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Unitarian members to satisfy appetites, help fire victims

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By Kirsten Laskey

When fires ravaged through southern California last year, many members of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Los Alamos understood the fire victims’ situation because they had experienced a similar situation themselves.

Sherry Hardage of the Unitarian Church explained about seven people in the congregation had lost their homes during the Cerro Grande Fire so they felt compelled to extend help to California.

Help will come in the form of a soup and bread lunch fundraiser. After church services on Sunday, which will be at about 12:15 p.m., members of the church will serve donated homemade bread and soups. The cost of the lunch is $3 for adults and $1.50 for children younger than age 12.

Proceeds from the lunch will go toward the Unitarian Church in Santa Barbara.

Hardage said the soup and bread lunch fundraiser is a common fundraiser at the church.

“We do soup and bread lunches a lot,” she said, “and we raise about $400-500.”

It may not be a huge amount, but Hardage pointed out, “Every little bit helps.”

Helping the fire victims in southern California is just one cause  the church is helping.

 Every year, Hardage said, the church’s social concerns committee chooses seven recipients from which to donate money from the collection plate. Hardage said they have given money to the Jaño Orphanage in Jaño, Chihuahua, Mexico. They have also provided a $4,000 donation to Self Help, Inc. and contributed to a women’s shelter in Española. Big Brothers Big Sisters will receive half of this month’s collection, Hardage said.

Future recipients include Court Appointed Special Advocates.

In total, she said, the Unitarian Church gives in upwards of $10,000 a year to various causes.

Donating funds is more than helping others in need; it also fulfills a Unitarian philosophy.

“It’s part of the Unitarian philosophy to be part of the global community ... We try  quite a few things,” Hardage said.

She encourages people to attend the lunch on Sunday “if they want a very good homemade lunch for not much money and if they want to help people who are in the same boat we were in not too long ago.”