Reverse Offering Report

On January 20, UUFM held a reverse offering.  Instead of collecting money for the fellowship during the offertory, a total of $2,500 was given out to the congregation in envelopes containing anywhere from $5 to $100.  The congregation was charged with giving it away to someone or some cause or to use it themselves if they needed it.  The money was donated by five generous members of the congregation and supplemented a little by some social justice funds marked for outreach.  The donors channeled their giving through us, and together we expressed our values and our commitment to do good in the world, in community.

We received information about what people did with about half of the envelopes as of mid-February.  Many reported supplementing their reverse offering with their own funds, and the funds together went to a wide range of uses, from helping individuals in the community to international causes.  Below are the reports.

I gave my money to the Girls On The Run annual fund.  This program encourages elementary and middle school girls to run and be active.  The group employs college and high school runners to go run with the girls.  By giving to this program I hope they will be able to reach more young girls, teach them running is fun, and spread a feeling not enough people feel–a runners high.
 

We donated our money to a family in need after the deportation of their father.  He was the primary source of income.  The family is a part of our community and we feel it is important to support people in that difficult and life changing circumstance.

 

This was a very fulfilling experience.  It makes the world feel ‘right.’  Huge thanks to the donors for supporting our community and for enabling members of the congregation to support our values.

 

I donated to Kiva, a website that connects people wanting to donate money to individuals and groups all over the world looking for help to improve their quality of life.  I donated $25 to a woman in Liberia who needed money to afford higher education for her children.

Matched the $20 I received and gave it to ____ for the ___ family, the family she knows whose husband/father was deported.

 

I entrusted the money to the principal of my granddaughter’s school to use for the benefit of needy children, possibly to pay off lunch debt.

 

I found $20 in my envelope and doubled the gift with a personal donation of $20.  I gave the $40 to a local, self-employed carpenter who has no health insurance and was recently injured on the job.  The injury has both restricted his ability to work and forced him to spend a significant portion of his limited savings.  He was reluctant to accept the gift out of pride, but I reminded him that he had donated his time and skills to us in small ways on a number of occasions, and that we were merely paying him back in some small way.  This assuaged his pride, and he gave us a loaf of bread as thanks, thus perpetuating the back-and-forth gift-giving.

 

Doubled the amount and wrote a check for the Emergency shelter

 

I am going to take the money and add to it to purchase groceries for a near homeless veteran friend.  He lives on food stamps and is fearful that due to the government shutdown he may not be able to afford food.  It will make a big difference in one person’s life.

 

With some additional funds I’m participating in a Kiva microloan to a woman in Kenya.  She needs $700 total to purchase a second motorcycle for the taxi service she operates.  I’ve long meant to get started with Kiva.  This gave me the impetus.  Thank you!

 

I’m giving the $20 I received to a teenage boy, in exchange for him helping manage a couple of heavy/awkward sheets of 3/4″ – 4′ x 8′ oak veneer plywood thru a table saw, for a pantry cabinet I’m building.  (injured/compromised neck has been keeping me from accomplishing this for a while).  Then he’ll help haul the cabinet to the fellowship, so I can install it.  (hopefully me handling the money in this way is in the appropriate spirit / intention. It lets me complete my volunteer efforts for the fellowship–which have been on hold since my injury.  And, the teenager was very agreeable to his helping/compensation.)

 

Donated the money to Girls on the Run, Flint Hills Division.  I hope it empowers young people to build healthy habits for their mental and physical well being!

 

I made a donation to Loud Light, a non-profit working to promote voting in Kansas and also to make the electoral and legislative process more transparent.  I think this donation along with others will help Davis Hammett continue his excellent work at Loud Light, helping Kansas voters to make good decisions and hold their legislators accountable.  I was unsure at first how to use the $20 I was entrusted with.  At first, I thought to use it to purchase food for a meal for MESI, but others will do that.  Davis is the only one doing the work he does and the need is great to support that work.

 

My wife received $50 and I received $20.  We decided to pool our money.  I decided to bring seven other furloughed government workers from my unit at the USDA into it, and we ended up providing a full multiple-course meal for 40 people at the Manhattan Emergency Shelter.  This included fresh vegetables (crudités), various kinds of fruit, biscuits, side courses, mashed potatoes, three cooked turkeys and casseroles.  My partner and I just provided the fresh vegetables, which amounted to the equivalent of six veggie trays with fixings.  We had $16 left over after accomplishing all that, so we spent about $2.50 of the reverse offering per person and chipped in the remaining $22.50 per person with our own money to pay for the registrations for six students (4 women, 2 men; 1 minority) to attend an international conference whose deadline was immediate and thus could not be paid for through with government funds.  These students would have missed this career-building opportunity had this not been done.  In total, our $80 rippled out and affected a minimum of 46 people.

 

We sent $40 to Flint hills breadbasket

 

We gave our reverse offering to a family whose father/husband was recently deported by ICE and the funds helped them during this sad emergency.

 

I received $10 in my reverse offering.  I contributed $25 to the Virgen De Guadalupe Group in Bolivia through Kiva.org.  My $25 is part of a $3,825 loan to empower women through group lending.  The loan is to be repaid over 12 months.  If repaid, I will pick another group to lend the $25 to next year.

 

I received $20, matched it with $30, and donated it to Wonder Workshop, Manhattan, KS, to provide two scholarships to the participatory, living history program, “Our Continuing Journey:  From Bondage to Freedom.”  It will take place this spring on the Lazy T Ranch (Zeandale Rd.), April 21st and April 28th, from 3-7pm (more information at wonder@wonderworkshop.org, 785-776-1234).  The program I am helping support is meant to stimulate an honest and continuing dialogue on race relations from the past to the present in our community.  I also realized the Reverse Offering Program is meant to promote UUism, in particular UUFM.  Long live worthy causes!

