For many years, UU Wellesley has sponsored an "Undecorate the Tree" initiative during the December holidays. Each December, we set up a tree in our Parish Hall and adorn it with gift tags--each tag represents the wish of a child or adult who often does not receive any other gifts during the holiday season. In many cases, recipients choose a necessity, such as a new winter coat or a warm robe. Gifts are purchased by UU Wellesley members and friends (young and old!) and delivered by a team of elves.
In December 2016, the "Undecorate the Tree" initiative provided an opportunity for our community to make a very real, truly meaningful contribution to the health and happiness of Burmese refugees now living in Lowell, MA. While many throughout our nation are responding to world-wide terrorist attacks with increased fear and xenophobia, UU Wellesley is working to demonstrate our openness and acceptance of others. Now is precisely the time to advocate vociferously for refugees, not only those half-a-world away, but also those who continue to struggle after having been resettled to the United States. Although much of the world’s attention of late has been on Syrian refugees, there are, of course, refugees across the world who have suffered the ravages of war and persecution.
By request of the recipients, this year we focused on providing household gifts for family units rather than for individual children. Suggested items included things like towels, cooking sets, and sheets. UU Wellesley representatives were warmly welcomed at a festive gathering of 150 Burmese refugees in Lowell; our 76 gifts were joyfully received!