In September UPPC’s mission spotlight focused on our long term partnership with Families Unlimited Network.
FUN began as three missions of UPPC beginning in 1974 —
- An after-school tutoring program
- A food bank located in the former manse of UPPC
- Family crises assistance—mainly housing and utility assistance
The organization became an independent non-profit in 2004 with UPPC member Darren Wenz, serving as its first director.
FUN has continued growing with the support of UPPC and a number of new community partners in order to meet the growing and changing needs of the community, serving over 21,000 people last year. Future plans call for adding a community health care worker and a youth meals program next summer.
Watch this VIDEO to learn more about how FUN has made a difference in people’s lives.
UPPC continues to support FUN
- With volunteer support
- And space for most of FUN’s programming.
About 14 UPPC volunteers serve weekly at either the food bank or The SPOT program. Up to 200 volunteers participate in major annual joint events such as Community Christmas and the Back to School Fair. The UPPC/FUN Support team provides coordination between FUN and the church. The team includes 5 UPPC volunteers and 2 staff members.
Services at the food bank have expanded. This past program year—
- More than 5,400 families in our community were served – up 6 % from last year
- Over 395,000 pounds of food was distributed–A 49% increase from additional donor partners —
- The Emergency Food Network
- Membership in the Food Lifeline, allowing access to donations from local grocery stores and other sources.
75% of FUN clients live within 5 miles of UPPC! Last year FUN provided an average of 9 days of food a month to their clients compared to three days at other Pierce County food banks.
UPPC volunteers comment on working at the food bank-
I’ve worked at Food Bank for approximately 12 years. I like to serve FUN’s clients and know that I have helped someone in need
I have done most of the jobs at the food bank (purchasing, picking up supplies, sorting, and customer assistance).…Besides the need to help, the food bank offers me a place to stay involved and active…. I absolutely recommend FUN as a place to volunteer.
I am a volunteer food bank driver…I enjoy picking up food and making relationships with store personnel, with the goal of helping the food back serve those in need. It makes me feel good to help the many people in UP who use the Food Bank Services. By doing this work, I am living my faith!
Serving UP students in grades 3-7, The SPOT runs from 3-6 p.m weekdays during the school year – even longer on the many early release days. (read more) SPOT provides —
- Homework and tutoring assistance
- An active enrichment component including art, music and relationship development.
- Counselors in the UP School District recommend students who would benefit from participation and the district provides bussing to UPPC. (Approximately 40% of SPOT participants are eligible for the Free and Reduced Lunch program at school.)
- UPPC volunteers provide an evening meal on Wednesday for 8 to 12 SPOT students who want to stay and participate in UPPC’s Wednesday evening youth programs.
- This year the program is filled to capacity with 46 students and has a waiting list.
- Spot is adding new PC’s this fall to enhance the program.
The school district’s continuing support may be the best indicator of the value The SPOT provides to the U.P. community. Last year the school district reported that 76% of SPOT participants showed measurable growth in school performance.
UPPC volunteer enjoys her work with The SPOT program–
She really enjoys “connecting with the kids and encouraging them….I think it is a great opportunity especially for members/attendees of UPPC to volunteer.…”
FUN also provides support to members of our community by addressing immediate needs and providing long term assistance to families facing poverty issues .
- Help in accessing DHS services
- Budgeting Support
- Employment Support
- Program referrals, and
- Homeless prevention financial assistance