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Nicole’s Yoga Class takes up a collection for Community Action’s HPV Vaccine Program: Seated front row from left, Betsy Robertson, Nicole Marie (Yoga Instructor), Sandy Eppy. In back, Kay Banning, Diann McCabe, Gaynell Pilcher, Jeannie Lewis, Chris Jorgenson, Diane Laumer and Carol Husbands.
Pictured are Jeannie Lewis, SMUUF Social Justice Chair, Nell Newton, SMUUF Ministerial Intern and Carole Belver, Executive Director for Community Action.

SMUUF raises money for HPV vaccines

From Staff Reports

The San Marcos Unitarian Universalist Fellowship (SMUUF) found out recently that the local social service agency, Community Action, had no funds to provide HPV vaccine to those who need it, and decided to Donate-the-Plate to this cause. And a Wednesday morning yoga class that meets in the church also found out about the shortage of HPV vaccine funds, and decided to take up a collection among the students (and teacher) to help, too.  
The SMUUF congregation donated a generous $900 and Nicole’s Yoga Class donated an impressive $850.
Carole Belver, Executive Director of Community Action, said, “An infection of the human papilloma virus (HPV) can lead to life-threatening cancers of the reproductive system, such as cervical cancer, but a series of vaccines given over several months can produce an immunity to the virus.
“The virus is spread through sexual contact, so young women need to have the vaccine early to have time to develop an immunity. And males can spread the virus to females, so they also benefit from vaccination.”
The vaccine is expensive—about $250 per person for the series.
Belver said, “We know there are facilities in the San Marcos area that provide no or low cost vaccines to teens and pre-teens under the age of 19 who are either on CHIP or Medicaid, or have no insurance or have insurance that does not cover the vaccine. But this does not cover all who need it.”
Jeannie Lewis, Social Justice Chair for SMUUF, said, “When we heard about this shortage of funds for the HPV vaccine, we knew it was an area that called for our help.  Once a month, we donate all the extra contributions in our Sunday offering, other than pledge payments and designated donations, to a worthy local non-profit that aligns with our social justice concerns. We have taken a congregational stand to support reproductive justice, so this cause was a perfect fit.”
“I am so pleased and impressed by the generosity of this congregation and their willingness to take a stand on important social justice issues,” said Nell Newton, Ministerial Intern for SMUUF.
Nicole Marie, yoga instructor for Nicole’s Yoga Class, said, “When this issue was brought to my students’ attention, they unanimously agreed to take up a collection to help provide the HPV vaccine to local residents. When there is a fifth Wednesday in the month, I ask students to donate to a local cause, rather than pay the class fee.  And, of course, they always donate way beyond what they would pay for the class.”
Belver says, “We at Community Action, are so grateful to SMUUF and Nicole’s Yoga Class for their generous donations.  Now, with these funds we can help a number of individuals—and maybe save a life.”
If you are interested in donating to the HPV Vaccine Program at Community Action, contact Carole Belver at (512) 392-1161. To contact SMUUF, go to www.smuuf.org or call Jeannie Lewis at (512) 353-2872. To check out Nicole’s Yoga Class that meets at 10 a.m. each Wednesday at the UCM, 510 N. Guadalupe Street, contact Nicole Marie at nmkshalom@gmail.com.

San Marcos Record

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