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Veronica Hosking

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Guest at your table
By Veronica Hosking   
Not "rated" by the Author.
Last edited: Monday, November 28, 2005
Posted: Monday, November 28, 2005

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I'd rather chose Humanitarian aid for the category. I hate picking categories.

The Unitarian Universalist Service Committee’s program, Guest at Your Table, began in 1975 and is celebrating its 30th year. Each year, in November, members of UU churches receive small boxes (piggy banks) to place on their tables. November is a month to be thankful for all we have; it is also a good time to remember there are those less fortunate than us. Each fall Unitarian Universalists use the Guest at Your Table boxes to remind us how far a little spare change can reach.

“Through this special tradition, Unitarian Universalist communities celebrate the worth and dignity of all people and learn how to put these values into action. The Guest at Your Table experience of families learning together has built lasting connections to UU values for generations of UU youth.

The program made its UUSC debut following then Institutional Advancement Director Warren Salinger's trip to the Netherlands. While there, he was inspired by a similar organization's program, entitled "Gast aan Tafel," to educate its supporters about its work and to raise vital funds. That program used colorful boxes that the whole family could enjoy. Warren immediately began work with UUSC's staff in Massachusetts to adapt the idea for use in Unitarian Universalist homes nationwide — and even worldwide! Each year since 1975, involvement in Guest at Your Table has grown tremendously, strengthening UUs' connections to our shared principles and helping to challenge injustice throughout the world.”

The Sunday before Thanksgiving, November 20th this year, many UU churches hand out the Guest at Your Table boxes to church members. As we give thanks for all our blessings, the box reminds us to give to those less fortunate. The UUSC takes the money raised by Guest at Your Table and donates it to organizations such as UNICEF (United Nations Children's Fund). UNICEF uses the money to teach children how to read. They ensure the sick get proper medication. They build hospitals, schools and daycare centers. They train doctors and nurses to provide proper health care and nutritional needs. And they work to clean the water and sanitation.

Last year was the first year my girls participated in the program. My oldest daughter was very conscious of putting her spare change in the box, knowing that her money was going to help some of the children whose faces were printed around the box. The Sunday before our boxes were handed out last year, Go-Go and her sister decorated cookies in RE (religious education). The teachers brought extra cookies, because sometimes there are 8 - 10 children in the class. That particular Sunday, however, Go-Go and her sister were the only two there.

Go-Go asked, “What are we going to do with the extra cookies?”

Her RE teacher replied, “We can share them with the adults after the church service.”

Go-Go liked this idea but she had another one. “Why don’t we share them with children who don’t have a home or food?”

The RE teacher that Sunday happened to be the head of our church’s service committee. The next Sunday, kick off for Guest at Your Table, she used Go-Go’s generosity as inspiration for everyone to give.

In lighting the chalice she spoke, "Wow! This six-year-old already lives the concept of Guest at Your Table... Her generous child's heart already knows that there are others around us and in the world that don't have enough of life's bounty. And her immediate impulse was to share hers... .

"Our blessings abound in this congregation, not the least of which are the gifts the children bring: their energy, their bight eyes, their laughter, their child's wisdom, their generosity, their very joy of being. I invite each of you during these next weeks to be as generous-hearted as 'Go-Go' through the Guest at Your Table program... ." Judith Linden

It truly is amazing how quickly your donation adds up just by putting your spare change in the box at the end of each day. I am sure the guest at your table program will continue for another 30 years.

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Reviewed by Rachel Jordan (Reader) 7/22/2008
Hi there

Just a quick clarification. UUSC works to protect and promote human rights throughout the world by partnering with grassroots groups to confront injustices, and by mobilizing our members to affect policy change. We work within four focus areas: environmental justice, economic justice, civil liberties, and rights in humanitarian crises.

The donations received through Guest at Your Table, which are vital to making our work possible, help all of UUSC's programs and partners. UUSC does not actually have a partnership with UNICEF, and does not provide funds to their work.

I hope this is helpful!

Reviewed by Katryn Dougherty 12/1/2005
since Aria did Trick or Treat for UNICEF I bet she would love this :)

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