The Festival of Sharing project provides a structure for identifying critical needs for people in Missouri and around the world, and providing resources to trusted agencies for distribution to those in need. 2016 is our church’s ninth year collaborating with participants other faith groups to help provide these resources. The Rev. Mel West, Retired, inaugurated this project in the 1980s through the newly formed United Methodist Office of Creative Ministry.
The activities culminate with an Ingathering celebration at the Missouri State Fair Arena. Groups from all over Missouri bring the gifts they have created and collected. Any extra supplies are used at the arena for creating more kits and packs.
We participate in the Festival of Sharing (FoS) because we care about people living with injustice, poverty, hunger, high infant and maternal mortality and crises. We want to make a difference, one kit at a time.
On this page:
- 2016 Festival of Sharing
- Our 2015 Festival of Sharing Work
- Our 2014 Festival of Sharing Work
- 2014 Festival of Sharing Ingathering
- Our 2013 Festival of Sharing Work
In 2016 we collaborated with 30 other interfaith denominations to provide critical items for people in need. From May to October, we created Missouri Packs and Church World Service Kits, with items requested by trusted Missouri, national and international aid agencies. These agencies distribute our gifts for us, networking with the United Methodist Office of Creative Ministry and Church World Service.
On Saturday Oct. 15, David Leuthold, Joann Vest, Mehdi and Melinda Farhangi, and Allen and Marian Hjelmfelt drove to the Missouri State Fair Arena in Sedalia for the 2016 Festival of Sharing Ingathering.
We brought all the boxed Missouri Packs and International Kits. We made many of the International Kits and Missouri Packs, with the money our fellowship provided us this year.
It is such an uplifting experience to come together with people from 31 different denominations, having different beliefs, but sharing similar concerns for people in need.
I hope that you will be interested in experiencing the Festival of Sharing Ingathering next October, so you can experience for yourself what a meaningful experience this is. We are truly making a difference in the lives of people in need. Read more on the Festival of Sharing website.
– Marian Hjelmfelt, Festival of Sharing Coordinator
2016 UUCC Festival of Sharing Summary
- Cash donated for shipping – $205.50
- Total value of kits and packs donated – $3,877.00
- Total value – $4,082.50
Notes: Much of the $1,084.00 collected in the Faith-to-Action offerings in September for Festival of Sharing was used to create additional packs and kits. Some funds were retained in the Festival of Sharing account to start next year’s participation.
From May to October 2015, we created packs and kits with items requested by trusted Missouri, national and international aid agencies. These agencies will distribute our gifts by networking with the United Methodist Office of Creative Ministry.
These kits and packs are now on their way carrying your hope, compassion and love. They will be appreciated by all who receive them.
David Leuthold and Marian Hjelmfelt took all of your gifts to the Ingathering in Sedalia on Saturday, Oct. 17. The youths and adults unloading our gifts were very efficient, and the workers seemed to enjoy being helpful.
The atmosphere inside the arena was so friendly. There were many charitable organizations – local, national and international. We talked with a number of the representatives and received helpful pamphlets.
It was fun to browse the display tables of crafts from Missouri and other countries. I could not resist buying a few fair trade items for holiday presents. We toured the rows of quilts to be auctioned, but did not stay to bid.
I felt so appreciative of the experience of engaging with people who have many different beliefs, but who all share our desire to help make a difference to others in need. I hope you will consider joining us next October to experience what could be meaningful for you.
Feel free to contact me if you would like more information or have questions.
– Marian Hjelmfelt (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Kits and Packs We Created:
- 18 IMA Safe Motherhood Kits
- 4 IMA Medicine Boxes
- 9 CWS Health Kits
- 49 CWS School Kits
- 50 Missouri School Kits
- 12 Missouri Prison Packs
- 5 Missouri Baby Bundle Packs
- 14 Missouri Backpacks of Love
- 48 Eyeglasses
- 4 Personal Hygiene Packs
- 16 Student Dental Packs
- 55 Seed Packets
- Value of kits and packs created – $3,090
- Cash contributions – $1,534, used for shipping and adding medicines and sterile birthing supplies to Church World Service Health Kits and School Kits.
- Total value of non-cash and cash gifts – $4,624
We could not have been so successful without your sharing your skills, caring and generosity. You are making a difference in the lives of your gift recipients. I am so grateful for what we worked together to accomplish in 2014.
– Marian Hjelmfelt, Festival of Sharing Team Leader
Your gifts of time, love, resourcefulness, support and generosity make our Festival of Sharing a success. You are making a difference in the lives of many people.
On Saturday, Oct. 17, 2014, we were able to pack all of your gifts in Bonnie Johnson’s minivan, and there was room left over for David Leuthold and Marian Hjelmfelt to car pool with Bonnie for the trip to Sedalia. We arrived early, and our minivan was quickly unloaded by a team of youngsters.
We had time to look at the displays of many organizations and faith groups before the 30-minute worship service in the Missouri State Fair Arena. The opening ceremony began with a banner parade of each of the different participating denominations. To our delight, our banner was the first to enter the arena. Later it was hung by the entrance door. (Pictures of highlights for this Festival of Sharing year will soon be posted at the FofS Display Table in the Greeting Area and on our church website.)
For lunch we bought food prepared by different faith groups. The proceeds go to the Festival of Sharing to fund projects that need more support.
After lunch we did more exploring. Bonnie was especially interested in the 100 quilts being auctioned and was able to explain the way many were quilted. David connected with the Nicaragua project and was able to talk with the woman who will be Rev. Mel West’s and David’s tour guide in Nicaragua.
I was especially interested in the I.M.A. World Health representative’s information. She was delightful to talk with and gave us lots of literature. I.M.A. has expanded their reach. You will be able to see literature from many of the agencies on our display table.
Do consider joining us next October to see for yourself what an amazing experience it is to be part of an interfaith organization that shares many of our Unitarian Universalist values.
– Marian Hjelmfelt, Festival of Sharing Team Leader
Our work on the 2013 Festival of Sharing was completed in October 2013. Several of our members took our contributions to the Festival of Sharing Ingathering in Sedalia on October 19, 2013.
The value of the kits and packs UUCC donated to the 2013 Festival of Sharing was $2,380. We also took $1,140 in cash contributed by UUCC members and friends to the Ingathering to be used for international shipping and adding missing supplies to kits. More cash contributions were received and were sent on to Festival organizers.
Our 2013 participation in the Festival included the following: Church members and friends purchased contents and assembled numerous packs and kits for distribution to those in need, including:
- Missouri Reading and Writing Packs
- Missouri Food Packs (which were assembled by our R.E. children)
- Missouri Baby Bundle Packs
- Missouri Backpacks of Love
- Missouri Women’s Prison Packs
- Missouri Student Dental Packs
- Missouri Personal Hygiene Pack
- Church World Service International Health Kits
- Church World Service International School Kits
Once again in 2013, Festival of Sharing sponsored “Dining for Dollars” Dinners, which combined fund-raising and a fun dinner with church friends. Volunteers hosted meals for six guests. The suggested donation for the guests was $15.