Vale has been working in Guatemala for the past 13 years. Every summer since 2006, Vale has sent a mission team to the Highlands of Guatemala with the goal of diminishing poverty through empowering indigenous Mayan people. We work largely with women, collaborating on projects of their choosing that teach them skills and help to improve the lives of their children and families. We welcome participants from within and outside of the congregation, including children, teens and their families. [Shepherd: Deb Cohen]
RISE AGAINST HUNGER
Vale UMC spends works together with Rise Against Hunger a global nonprofit organization that focuses on feeding hungry school kids in developing countries. Starting in 2012, Vale has hosted an annual meal packaging event, usually in January, in which hundreds of volunteers of all ages from the community have joined church members to package a total of 465,000 meals. The ingredients for these meals (about 75,000 per year) are paid for entirely by Vale Church, using the net proceeds from selling Christmas trees in December. (In fact, many of the volunteers at the meal packaging event are the same people who bought their Christmas tree at Vale only weeks earlier.) The meals are sent to developing countries and distributed to school children, often in the wake of major disasters. [Shepherd: Mike Martin]
Learn more at their website.
CHRISTMAS TREE SALE TO FIGHT HUNGER
Vale Church since 2008 has hosted an annual Christmas tree sale to raise money for fighting hunger “near and far.” Staffed by Vale Church members, alongside scouts from Troop 1983 and their parents, the sale kicks off on the first Saturday after Thanksgiving and stays open typically until the last weekend before Christmas or until all the trees have sold, whichever comes first. The event has grown steadily and now sells more than 800 trees each year. It provides a festive opportunity for Vale members to interact during the holidays with our neighbors in Oakton, Vienna, Reston, Herndon, Fairfax and other parts of northern Virginia. Shopping for trees and wreaths at Vale Church is a fun family activity that many area residents have made a part of their Christmas traditions. Because Vale spends the net proceeds from every Christmas tree on our anti-hunger initiatives; our slogan is “Buy one tree, feed 100 kids.” Most of the funds are spent on buying ingredients for our annual meal-packaging event, held every January with nonprofit organization Rise Against Hunger. At these events, hundreds of volunteers – including many folks who bought Christmas trees from Vale – assemble to package at least 75,000 meals for hungry children in countries devastated by disasters. Vale Church also donates additional Christmas tree sale proceeds to local organizations that feed hungry people right here in Virginia.
- How to Get Involved. There are MANY ways to support the Christmas tree sale — besides please buying your tree at Vale! Lots of volunteers and helpers are needed. Stalwart workers are needed to help unload the beautiful trees, which are delivered at least four separate times on big trucks, starting on the Friday morning after Thanksgiving (it’s a fun way to burn off some Turkey Day calories :). Additional volunteers help by staffing the Christmas tree lot, aiding shoppers in picking out trees, trimming the trees and tying them onto the roofs of cars. Tree lot hours are: Saturdays from 9 am to 6 pm; Sundays from 11 am to 5 pm; and weeknights from 6 pm to 9 pm. (Remember: If you don’t want to lift or carry trees, you can still work as a cashier or other kind of helper. We want you!) Still more volunteers help by promoting the tree sale, e.g. by putting up signs, hanging flyers in coffee shops, distributing flyers to neighbors, or posting about the sale online. Other church members help out by donating “free cookies and apple cider” that people enjoy at Vale while hunting for their Perfect Tree. You don’t have to be a church member to volunteer; all are welcome! If YOU would like to volunteer to be part of the annual Christmas tree sale, please contact Clint O’Brien or Dwight Reed. Or check the church’s Sign-Up page, where sign-ups are posted starting in early November.