Three down, one to go – and the last one appears to be going fast.
That's how the tally board looked as of late Nov. 21 when the UCC Mission:1 goal of $111,111 raised for Neighbors in Need (NIN) fell by the wayside. As of early Nov. 22, total giving was at $113,398 and rising.
With totals still being tabulated – and with the goals of letters sent to U.S. Congress and the number of donated food items long since eclipsed – the one remaining Mission:1 goal, of aid for East Africa famine relief, is within reach. As of Nov. 22, the reported total was less than $2,500 shy of the $111,111 goal.
"Hallelujah!" said the Rev. Linda Jaramillo, executive minister for UCC Justice and Witness Ministries (JWM). "We are thrilled, but not surprised that our members rose to this occasion. Mission:1 provided opportunities for all of us, as ONE, to carry out our biblical mandate to feed the hungry and advocate for justice in ways that could be individualized in each congregation and community.
"The UCC's generous response indicates that God’s people continue to demonstrate the love of our Creator, Redeemer and sustainer," said Jaramillo."We look forward to faithfully and responsibly using the dollars to carry out the work of Mission:1."
In addition to setting goals for NIN and East Africa, the UCC during the first 11 days of November set a Mission:1 goal of collecting more than 1 million food and household items for local food banks (more than 1.4 million tallied thus far) and asking its 5,300 congregations to advocate for hunger-related causes worldwide via 11,111 letters to Congress (nearly 37,000 reported to date).
NIN is a special mission offering that supports ministries of justice and compassion throughout the United States. One-third of NIN funds support the Council for American Indian Ministry(CAIM). Two-thirds of the offering is used by JWM to support justice initiatives, advocacy efforts and direct service projects.
"We're grateful to have reached our NIN goal and are looking forward to exceeding our final goal for East Africa famine relief," said Barbara Powell, interim director of the UCC Publishing, Identity and Communication Ministry.What a blessed Thanksgiving this will be."