Members of IOC faith communities have responded to community needs more effectively as a group, making Joining Hands to Make a Difference an integral part of who we are. Early examples included: supporting the Food Bank for Monterey County, All Saints’ and Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Food Pantries and the Rice Plus Project that provides 2,600-3,000 pounds of rice and beans in family-sized packages monthly, loading Nancy Costello’s truck as she distributes food to migrant agricultural workers, donating blankets to Shelter Outreach Plus, and facilitating donations of women’s clothing to the Women Alive! shelter in Salinas run by Dorothy's Place. This last activity has now become a recurring activity of the Friends, other IOC members and the Yellow Brick Road, providing pajamas, underwear and warm clothing for homeless women.
For 2008, the IOC planned a showcase of health and human services nonprofit agencies to inform the public, school and health care providers, as well as other groups involved in social justice issues, about the wealth of free or low-cost services available in our county. As the IOC planned this fair, we ran into another organization, Monterey Peninsula’s Community of Caring, which was planning a similar event on the same day. As a result, the IOC co-sponsored the event, eventually called the We Care Fair, at Del Monte Center in Monterey. The Community of Caring was working with Pacific Grove and Marina High Schools, with their focus being on finding volunteer opportunities for youth. The focus of the combined fair was on volunteering, with health and human services organizations also represented. The goal of the fair was to foster a community in which service is valued, encouraged and pursued.
In 2008, the IOC co-sponsored a Hunger Symposium hosted by St. Philip’s Lutheran Church. The featured speakers were former Congressman Leon Panetta and David Gist from Bread for the World.
As a part of the IOC monthly general meetings, speakers are sometimes invited to brief members on their activities and needs. Speakers in the past have included a representative of the Agriculture and Land-Based Training Association (ALBA). This organization works with farm workers to train them to be organic farmers and start their own businesses. Farmers bring their produce to churches or schools for sale. Another speaker from Shelters in a Storm spoke about preparing for emergencies and how local neighborhoods and faith communities can assist in this regard.
In 2009, the IOC arranged venues in participating faith communities for the Compassionate Care Alliance in partnership with Hospice Advance Health Care Planning Workshops. We have also provided venues for community forums conducted to pursue the idea of a new Monterey Bay Village program, designed to keep seniors living in their homes longer.
Members of the IOC celebrate together during such occasions as the 2009 Community Thanksgiving Eve Interfaith service held at the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Monterey Peninsula.
In the planning stages for 2010 is a faith explorations series designed to increase our understanding of the tenets of each other’s faith.
Also being planned in 2010 is a benefit shop that will enable us to provide more than helping hands, which are not always sufficient to deal with life-sustaining issues that stem from financial realities. An IOC benefit shop could directly address the IOC mission by tapping into the initial premise of the IOC: that we can do things collectively that we are unable to do individually.
Carmel, CA 93923
IOC staff will talk with students about various projects that range from website development, marketing plans for Joining Hands retail shop, research and analysis, accounting and event planning.
Interfaith Outreach of Carmel staff will train students in the following areas: Community Overview and Safety Policies/Procedures. Students will also receive an orientation to the Joining Hands retail space and computer.