When Rev. Dawn Garrett-Larsen concluded her ministry in Nelson in 2019, the Garrett-Larsen Social Justice Fund was created to honor her and carry forward our desire to help the cause of social justice in the world. The money will be given away in entirety by 2024. Many community and church members contributed generously to the fund, and we are able to give away $2,000 this year.

It seems notable that most of our applications this year involved helping people find safe and affordable shelter, one of the most basic human needs. The steering committee met in November to consider the applications, and made the following awards:

$1,000 to Monadnock Quaker Meeting in Jaffrey, to help build a short-term emergency shelter within their Meetinghouse. The funds will go toward comfortable and secure quarters for up to four people, as well as furnishings and bedding. Members of the Quaker Meeting are coordinating with local churches and social service agencies for referrals.

$500 to MATS (Monadnock Area Transitional Shelter) for its Hope Fund, which offers reliable transportation (including car repairs, vehicle registration, and gas) for guests who are experiencing homelessness, to help them toward independence. The Hope Fund is only one part of MATS’s main mission, which is to provide transitional housing and support for individuals and families in need of shelter. Since 1991, 746 people have lived at MATS, including 391 children. MATS connects individuals with community resources, legal aid, and counseling to prevent recurring homelessness.

$500 to the Sacred Ally Quilt Ministry for their work in racial justice. Our former pastor, Rev. Chris Owen, is helping to create a documentary film about this project, which will premier in New York City in May of 2022. The quilts, created by nine New Hampshire UCC churches after the death of George Floyd, are traveling to schools and churches throughout New England to inspire conversations about racial justice. Our grant was given with no restrictions to support the project.

To the many people in our congregation and wider community who have contributed to this fund: all we can say is Thank You! You are all a blessing. It is all about being a good neighbor, in the best and widest sense.

Steering Committee, Garrett-Larsen Social Justice Fund

Betsy Street, Deanna Zilske, Judy Waterston, Avery Hurley, Steve Cady, Susan Peery