 

I had a $50 bill in my envelope.  I donated it anonymously to the USD 383 Fit Closet, an organization I have supported for some time now.  I believe the service they offer to children (and their families) attending school in our district is remarkable.  I was pleased to be able to make the donation to them at this time.

 

I donated to a dog rescue organization.  I had a hard time deciding what to do, there are so many worthwhile things that you can do.

 

I donated to the $50 to Friends of the Kaw, an environmental advocacy group that promotes clean water in the Kaw.  It is a local organization that I think does a good job of achieving results that impact our daily lives directly through action and through education.  I think that clean water in our streams is one of our most pressing local environmental concerns.  Supporting this organization helps them to further the cause of clean water.

 

My daughter and I combined our funds and donated to the National Peace Corps Association, Girls Education and Empowerment fund.  It was fun to think of all of the places we could donate, and this is place where we think funds can make a big difference–both in girls’ education in developing countries, and also in the experiences of Peace Corps Volunteers who come back to the U. with broader world views.

 

We sent $100 (some from the UU & some from us) to the Eisenhower Middle School to help with the play that the middle schoolers will be putting on in March.  We know that the education system does not have the funds to make all these great opportunities for kids happen so we wanted to help!  $10 of the money will be used to buy food for a local animal shelter.  Our 10-year-old loves animals and this is what she decided to do with her portion!

Gave the lady at the junction city Starbucks an almost 100% tip after not having gratuity to give the week before.  Also got some food for the differently abled child I provide care for.  I think the remaining money I used towards trying a quesadilla at Fuzzys Tacos.  And yes it was mightily delicious.

 

The two of us each got $50.  We agreed that a good use of the money would be to make a contribution to the Fairy Godmothers Fund, which helps women with unexpected medical bills, car repairs, etc, that could affect their ability to work, maintain their lives, or care for their families.  I sent them a check for $100 from both of us.

 

Three of us in our family decided to pool the money we received together.  We each added to it, and gave $125 to Green Apple Bikes’ Essential Bikes program.  Many people end up using Green Apple bikes for grocery shopping, getting to and from work, and other essential needs like that.  The program finds people who need a bike for these purposes, finds them a bike of their own donated from the community, fixes it up so that it’s in good shape, and helps them maintain it.  The $125 gets one bike ready and covers maintenance for the year.

 

I received $10 in my reverse offering envelope and have added $20 to be returned back to the fellowship

It inspired me to begin giving to the Nature Conservancy again.  I got $20 so decided to give that amount each month.  I also gave that amount back to the Fellowship during the offering.  Great idea, by the way!

I doubled the amount I received and gave back to the Fellowship.  The idea was really good and I was happy to be part of it.  It gives an opportunity to those who do not have much to give to feel good about being able to do so.

I received $5.  I added $20 and gave it to a homeless man sleeping at the Manhattan Public Library on the coldest day of the year, this past week.

 

My son received $20, I received $10.  My son decided money will go to jump ropes and soccer balls (or a ball pump) for UU students in India I will be visiting later this month.  This is a wonderful way to carry the good wishes of UUFM on this trip!

 

My $20 went to buy quilt batting to make more quilts for the children who come to the Crisis Center and for babies of international students.  Hopefully they will realize that someone cares about them and their well-being.  Perhaps the international family that receives a baby blanket will think kindly of the Manhattan women who do this for them and if either one of them get into a position of power in their home country they will remember us with good will.

 

Combined with donations from many others in the UU Fellowship, I donated a total of $465 to the ____ family.  His wife and I wired $200 to ___’s mother in Mexico, and the rest will be used for household expenses.  We are still waiting for ____ to contact us on Facebook.  We have not heard from him since he was taken by ICE several weeks ago.  Thank you for keeping our hearts open to hope. (2/4/2019)

 

I donated my $50 to help fund a young woman’s trip to compete in the Special Olympics – World Games in Abu Dhabi.

 

I donated the $20 I received, along with personal funds to Doctors Without Borders for their work with refugees.  The worst day of my life would seem quite pleasant compared to what many refugees go through daily, sometimes for years.  The money will go toward medical care and treatment for refugees in Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen, and around the world.

 

I donated the $20 I received to the ECM’s Real Food Lunch

 

I was excited about the concept of a Reverse Offering, and so many ideas came to mind on how I could help out an unsuspecting person(s) in our community.  I thought to myself, whatever amount I receive, I am going to add my own monies to it.  A few years ago, I did not consider myself financially “secure” and I would have approached this Reverse Offering differently.  I opened my envelope to find $100!  Then, the immediate needs of someone close arose, and I gave my word to be their safety net.  This person practices UU values and continues to contribute to the lives of others, often behind the scenes.

Hi.  The envelope I pulled contained $20.  I matched that amount, and have given the envelope to the Manhattan Public Library, asking that $10 be given to each of 4 families who sign up for membership in the Manhattan Library Association during the first night of the annual MLA book sale on Feb 22.  I am hopeful this will encourage ongoing support of the MLA, and greater appreciation of the MPL.  The family membership costs $15, so I am also hoping that for some families on tight budgets, this might allow the purchase of a few additional books.  Finally, I believe the buy-in of cost-sharing the membership is also important, so that the reverse offering is seen as an assist, rather than a hand out.