EASTSIDE INTERFAITH SOCIAL CONCERNS COUNCIL MINUTES
P.O. Box 662, Bellevue, WA 98009-0662
May 13, 2014
Visit our newly remodeled website at EISCC.net
The meeting was held in Bristol Hall of St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church beginning at 12:00 noon.
WELCOME: The meeting was called to order and conducted by EISCC President Warren Marquardson.
OPENING REFLECTION: Tom Steffen provided the opening reflection.
SELF-INTRODUCTIONS were made by 35 representatives and guests.
MINUTES of the April 8, 2014, meeting were approved as submitted.
TREASURER’S REPORT: The Treasurer was not present at the meeting. Warren reminded our member organizations to forward their dues payments for the current year – if they have not already done so.
REFRESHMENT COORDINATOR: Many thanks to Jerry Hatfield, Warren Marquardson, Anne St. Germain, Jan Starr, and Tom Steffen for providing the day’s refreshments.
Congregations for Kids: Nancy Jacobs reported that Congregations for Kids expects to serve about 1650 students in the Bellevue School District for the next school year. This year they will be adding a pilot project at Phantom Lake Elementary School to provide one new, age-appropriate book to each of their students. Handouts were provided detailing items that will be needed for next year’s backpacks. Note that they will be substituting 2″ binders for 3″ binders this year – they found that the larger binders were just too large for easy use. If you are interested in supporting this effort, the list of desired items that they are seeking can also be found on the project website athttp://congregations4kids.org/.
Backpack Meals: Jan Starr reported that the project was completing its second year of operation. Jan offered thanks for all of the support that has been given to this project over the last year and to those who supported it during the Seattle Foundation’s Give Big one-day giving event on May 6!
Legislative Coordinator: Jean Harris had nothing to report, as the legislature is not currently in session. Warren added that he had testified on the marijuana retailing moratorium being considered by the Bellevue City Council and that some other Eastside cities have already determined that they would not currently like to have marijuana retail operations within their cities and have established moratoria on such sales.
REACH (Renton Ecumenical Association of Churches) Center of Hope: Center Director Linda Smith reported that the center will be celebrating its first anniversary on Monday, June 16, 2014, from 4:30 to 5:30 pm at their location at Renton City Hall (the old, now remodeled Renton jail), 1055 S Grady Way, Renton. There will also be tours of the facilities available both before and after the celebration from 10 am to 7 pm. The center provides services to homeless women and women with children in the Renton area to assist them in transitioning from homelessness to stability. They have both a day center and night shelter. They can provide some outreach medical care and have arranged for other services through Catholic Community Services. Volunteer hours and financial contributions are the key elements to their support. For more information, visit their website at reachrenton.org.
Congregations for the Homeless Day Center: Henry Delle Chiaie, the Day Center Manager, reported on the new day center for homeless men that Congregations for the Homeless is operating at the First Congregational Church at 108th Ave NE and Ne 8th St in Bellevue. They consider the day center the front line for Congregations for the Homeless – men will make contact there before being accepted into the nightly shelter program. When first opened, they were serving up to 70 men daily. During the newly warming weather, attendance has fallen to about 45 daily. The center is open from 8 am to 3 pm Monday through Friday. The center will eventually need to be relocated when the First Congregational Church vacates the location after the recent sale of the property – relocation expected to be next May.
The center provides shower and laundry facilities, meals, bus tickets, computer access, resume help, and other similar services. They are especially looking for help with food for the meals – this can be either prepared or unprepared foods – they can cook it up if necessary. They are also looking for personal hygiene items such as toothpaste and toothbrushes, shampoos, and razor blades – those distributed to guests at hotels are ideal. If you would like to find out more about the needs and how you can support this project, visit the Congregations for the Homeless website at http://cfhomeless.org/services/cfh-day-center/.
Ahmadiyya Seattle Muslim Community Center: Muhammad Ejaz Sial of the Center provided a brief overview of the Ahmadiyya Community – a rather recent development within the broader Muslim Community – with special note of its strong tradition of peace and non-violence and focus on social justice.
The center will be holding approximately 20 blood drives throughout the greater Seattle area with the Puget Sound Blood Center. They would also like to partner with other churches, shelters, and community organizations to sponsor and host additional blood drives. The blood drives are part of a national Ahmadiyya project. Visit their website at http://muslimsforlife.org/ for more information. They would be happy to send us alerts for future drives once they have a local schedule setup.
The center also performs many food drives and can participate in such events in the wider community. They have had two food drives within the past two months to benefit the men’s and women’s shelters in the community.
PROGRAM: Native Women in Need
Norine Hill, the Executive Director of Native Women in Need, provided an overview of her organization. Their mission is to provide culturally appropriate support services, advocacy, and mentorship to meet the needs of Native American women both on or off (especially off) the reserve. Their vision is to enrich their overall well being, to inspire them, and to help them find their place in society with dignity and pride. They have applied for their 501(c)3 designation and are hopeful that they will be receiving it very soon.
Their cultural program is designed and serviced by Native American credentialed Elders who apply culture to clinical practice. It is geared to help the women to become independent and overcome addictions, domestic violence, sexual abuse, and homelessness. The cultural programs include talking circles and sweat lodges – programs not easily found elsewhere in the community. The focus is on building healthy relationships and dealing with dysfunctional families. Many women prefer to come to an off-reserve group for this kind of help for reasons of confidentiality.
