by Nathan Oney, Pastoral Associate
Many believe homelessness to be the number one issue facing the community of Santa Monica. As followers of Christ, we believe that a faithful response to this issue includes affirming the sacred worth of and welcoming all persons, recognizing God’s identification with and special care for the marginalized, and acting on the biblical responsibility of the church to care for the poor.
In these efforts, we support and provide information about the many wonderful resources, like The People Concern (OPCC), in our city, and do our best to help people experiencing homelessness to access these resources.
There are also many opportunities for you to get involved in helping!
• Community Meal with Family Place at Upward Bound House – Upward Bound House provides homeless families with housing and supportive services to suit their specific needs. They empower parents and their children to obtain housing stability, build healthy relationships, and enjoy emotional and financial well-being. Once a month we host a potluck to help feed about 30-40 adults & children, building meaningful relationships through conversation, crafts/games with the kids, and a shared meal.
• Habitat for Humanity – Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles builds and renovates homes in partnership with God and people everywhere with a goal of eliminating substandard housing by making decent, affordable housing a matter of conscience and action in our communities. First UMC is one of nine churches to join in a coalition to fund and build a home in Culver City. Construction on this site has recently been completed!
• Westside Food Bank – Westside Food Bank’s mission is to distribute as much food as possible to local agencies with food assistance programs and to reduce food waste on the Westside of Los Angeles County. Food is collected at First UMC every Sunday to benefit the Westside Food Bank. Food bins can be found outside the Sanctuary and in the Preschool.
Other opportunities throughout the year – There are also a number of other opportunities to get involved throughout the year, including Faith in Action projects through children’s Sunday School and the annual Christmas Angel Tree. We are always open to new ideas about how to best be in ministry to people experiencing homelessness.
If you would like to receive more information about homelessness in Santa Monica and First UMC’s response, or if you are ready to get involved, please contact the church office.