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Service project making snack packs at the Central Unitarian Church of Paramus, NJ.

Members of the Central Unitarian Church in Paramus NJ making snack packs for a local food bank.

Multigenerational Social Justice and Service Projects
Social Justice and Service
Faith Development, Multigenerational Faith Development

Making 1,000 Snack Packs

Members of the Central Unitarian Church (CUC) in Paramus, NJ assembled 1,000 weekend snack packs as part of their ongoing support of the Center for Food Action’s (CFA) work to end local hunger. Over 60 CUC adults and kids stayed after their Sunday service to prepare the snack packs for distribution to local kids who are at risk of hunger during the summer months. 

CUC has been a longtime and significant supporter of CFA and recently David M. Horst, Minister and Robin Slaw, Director of Lifespan Faith Development, reached out to discuss additional ways to help CFA given the alarming rise in local hunger. 

Helping prepare weekend snack packs was the perfect fit for CUC. “We felt an immediate connection with the program because it focuses on childhood hunger and provides an opportunity for CUC kids and adults to work together,” said Ms. Slaw.

The event was made possible by the funds raised by the CUC Sunday School students who prepared and sold lunches after services. Additional donations were also made by members of the congregation. The CUC Social Action Committee plans to continue supporting CFA’s emergency food and weekend snack pack programs. In addition, a subcommittee of the social action committee is working on a film series starting with “A Place at the Table”.

“Our goal is to continue working with CFA to help local families who are struggling to put food on their tables and keep a roof over their heads,” said Ms. Slaw.

30 Days of Love for Families

Kathy Smith, Director of Religious Education at the Community Unitarian Universalist (UU) Church of Plano (TX), created the Thirty Days of Love Activity Calendar for Families for Standing on the Side of Love’s “30 Days of Love” campaign in 2014. Read more in the Call and Response blog post "30 Powerful, Family-Friendly Ways to Love"

Multigenerational Social Justice Sundays

Miriam Epskamp, religious educator at the UU Community Church Portage, MI reports:

We hold regular hands on, multigenerational, Social Justice Sundays at our church. We keep parts of a regular worship service - chalice lighting, hymns, a story for all ages—and set aside about between a half an hour and 40 minutes to work on a project together. 

Our worship space is flexible enough that we cans set up tables and chairs instead of pews to make it possible to work in the sanctuary without moving to another space.

Some of the things we have done include:  

  • making no-sew blankets for the local community center
  • making valentine cards for nursing home residents
  • decorating ceramic coffee cups for the local soup kitchen
  • packing care boxes for and writing letters and cards of support to soldiers in Afghanistan
  • creating hygiene bags for a local shelter
  • writing postcards to local elected officials in support of a local interfaith initiative
  • making signs to remind people to vote

This year we are working with a local GLBTQ group and a local environmental group to come up with a project we can do to support them. 

Things I have learned: It is effective to split your large group into small groups (we use tables that sit 8-10) to get the work done. Assigning a table leader who understands the how the project needs to be done keeps things running smoothly. Having the table leader also lead a discussion related to the social justice topic at hand makes the process more meaningful and keeps everyone involved. We provide table leaders with a list of questions to guide the discussion. It is also a good idea to have your activity well prepped ahead of time, so people can easily sit down and complete the project in a short amount of time.

Is your congregation using multigenerational ministry? How has it made a difference in your setting? How have congregants, families, or staff groups been changed through multigenerational ministry? Share your story by emailing multigen [at] uua [dot] org.

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For more information contact multigen@uua.org.