Child Crisis Arizona Foster Care and Adoption Program
Child Crisis Arizona has had a long-time association with Desert Palm UCC. Formerly known as the AAFC, The organization trains, licenses and certifies, and supports foster and adoptive parents and children. The church bakes and decorates over 100 cakes for the AAFC Halloween Party and contributes 100 Christmas stockings for children living in foster/adoptive care.
Desert Palm Caregivers provide members of our church with rides to doctor appointments, lab tests, and other health related meetings. The Caregivers have collected an assortment of medical equipment that is shared with those in need of walkers, wheel chairs, canes, etc.
Fair Trade Coffee
Café Justo is a grower-owned coffee cooperative based in southern Chiapas, Mexico. It was formed to address the poverty and migration from Mexico to the United States. The coffee is sold on the second Sunday of the month, September through May, with proceeds providing support for the cooperative.
Desert Palm’s bakers gather early in November to brighten the spirits of our Victory Place vets and our I-HELP guests as the holidays near. Cookies, baked at home or at the church on a special baking day, are packaged and delivered on Veteran’s Day to Victory Place and shared with our I-Help guests during the holiday season.
Humane Borders is an organization based in Tucson whose mission is to provide water for stations located in southern Arizona deserts for immigrants who cross into the U.S. Water deliveries are made once a week in a water truck provided by Humane Borders out of Ajo, Arizona, by volunteers from service organizations and churches. Desert Palm participates in water deliveries six times per year.
Interfaith Homeless Emergency Lodging Program (I-HELP)
Every first and third Saturday of the month, Desert Palm opens its doors to provide an evening dinner and a safe overnight sleeping space for fellow Tempe residents who happen to be homeless. We participate in the program with other local churches to provide meals and sleeping facilities. Five teams host the bi-monthly dinners on a rotating basis. In addition to the cooked meals, the congregation provides bed linens, towels, food for the meals, contributes clothing, hygiene product, and launders the bed linens following each event. Desert Palm participates in the I-Help Walk held in April each year, making pledges in support of the program.
Justice and Witness Ministry Team
The Justice and Witness Ministry Team advocates and networks with agencies whose outreach includes children, public education, refugees, immigrants and the marginalized. As people of faith we seek justice in matters of public policy and we continue to build relationships with other organizations such as Arizona Faith Network, SWC Widening the Welcome, Unitarian Universalists, National Council of Jewish Women and Children’s Action Alliance. JWM includes educational programs for the congregation and surrounding community through book studies, films and guest speakers to share our progressive viewpoint. Through networking, JWM receives many excellent resources that enhance and enable the team’s effectiveness.
A group of dedicated knitters and crocheters from Desert Palm and the wider community gather every other month to create lap-sized afghans and hats. Over the years, more than 100 blankets are made and shared with the VA Hospital in Phoenix, and Southwest Human Development. Church members donate yarn to be transformed into these gifts of love.
Meals on Wheels
This agency provides meals to shut-ins and the elderly. Volunteers from Desert Palm pick-up and deliver the meals on a rotating schedule every month.
Paz de Cristo
Desert Palm UCC is one of the original churches that committed their support to the development of Paz de Cristo, an interfaith organization spearheaded by St. Timothy’s Catholic Church in Mesa to provide meals to the hungry in the East Valley. The first meals were prepared in a small yellow rented house and served in a parking lot. Thirty years later, Paz de Cristo is a non-profit charity, providing meals cooked in a protected facility with a large kitchen. Since 1988, Desert Palm has prepared meals and provided financial support to Paz de Cristo. Although no longer providing service teams, the church continues to provide funding to Paz de Cristo.
Tempe Community Action Agency
This Tempe city agency offers community outreach to the disenfranchised. Desert Palm supports TCAA through donations to fund the food pantry and the Interfaith Homeless Emergency Lodging Program (I-HELP). Church members may contribute to the agency by placing our food basket arrangement in the Chancel area on a Sunday morning with a special dedication of their choosing. Their offering donation is gifted to TCAA directly. Desert Palm UCC works with several programs under the TCAA umbrella.
Tempe Empty Bowls
The City of Tempe Empty Bowls Event is held in February on a Friday and Saturday to raise money for Tempe Community Action Agency, United Food Bank and the Escalante Community Garden. Funds are raised for these three agencies through the sale of ceramic bowls made by various school students and professional potters to fight hunger.
United Blood Services
Our neighbor Gethsemane Lutheran Church and Desert Palm UCC partner twice a year, inviting United Blood Services to come to our facilities for blood donations. The combined congregations donate blood on two Sunday mornings a year.
United Food Bank
Each Sunday morning during the church service, the children collect food donated by members of our congregation. This is an opportunity for the entire church family, including children, to participate in a program the feed the hungry. United Food Bank picks up the donated food, and distributes it to those in need. During the year, Desert Palm designates a couple Sundays as special food collection days, increasing the yield of donated food.
Victory Place is a residence for U.S. military veterans who are rebuilding their lives. Monthly deliveries of donated bedding, pillows, towels, hygiene items, hats, clothing (especially for job interviews) are shared with those living at Victory Place.