Norfield's Board of Outreach and Social Action is a really special place to contribute your gifts and talents, especially if you are interested in community service and social change. The Board of Outreach and Social Action initiates and organizes programs through which the Congregation may better understand the call of the Gospel relating to human needs.
The Board is responsible for supporting the local and greater community through fundraising and grant-making efforts. We provide opportunities for Norfielders and Westonites to learn about social issues and to engage in meaningful, face to face service opportunities.
We do this in a number of ways:
1. Grants to community not-for-profit organizations ("beneficiaries")
Each year, the Outreach and Social Action Committee issues a Request for Proposals throughout Fairfield County and then carefully selects 4-8 non-profit organizations that will receive supporting funds from our efforts. One of the beneficiaries every year is the UCC (United Church of Christ), which disburses funds internationally on our behalf for the church's wider mission.
A highlight of our beneficiaries include:
- International Institute of Connecticut serving recently arrived refugee families in need of cultural mentoring and support.
- Family ReEntry serving families involved in the criminal justice system, either by supporting children with incarcerated parents, or helping recently released prisoners acclimate to a life of freedom.
- CLASP which provides loving and supportive group home environments for adults with severe developmental disabilities through Fairfield County.
- Pivot Minitries a residential treatment program located in Bridgeport. Pivot offers faith-based assistance to men who suffer from alcohol and drug addiction. Programs are designed to focus on recovery and prevention by addressing two main areas: immediate physical needs (food, shelter) and long-term stability (counseling, healthcare assistance and job skills training). Founded in 1970, about 250 men successfully go through their program each year.
The Outreach and Social Action Committee raises funds through a series of events and activities that are not only intended to raise donations, but also to raise Norfielders' awareness of, and engagement in social justice issues affecting communities both in Connecticut, the U.S and around the world. Some of these events in the past have included:
3. Other service opportunities
The Outreach and Social Action Committee has historically lead a variety of other ongoing service efforts: (Senior lunch, food preparation at Gillespie Center, Memorial Day Fair plans, and others). We are always looking for new ideas and ways of engaging in fundraising and service activities. Please email us at OutreachGroup@norfield.org and let us know if you'd like to help and we will find the right fit for your interests and gifts of service.
Would you like to help us even more? Become a Committee Member of the Board of Outreach.
Norfield has organized trips to Appalachia, Ecuador, Honduras and South Africa to assist in the building and repair of health clinics, homes and churches. The mission teams also collect food, supplies and toiletries for distribution to the people.
Volunteers provide food and serve dinner to residents and walk ins at the Soup Kitchen rub through the Gillespie Center in Westport.
Day of Giving
Held each September, Norfield volunteers spend a day working on a number of projects and initiatives for those in need across the community at large.
Community Engagement Projects
Throughout the year, Outreach organizes different events to support those in need across the community. These may range from setting up homes for newly arrived refugees or collecting clothing articles for different groups. Typically done in partnership with area non-profit agencies.
Weston Senior Luncheon
Outreach oversees Norfield participation providing food and serving the lunch to the members of the Senor Center.
Outreach’s primary fundraiser conducted annually to raise funds to support designated beneficiaries and Outreach activities.
Person-to-Person Christmas Gifts
Norfielders provide gifts to families in the local area in need of gifts for their children.
What is asked of me as a member of the Board of Outreach and Social Action?
- Outreach and Social Action Committee members are asked to contribute their time, positive energy and ideas as part of a collaborative team that together designs and implements all of the Outreach and Social Action activities. We are a fun group that gets immense reward from providing this service leadership.
- Members attend monthly team meetings. These meetings are about 1.5 hours long and usually take place on a given Wednesday evening or Sunday morning (before service) depending on the time of year and proximity to an upcoming event. As events draw near, planning meetings may be held more frequently.
We ask that all members be willing to commit to taking on specialized responsibilities around the time of major events and for ongoing activities. There are 2-3 major events each year (currently the
- Dinner Auction and the Giving Fair) and each event requires about 6 weeks of heavier engagement in the lead up to the event itself. It's a lot of fun, we work as a team, and everyone's contributions count as essential, no matter what gifts and strengths you have to offer! Committee Members also are asked to participate to Outreach's other more regular ongoing activities (i.e. senior lunch etc.).
- All members are encouraged to participate in creative visioning sessions for how to grow and improve the work of Outreach and Social Action - this year for example, we anticipate re-positioning Outreach's role in the church to integrate service across all the church's efforts. We also hope to introduce new opportunities and services to support the Giving fair efforts over the course of the year (i.e. Outreach newsletter, speakers' series or beneficiary presentations, etc.).
What does it take to be on the Board of Outreach and Social Action?
- Time and commitment to serve, not just observe.
- Optimism, cheerfulness and willingness to "wing it" when necessary
- Team spirit, willingness to both lead and follow as needed, and a sense of humor!
- Interest in and passion for community service and an understanding of (or interest in learning more about) social issues affecting our communities and our world.
Sound interesting? We'd love to have you!
Welcome aboard and thank you in advance for your gifts!