They serve women 18 and over. The women need to be 23 or over for Recovery House. Most of the women are single, although some have children.
The cultural programs are currently offered at the Native Women in Recovery House in the Skyway area of Seattle. Women applying for the Recovery House must be clean and sober for 30 days before acceptance. They find that intake works best right out of treatment.
They have provided advocacy services for women, especially in situations of domestic violence. They have served as advocate in both public and tribal courts and in a variety of committees.
Norine introduced Velma Wyena, a recipient of services from Native Women in Need. Velma has completed their program and is currently studying for her CDP certification, which would allow her to help provide the kind of chemical dependency counseling services that she benefitted from herself. She is currently serving as the manager at the Recovery House. She reported an 80% success rate in helping the women to move on with their lives in a more stable manner.
The organization is looking for locations at which it could offer its workshops, particularly in Seattle, the Central Area, or the Southend. They are also looking for household goods such as furniture, linens, etc. for those moving on. For the house, they could use patio furniture – including a BBQ – and a blender. They could use some assistance with administrative support. It is preferred that such volunteers have some background experience and/or knowledge of Native Americans and their culture. For more information, you may contact the group by e-mail at email@example.com or call 206-715-7514.
Karen Waalkes reminded us that the Center of Hope 1st Anniversary Celebration will be held at Renton City Hall on Thursday, June 16, 4 – 7 pm. Note that this is a change from the May date reported earlier, due to unexpected, last-minute scheduling complications. All are welcome. Tours will run both before and after the event from 10 am to 7 pm.
Karina O’Malley and Jan Starr reminded us of the Eastside CROP Walks for Hunger with Church Worldwide Services. One event will be held on Saturday, May 17, 9:30 am to 1 pm. Registration begins at 9:15 am. This will start at Hopelink in Kirkland (where some food sorting will take place) and be followed by a walk to Holy Spirit Lutheran Church. The second walk will be Sunday, May 18, 1 – 3 pm, at the Bellevue First Methodist Church, 1934 108th Ave NE, Bellevue. Registration for that event begins at 12:30 pm. Proceeds from both events will go to local organizations such as Hopelink and other international charities which work to eliminate hunger. For more details on both events, go the Church Worldwide Services website http://hunger.cwsglobal.org/site/PageServer?pagename=events_wa.
Steve Roberts reminded us that the annual fundraising benefit event for Congregations for the Homeless at California Pizza Kitchen will be held May 23, 24, and 25 at the Bellevue location at 595 106th Ave NE. Take in their promotional flyer and get 20% off your check for dine-in, take-out, and catering – including alcoholic beverages! The flyer is attached to this mailing.
Real Change is starting a new initiative to reduce the county’s homeless population by 1,000 people this year. To kick off their effort, they will be holding a shoe drive and outside-in rally, Walk a Mile in My Shoes, to make a public statement about the issue. They hope to collect 3,123 pairs of shoes – each pair representing one of the homeless men, women, and children who were counted without basic shelter in the January homeless count. Shoes that can be reused, will be donated to the homeless. Those that can’t be reused will be recycled. Shoes may be dropped off at the Real Change office at 96 S Main St, Seattle or to Redeeming Soles drop off locations (visit their website at redeemingsoles.org). If your group would like to collect shoes for the homeless and would like an 11″ by 17″ poster to advertise the collection, please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. The rally will be held at Westlake Park on Sunday, May 18, from 1 – 3 pm. Find out more about the event or download a flyer at the Real Change website:http://realchangenews.org/index.php/site/advocacy/Events.
United Way indicates that Food Lifeline is willing to sponsor additional meal sites for the Summer Food Service Program. They would like to know if any EISCC groups would be interested in running a free meals program for youth 18 and under during the summer. These groups would need to purchase food and handle paperwork, provide safe food storage, and have volunteers with food handling permits. Sites would need to be in eligible locations based on number of students enrolled in free and reduced lunch programs in the area. For more information, contact Marie Eberlein at United Way, email@example.com. She can be reached by phone at 206-461-3723. Note that the deadline for applications is May 15, but they may be flexible – but you should inquire right away if you are interested.
Hank Myers of the Eastside Friends of Seniors reports that their group is looking for support from congregations with meals, transportation, home repairs, and other services for Eastside seniors. For more information about this group and their needs, visit their website at http://eastsidefriendsofseniors.org/.
Danielle Prince of the Eastside Legal Assistance Program reported that they will be conducting several workshops on the Eastside in the near future. On Wednesday, May 21, 12 – 1 pm, at the Mercer Island Public Library, they will present a program on Long Term Care and Estate Planning. On Wednesday, May 28, 6 – 8 pm, at the ELAP Bellevue Office, they will present a program on Bankruptcy Issues. For more information, visit their website at http://elap.org/.
CLOSING REFLECTION: The meeting ended with a closing reflection by Karen Studders.
THE NEXT EISCC MEETING will take place on Tuesday, June 10, 12:00 – 1:30 p.m. PROGRAM: LDS SOCIAL AND EMERGENCY SERVICES. LOCATION: BRISTOL HALL, ST. MARGARET’S EPISCOPAL CHURCH, 4228 FACTORIA BOULEVARD SE, BELLEVUE (ACROSS FROM NEWPORT HIGH SCHOOL)