BEARDSLEY COMMUNITY FARM  “CAC Beardsley Community Farm is an urban non-profit community farm that promotes food security and sustainable agriculture. Since 1998, Beardsley Farm has worked to increase access to fresh produce in Knoxville’s food deserts through produce donations, educational programs, and community gardening. Every year, with the help of over 2,000 volunteers, we donate sustainably grown produce to local hunger-relief organizations and shelters. Beardsley Farm grows over 100 varieties of fruits and vegetables on the farm and donates over 10,000 pounds of produce annually. Produce donations go to a variety of Knoxville kitchens and pantries, including Mobile Meals, KARM, Global Seeds, and the Family Crisis Center. Our farm grows produce without chemical pesticides or synthetic fertilizers and features many examples of sustainable agriculture, including a compost system, honeybees, rainwater harvesting, a drip irrigation system, free-range chickens, and a fruit and berry orchard. ” Nominated by: Dick Trowbridge

BECK CULTURAL EXCHANGE CENTER The Beck Center is a significant resource in remembering Knoxville’s struggles over the years to pursue justice and uphold human dignity. The center is pursuing the publishing of a local history using the reminiscences of local elders. Nominated by: Chris Buice

BRIDGE REFUGEE SERVICES Bridge provides a variety of services to refugee families in the Knoxville area, before and after they arrive. (Refugee families are usually fleeing persecution or war, and they often arrive after many years in a refugee camp.) Bridge services include assistance in obtaining housing and employment, enrolling in school, learning English, and accessing support from other agencies and organizations. Some, but not all, families have a co-sponsor. (TVUUC has served as a co-sponsor for two Bridge families, and we are now involved in tutoring children in another family.) This nomination is to provide general financial assistance to Bridge, and not designated for any particular family. In spite of U.S. Government restrictions on admission of new refugees, Bridge is still assisting refugee families living in Knoxville. Possible reductions in financial assistance from government may affect Bridge’s ability to operate. Share the Plate funds will help to make Knoxville a more welcoming community, will assist those who have escaped their native countries due war or discrimination and will enable local families to become independent. Nominate by: Wendy Syer & Kathy Poese

FAMILY PROMISE – TVUUC is one of many interfaith congregations and organizations that open their doors and hearts to host homeless families 3-4 times a year. Families are given an evening meal and a safe place to stay at the host congregations as they work toward finding employment, transportation, and securing their own housing. Thirty TVUUC members and friends volunteer during each of our Family Promise host weeks. We cook dinner, serve as dinner hosts, do activities with the kids, and stay overnight. Families receive two years of case management after they leave the program to help them stay independent. Family Promise is a shining example of how TVUUC transforms the world through acts of love and justice.

FISH FOOD PANTRY – ” FISH of Knox County was created to make food available to all of those in need right here at the local level. FISH is a local way to focus on social justice through personal acts of kindness directed towards addressing hunger. We believe that in a just and compassionate society all people deserve to have the basic necessities of life, especially nutritious food, without judgement. FISH helps to transform the lives of those who give and who receive vital assistance. FISH also nurtures spiritual growth; individual spiritual growth is often enhanced thru acts of kindness.
At TVUUC we have a long tradition of support for FISH. We staff the FISH phone line once a month, deliver food, and stock the West Knox FISH Pantry the month of December. Delivering food for FISH is an eye opening experience. Recipients include the mentally ill, elderly, children, chronically ill, as well as people who usually do ok but are having temporary difficulties. Even though FISH is mainly run thru local (mostly Protestant) churches, there is no religious proselytizing; those of all creeds are respected. – Our long term association with other churches in the area is also a plus for our spiritual community. Also, we have now partnered with Peace Lutheran Church to help with the costs and work of stocking the West Knox FISH Pantry in our month of December. ”

HIGHLANDER RESEARCH AND EDUCATIONAL CENTER TVUUC has a long history of cooperating with the Highlander Center in the work of grassroots social change on labor issues, civil rights, GLBTQ rights and environmental causes. Sharing the plate with Highlander would be a great way to show our commitment to systemic social change as in the slogan “Change not Charity.” Nominated by: Chris Buice

INTERFAITH HEALTH CLINIC “Our Values: Compassion, Care in a spirit of empathy, love and concern, Dignity Respect for every person with special concern for the underserved, Excellence High standards of quality, comprehensive health care, Integrity Honesty and justice in relationships, Stewardship Wise and just use of our collaborative talents and resources. The mission of the InterFaith Health Clinic is to provide accessible, affordable, quality health care to low-income, working uninsured and underserved individuals in our community, primarily through the support of the religious, health care and business communities. These services are provided within the capacity of the clinic, regardless of race, sex, creed, age, religion, national origin, or ability to pay. Nominated by: Larry Kitchen

LONSDALE ENVIRONMENTAL CAMP at TREMONT – Supporting these inner-city kids to connect with nature relates directly to many of UU’s seven principles, especially helping them to understand and have respect for the interdependent web of all existence. Participating in this environmental camp also helps kids to accept and respect diversity, and to work together toward environmental and community benefits. The camp is a transforming experience and provides the kids with an environmental platform to grow their connection to nature. Nominated by: David Ostermeier

LONSDALE MENTORING PROGRAM – TVUUC Members and Friends provide mentoring and tutoring to students at Lonsdale Elementary.

