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Social Justice and Outreach

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     We begin our year of outreach to the community with our annual Martin Luther King, Jr. week of service at the Holy Grill from January 16 to 19.  The Holy Grill is a noontime meal provided to residents of the low-income area of Zion city in North Baton Rouge by the Interfaith Federation of Greater Baton. Volunteers from our church have served at the Holy Grill since its inception in 1987 as a primary program of the Federation, and enjoy working together and interacting with on-site volunteers and diners.  Five servers are needed each day, with service from 11:45 to approximately 12:30.   Sign up at the table by the window in the Coffee Room to join a team as we continue this long-standing tradition of service to the Holy Grill.

     Kudos to Nancy Kunen and Tam Le, who served on behalf of the Social Justice Team as coordinators for donations to the Annual Kids Cafe Christmas Party, held on December 15th at Cadillac Park. They were joined at the site for set-up and games by MiJa Thompson, Jane Webb, Betty Powers, and Rick Webb, who served as the cheerful Santa Claus. Thanks to these volunteers for representing our church and to the UCBR members who donated toys, gifts, and made monetary contributions. Kids Cafe is an adjunct of the Holy Grill, which provides year-round enrichment activities for children and youth. Interfaith Federation Director, the Reverend Robin McCullough-Bade, and Holy Grill Director Tonia Causey extend their deep appreciation for the ongoing generous support of our church for this annual event. I join them in thanks on behalf of the Board of Directors of the Federation, which I currently serve as president. See the Social Justice column for additional details and photos.

     See the bulletin board in the Coffee Room for "January Thaw" events sponsored and supported by the Interfaith Federation of Greater Baton Rouge.  Events and venues will be highlighted in weekly e-announcements.

~Becky Cureau, Director of Outreach


    The annual gift drive and Christmas party for Kids Cafe/Holy Grill was a huge success, mainly due to the hard work and excellent planning of our committee chairs, Tam Le and Nancy Kunen.  Not only did our kids get their requested gifts, but we ended up with extra gifts which were distributed as needed and generous donations toward the party planned by Tam and Nancy.  It went off beautifully with the help of the UU team:  Tam, Nancy, David Dupre, Tam's husband, Estefania Nava, Mija Thompson, Betty Powers, Becky Cureau, Interfaith Federation President, Jane and Rick Webb.  There was a good showing from Trinity Episcopal and Federation board members.  The party atmosphere was excellent with workers, board members, parents and kids all mixing and mingling over the wonderful food and the many games.  Santa made an astounding appearance to the delight of all the kids and Estafania, Mija, and Jane led the crowd in singing Christmas carols. 

    The EBRLA UCBR Days for Girls Team will meet every Friday, room 4, 6:30pm to work on making sustainable feminine hygiene kits.  Interest in being part of this Social Justice effort received a strong, multi-generational response from our congregants.  In an effort to encourage community building during our meeting time, a simple supper will be provided for participants.  Our team will continue to work/train with the Ingelside United Methodist Church each Tuesday from 2:00-5:00 at 4264 Capital Heights Ave.  An information table will be set up before and after Sunday services, January 7. 

     Please stop by and chat with us if you are interested in gathering information, donating sewing machines, fabrics or supplies, or in joining the UCBR DfG Team. Questions? Marcia Shannon at

    Together Baton Rouge continues their fundraising efforts with the development of a "Friends of TBR Fundraising Team."  The focus of the team is to solicit individual donor contributions and develop new strategies to implement in the coming year.  If you have donated in the past, you may receive a call from one of our team members asking for your continued support.  If you have any questions, please contact Mija Thompson, 278-9278.  If you wish to make a contribution to TBR, please go to and make your tax deductible donation for the support of our ongoing efforts to make this a better world.

    TBR's Delegate's Assembly during Thanksgiving week was understandably lower in attendance but still deemed a success with good energy.   Also, the issues of Police Reform and the Mayor's committee to develop an ITEP matrix both received hard work and plenty of attention and effort from TBR members in November and December. 

     On December 20, David Lindenfeld received a Leadership award from Together Baton Rouge for his work on the Flood Matters Project EBRP. Congratulations, David, and thanks for your hard work.

     A three day Leadership Training for Together Baton Rouge is set for January 18 - 20 at the Wesley Center 2350 Methodist Parkway, Woodworth, LA 71485.  We would like to send at least 3 people from UCBR. It is well worth the trip. For more infromation contact Bobby Thompson, or 225-939-1564.

    Jane Webb attended one of the planning meetings for the Walls Project MLK Festival of Service January 12 -15, 2018.  The Social Justice Team strongly encourages UCBR involvement in this worthwhile project.  You can go to the Walls Project MLK Festival of Service Facebook page or the listing online to look at pictures, maps and plans for the weekend.  It is obvious that a large volunteer force is needed, so register online.  Be sure to list yourself as part of the UCBR team.  If you don't feel up to the task, consider giving a donation online to help make this year another huge success.

    The next meeting for the Social Justice Team will be Sunday, January 7, 2018 from 12:45 - 1:45.  Please come prepared to suggest worthy causes for the rest of 2018's Shared Offerings. 

    Our shared offering for January 2018 is IRIS, a center for victims of domestic violence.  The mission is to empower survivors, prevent relationship violence, and promote justice for victims of domestic and dating violence, their children, and our communities.  This work is dear to the concerns of our church community and happily heads up our yet unfinished selections for 2018.

~Jane Webb, Co-Chair with Bobby Thompson, Director of Social Justice