How fortunate many of us are to have chosen Venice as our home for all or part of the year. The Chamber of Commerce has named Venice “Paradise” and, for some people, it is just that. But on December 14th many of us heard Jon Thaxton from the Gulf Coast Foundation tell us about another Venice: a Venice where over 50% of its children who attend public schools are going hungry and are eligible for free or subsidized lunches. That means 22,000 children are hungry, particularly on weekends when they are not in school. We heard that the local governments have not planned low income housing for over 20 years. We learned we have “food deserts” where communities have no access to healthy food. We heard many sobering facts about a Venice that many do not see.
The Social Justice Team invited Jon Thaxton to start a conversation with us and to spur some thinking about the needs of our community. We need to understand our neighbors who are in need in order to best plan how we may respond.
On January 9th at 2:00pm in the Sanctuary the Social Justice Team will hold an open meeting for all interested in learning more about our community and doing some brainstorming on the strengths of our congregation and how we might be best positioned to respond to our neighbors in need.
Who knows where this exploration will take us? But it will be a worthwhile journey and it is expected that we will identify some very real ways that more of us can get involved in our community. Come be a part of this brainstorming to help develop programs that reflect our congregation’s passions, skills, and interests.
We are stewards of our congregation and our community. We care and we have great capacity to help. Come learn, discuss, and share your thoughts on January 9th and help our congregation in its Social Justice planning.