SIJT July update

From the Sanctuary and Immigrant Justice Team:

2025 Honduras Service Trip News

Monthly meetings have started to plan the sixth UUCC Service Trip to Honduras. It is not too late to join us! We will be traveling to Honduras during Spring Break 2025 to build latrines and do other projects that the community desires and that we can offer. Scholarships will be available.

Please email Allie Gassmann if you would like to get involved, join us on the trip, and/or have questions and ideas.

Sponsorship Update

UUCC Community, we wanted to update you on where the Sanctuary and Immigrant Justice (SIJ) Team is regarding UUCC’s sponsorship of Lilly Ortiz Valiente and her children Manuel and Lakshmi.

May was the end of our third year of sponsorship, and the consensus of the SIJ Team is that it is time to phase out our financial sponsorship, at least in the ways we have been managing it. When Christine Heath so generously opened her home to the family upon their arrival in May 2021, we (Christine, Allie Gassmann, and Dave Gibbons) decided, with the team’s approval, to open a joint sponsorship account so regular and unexpected expenses could be more easily paid. We would periodically request money from the UUCC Sanctuary Fund that was then deposited into the joint account. The current account balance is $1,255.90, and within the next few months it is the intention of the SIJ Team to give this money to Lilly and close the account.

Lilly’s current need is a car to replace the1998 vehicle generously gifted to her by Meredith Donaldson. It was a wonderful gift, although it has recently shown its age. If anyone has a vehicle and would be interested in gifting it to Lilly or selling it to her for a reasonable amount, or knows someone with such a vehicle, please let Allie (573-356-1210) or Dave (573-864-2161) know. The SIJ Team is very grateful to those who contacted Ruth Milledge and volunteered to provide transportation for the family while the 1998 vehicle was getting a tire replaced and then learning another tire was going bad. There may be some additional needs in the future, so if you are available to provide some transportation, please contact Ruth (573-268-9591).

Although UUCC is moving toward the end of our financial sponsorship of Lilly and the children, it will not be an abandonment of the family. We would certainly be available for emergency needs and for other needs as appropriate, and UUCC individuals will likely stay connected with the family. Three years of sponsorship is an unusually long time for sponsoring asylum seekers, although with a single mom and two small children, we anticipated a longer period of assistance than usual would likely be needed.

At this time there has been no decision by the SIJ Team to commence another sponsorship, although the team has discussed that possibility. We will continue to explore the direction the work of the SIJ Team will go while we continue to be responsive to immigrant justice and assistance work. Recently we were able to provide some financial assistance to Edler and Yadira Umanzor and their three daughters when they were in need of a replacement vehicle. UUCC has previously assisted this Honduran asylum-seeking family, and the family has been to UUCC on several occasions. Many thanks to Dottie Mathews and Rosie Geiser who have stayed closely connected with the family and brought this need for a replacement vehicle to the attention of the SIJ Team.

With continuing gratitude for the support of the UUCC Community. Please let us know if you have any questions about this update or the work of the SIJ Team, including any questions about the team’s financial information.

Allie Gassmann and Dave Gibbons
Co-Chairs of the SIJ Team