PLANNED PARENTHOOD of MIDDLE & EAST TN (PPMET) PPMET is a recognized and respected leader in providing reproductive, sexual and complementary health care and comprehensive sexuality education to women, men and teens regardless of race, age, income status, religion or sexual orientation. We believe that the self-determined pursuit of sexual health is important for everyone’s well-being and quality of life. Nominated by: Mark Mohundro

REMOTE AREA MEDICAL (RAM) RAM’s free health clinics have enabled thousands to receive medical, vision and dental care, some for the first time, at no cost. It is a not-for-profit organization that has served people locally and globally for many years. It is completely supported by volunteer donations. Nominated by: Terry Uselton

SECOND HARVEST FOOD BANK Second Harvest buys, stores, packages and distributes food to a large number of local agencies. Second Harvest works with 520 partners in their 18 county service area to distribute food to the needy. Nominated by: Terry Uselton

SEEED (Socially Equal Energy Efficient Development) SEEED prepares low-income young people for good-paying, sustainable jobs in Knoxville’s emerging green economy. TVUUC is involved with SEEED in promoting green jobs – green church program that is using SEEED apprentices to weatherize TVUUC members homes. This organization is truly life-changing for participants. Nominated by: Dick Trowbridge

TENNESSEE HEALTHCARE CAMPAIGN  A welcoming community should not create life and death obstacles in health for its people. There is a direct line from TVUUC’s mission to that of THCC: For nearly 30 years, THCC has stood in the forefront statewide for its mission to provide affordable accessible health care to all Tennesseans. The issues of the moment might change but that mission has driven our work at both the state and federal level. Today, we stand in defense of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) which remains extremely important to hundreds of thousands of Tennesseans. THCC defends TennCare and works to expand it to nearly 300,000 people, a majority are working families, who cannot afford the premiums without help. The ACA offers that help but the governor and legislature have made it an ideological football despite the fact that the subsidies are supported by the Federal Government. When Children’s Health Insurance (CHIP) is threatened, we need to speak out. Nominated by: Bill Fields

TENNESSEE IMMIGRANT AND REFUGEE RIGHTS COALITION “TIRRC is multigenerational coalition building, does effective legislative advocacy, and leads award-winning communications initiatives. TIRRC organizes both individual immigrant and refugees, as well as organizations that serve immigrant and refugee communities. There is a direct line from TVUUC’s mission to THCC’s vision. Our work is about love and justice. From the TIRRC vision: “We are a coalition of immigrants, refugees, and allies working to lift up fundamental American freedoms and human rights and build a strong, welcoming, and inclusive Tennessee. We believe that real and lasting change must be led by those directly affected by injustice, and for this reason, community organizing and leadership development are the core strategies we use to realize our vision. We bring together diverse immigrant communities throughout the state to examine root causes, find common interests, and organize for better conditions. We strive to lift up the voices of directly affected people and invest in leaders at the grassroots level and to ensure our theory of change is reflected in the way we make decisions, in the work we undertake today, and in the course, we set for the future.Nominated by: Walter Davis

TVUUC ADVANCING EQUALITY FUND – This fund is dedicated to TVUUC’s work to advance equality for the LGBTQ community internally and externally.

TVUUC COMMUNITY GARDEN – Using sustainable gardening methods, the TVUUC Community Garden grows food for those in our area who are at nutritional risk, provides gardening space for members and friends of the church and is an outdoor classroom for both children and adults. The Donation Garden and the Living Memorial Orchard donate 100% of the harvests to the Knox County WIC program, a program that provides nutrition education and supplemental food to Women, Infants and Children who are at nutritional risk. Some of the fruits and vegetable that we deliver to WIC are used in their cooking classes to teach mothers how to prepare nutritious meals using fresh produce, and the mothers take the rest of our donations home to their families. The Community Garden also has a Personal Garden section where members and friends of the church can grow their own chemical-free food, often donating a portion to the WIC program. During the Summer, the Sunday classroom for the Children’s RE Program is the entire Garden. Children plant, tend and harvest food for WIC, exuberantly explore the natural world of the church’s outdoor sanctuary and joyfully practice the UU Children’s 7th Principle: learn about caring for our planet Earth, the home we share with all living things. The TVUUC Community Garden gives both children and adults hands-on opportunities to actively work towards ending the injustice of food insecurity in our community and brings people outdoors, to our sacred grounds where the natural world and spiritual growth intertwine. Indeed, the Garden is a beautiful place!”

VOLUNTEER MINISTRY CENTER (VMC) MEALS – TVUUC Members and Friends prepare a hot meal in TVUUC’s kitchen, transport it to the Volunteer Ministry Center, and serve it to those experiencing homelessness.