The missional branch of UUMC works to fulfill God’s call on our lives to enter spaces of adversity and offer a helping hand. Wherever there is hunger, poverty, illness or other hardships, we strive to extend God’s grace through various acts of service and kindness.
Interfaith Hospitality Network
Contact: Kathy Barrett
Interfaith Hospitality Network at UUMC provides a temporary home to families as they take steps to restore themselves to housing. In cooperation with local churches and the Foundation for the Homeless (FFH), UUMC hosts families in our education building for one week four times a year. Guest families rotate weekly from church to church as they enjoy safe shelter, meals and hospitality provided by congregation hosts. Guests work with FFH staff members to develop resources for housing and other needs. Many guests hold jobs and have children enrolled in school. IHN helps fill the housing gap for families who are experiencing hard times. Volunteer opportunities include hosting on evenings, weekends and overnight shifts, providing meals and cleaning up on Sundays.
Fig Leaf Store
Contact: Judy Trejo or Jane Leifeste
Our Fig Leaf Store offers families the opportunity to shop for clothing and personal needs. While most items are donated to Fig Leaf, certain items such as underwear, socks and toiletries are purchased through the Fig Leaf budget. We welcome drop-offs of gently-used items during regular church hours. Fig Leaf welcomes volunteers to work in the store, sort donations or host clothing drives in support of this ministry.
Contact: Judy Trejo
UUMC’s Open Door Ministry began in 1991 as Saturday Outreach. It started as a Sunday School class project during Lent to serve sandwiches to homeless people in the University area. In response to the need in the community — as well as the transformation that occurred in the hearts of those serving — the program continued beyond Lent and a new ministry was born. Today, Open Door is a partnership between UUMC, a number of community and church organizations and more than a dozen homeless participant volunteers. On a typical Saturday morning, more than 200 brunch meals are served through Open Door. About 40 volunteers are needed each weekend to make this ministry possible.
Alternative Gift Market
Contact: Beth Kelley
Each year, UUMC holds an Alternative Gift Market where all are invited to shop for holiday gifts that support local and global non-profit groups. There are always beautiful items to purchase as well as opportunities to make gift donations to groups such as Heifer International, local agencies and others.
Contact: Jane Leifeste
Micah 6 is a coalition of 11 University-area faith communities working together to respond to the needs of the homeless and impoverished. Services offered through Micah 6 include access to food pantries; assistance with basic material needs such as clothing, medication and bus passes; crisis counseling, and fellowship meals. The Micah 6 program also includes specialty services for homeless youth. Learn more about Micah 6 Austin.
Nurturing our Children
Zavala Circle of Friends
Contact: Sandy Smith
UUMC plays an important support role to Zavala Elementary School. In the mid-1990s, UUMC and Zavala Elementary formed a partnership that has nurtured and supported improvements in the students’ performance and their attitudes about academics and success. The group has provided support for Zavala in a variety of ways: working directly with students, assisting teachers, improving the school and helping in the library, office and computer lab. Volunteers also assist during special school events such as Reading Rally Day. No matter what your interests are or how much time you have
available, Zavala can match you with a program or one-time event that
enhances student learning. Click here for more detailed information. Please click here to download a PDF for more information about how you can volunteer to help at Zavala.
Contact: Jane Leifeste
LoveWorks began as a colaboration between Big Brothers, Big Sisters and UUMC to create mentoring relationships for children in kindergarten through high school who have an incarcerated parent. Although our original mentees have “aged out” of the program, mentors stay in touch with the families and provide services as needed. LoveWorks sponsors the UUMC “Angel Tree” each Christmas and is looking for new ways to serve children and families impacted by incarceration. For more information about how you can help, click here to download a PDF.
Contact: Kathy Hiebert
UUMC’s Preemie Ministry supports the neo-natal departments of three local hospitals by providing knitted and crocheted layette items for their tiniest patients. The garments and blankets are tagged with a greeting from UUMC and blessed during a worship service in December. Because our primary focus is preemies, we need smaller items than typical newborn sizes. Blankets need to be about a quarter of the size of a regular baby blanket (15- to 22- inch squares, or 18-by-24-inch rectangles). We also need booties and hats (8- to 10-inch circumference and 4- to 5-inches high) as well as gowns or shrouds. We also appreciate items made of soft cloth, such as seersucker or cotton flannel. Soft pastel colors are also preferred, but please no yellow (preemies often suffer from jaundice). Knitters and crocheters of all skill levels are welcome to participate. Items are collected at the end of each year and delivered to the hospital chaplain offices.