pantry, serve as coordinators, provide donations monthly and support it financially.

David Jon Louison House, located in Brockton, MA, has as its mission to provide the basic needs of shelter and security to families while helping to achieve a sense of dignity and restored hope through education and prepartion for independent living. Members of First Parish volunteer at Louison House, purchase, collect, and provide Christmas for its residents, and support it financially.

New England Shelter for Homeless Veterans is recognized as one of

the most effective private veteran's transition programs in the country. Established in 1990 the shelter’s mission is to extend a helping hand to homeless men and women veterans who are addressing the challenges of addiction, trauma, severe and persistent mental illness, and/or unemployment. First Parish supports NESHV financially and sends contributions of clothing as well as hand-sewn scarves. www.neshv.org

Sustainable Development

North and South Rivers Watershed Association goals are to protect the watershed and promote responsible growth by working in partnerships to preserve open space, scenic vistas and sensitive natural resources; to educate and encourage stewardship of the watershed through public education, outreach and recreation programs; and to restore the water quality of the rivers by identifying and correcting adverse impacts. Members of First Parish helped to found the Watershed, work as volunteers, support the group as individual members, and provide financial donations. www.nsrwa.org

Heifer International works with communities to end hunger and poverty and to care for the earth.  Heifer's strategy is to “pass on the gift.” As people share their animals’ offspring with others – along with their knowledge, resources, and skills – an expanding network of hope, dignity, and self-reliance is created that reaches around the globe. First Parish recently coordinated a year long effort to raise money to fund an “Ark” for Heifer and many members contribute to its support. www.heifer.org

Equal Exchange is the oldest and largest for-profit Fair Trade company in the US offering organic, gourmet coffee, tea, sugar, cocoa, and chocolate.  Their mission is to build long-term trade partnerships that are economically just and environmentally sound, to foster mutually beneficial relationships between farmers and consumers. First Parish provides Fair Trade coffee and tea for our coffee hours and church functions as well as offering Fair Trade products for sale to parishioners on a monthly basis. www.equalexchange.com

Education

Partakers is a faith-based, non-profit organization committed to advancing restorative justice, rehabilitation, and the healing transformation of both prisoners and society.  Partakers' mission is to reduce prisoner recidivism through education and civic engagement. First Parish supports three teams of church members who visit and correspond with three incarcerated individuals. The church also supports Partakers through financial contributions and collecting books for prisoner use.
www.partakers.org

UU Urban Ministry is rooted in direct experience and service with those in Boston who are struggling for decent lives.  Their work is grounded in a conviction that all life is one; in love of neighbor through compassion and action; and in respect. They seek to build bridges of understanding and mutuality so that people in various economic circumstances can work together to effect change, creating a human community that is peaceful and just. First Parish is a supporting member of UU Urban Ministry and contributes financially as well as with member involvement. www.uuum.org

Seeds of Peace, founded in 1993, is dedicated to empowering young leaders from regions of conflict with the leadership skills required to advance reconciliation and coexistence. Over the last decade, Seeds of Peace has intensified its impact, dramatically increasing the number of participants, represented nations and programs. First Parish supports Seeds of Peace financially. www.seedsofpeace.org

TIC: Talking Information Center (TIC), founded in 1977 in Marshfield, MA, is a non-profit reading service that broadcasts newspapers, magazines, books, and special consumer information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to visually-impaired listeners. Over 23,000 listeners in Massachusetts rely on TIC so they can hear a variety of periodicals that are not typically accessible to them. First Parish supports them through donations and has several members of the church who volunteer to read at TIC.

Human Rights

Unitarian Universalist Service Committee advances human rights and social justice around the world, partnering with those who confront unjust power structures and mobilizing to challenge oppressive policies.  UUSC envisions a world free from oppression and injustice, where all can realize their full human rights. First Parish has many decades of involvement with UUSC and supports it through financial contributions, Guest at Your Table collections, holiday card sales, and special collections. More than fifty members of the congregation are direct members as well. www.uusc.org

Amnesty International has as its mission to undertake research and take action focused on preventing and ending grave abuses of the rights to physical and mental integrity, freedom of conscience and expression, and freedom from discrimination, within the context of its work to promote all human rights. First Parish supports Amnesty International with financial contributions as well as connecting members to the action alerts for human rights.  www.amnestyusa.org

MassEquality is a coalition of local and national organizations defending equal marriage rights for same-sex couples in Massachusetts. They are working to protect the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court's decision on marriage equality and to defeat any discriminatory amendment to the Massachusetts state constitution in the Legislature. First Parish supports MassEquality financially as well as alerting members to issues around marriage equality. Several members of the church are active as volunteers for MassEquality. www.massequality.org

Oxfam America is a non-profit organization that works to end global poverty through saving lives, strengthening communities, and campaigning for change. They are an affiliate of Oxfam International. First Parish supports Oxfam financially. www.oxfamamerica.org

Clinton Foundation has as its vision to strengthen the capacity of people in the United States and throughout the world to meet the challenges of global interdependence. Together with the generosity of citizens and volunteers, President Clinton and the Foundation are vigorously working to advance those principles that move us beyond differences to a common future of shared responsibility, shared benefits, and shared values. First Parish has a member who works with CHAI in Southeast Asia. First Parish has made financial contributions to the organization. www.clintonfoundation.org