A Promising Partnership - Follow Up

On April 24 after worship, a group of us met in the Fellowship Hall for a town hall meeting to discuss a potential partnership with Vallejo Together to help their work with the un-housed population in Vallejo. Some of us had participated in the monthly Zoom meetings of the Vallejo Together Interfaith Coalition on Homelessness and brought a report to the congregation. Suzanne Awalt gave a great history and overview of Vallejo Together and their work. While the organization has been in existence for over a decade, it incorporated as a non-profit in 2019. Among the programs which are sponsored by Vallejo Together, the Interfaith Coalition stands out as a great way for us at First Christian Church to get involved. We had a productive discussion of what this partnership may look like moving forward. We are already doing work to help the homeless in Vallejo. We have our little pantry where people can get food, health and hygiene items, and even clothes. We grow food in our garden which is donated to various soup kitchens like the Sparrow Project and Faith Food Fridays. We do an annual collection during Advent of new socks and underwear as well as gently used coats for people in need. But, what else can we do?

We have great resources, but as was discussed at the town hall meeting, realistically we don’t have a huge amount of manpower. But, we have a great building. Is there a way to use our building more? Can we host a mobile shower event once a quarter? Could we host occasional educational meetings on tenants rights? Part of ending the homeless problem is preventing people from losing their homes to begin with. Can we encourage our members to participate in Vallejo Together events like homeless camp cleanups? Could we make an annual financial contribution, similar to what we do now with Common Ground?

If we enter into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Vallejo Together, we would officially enter into a partnership with them. They would help spread the word about what we do. We would help do the same for them. We would also agree to do more with their organization. They are hoping to have MOUs with multiple congregations as part of their fundraising efforts (having these official partnerships helps Vallejo Together when applying for grant money). Coming out of the meeting, it was decided that Allison Mezzera would draw up a draft MOU to present to Admin Council at their May meeting for their consideration. Stay tuned for more information on this continuing effort.