EASTSIDE INTERFAITH SOCIAL CONCERNS COUNCIL MINUTES
P.O. Box 662, Bellevue, WA 98009-0662
September 8, 2015
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 Diane Richards.
OPENING REFLECTION: Elizabeth Maupin provided the opening prayer.
SELF-INTRODUCTIONS were made by 22 representatives and guests.
MINUTES of the July 14, 2015, meeting were approved as submitted.
TREASURER’S REPORT: The Treasurer was not present at the meeting, but she did provide Diane with an update. There were no additional dues payments made since the last meeting. Our insurance premium in the amount of $777 was paid. The Council has slowly been developing a surplus, and we will be giving some thought at our October meeting about what should be done with it.
NOMINATING COMMITTEE: In the absence of Steve Roberts, the Nominating Committee chair, Betty Spohn presented the slate from the committee. Nominees for next year’s officers include:
President Tony Copes
President Elect Linda Hillesheim
Past President Diane Richards
Secretary Dick Jacke
Treasurer Kimberly Delcuore
Nominees for the at-large board positions include:
Rev. Steve Baber
Rev. J. C. Mitchell
Anne St. Germain
It was noted that we are in the process of trying to replace the Treasurer with a person who is better able to attend our Board and General Membership meetings. Kimberly has been willing to continue as Treasurer until we are able to find a replacement for this rather specialized position.
REFRESHMENT COORDINATOR: Many thanks to Ginny Arundell, Trish Rogers, and Betty Spohn for providing the day’s refreshments.
Backpack Meals: Jan Starr was not present and did not send a report
Congregations for Kids: Nancy Jacobs reported that the main effort for the year has been winding down, although the project has become more of a year-round project than it used to be. The backpacks and supplies were delivered to 11 schools with the help of a Jubilee Reach truck and two committee members delivered to 2 other schools. The remaining schools picked up the backpacks and/or supplies at the project site. 1575 students received their backpacks and/or school supplies before school started. 76 additional backpacks with supplies were packed for new students that would enter the district after school starts. 819 students in grades K, 2nd, 4th, 6th, 9th, and 11th received both backpacks and supplies. As backpacks last longer than a single year, 832 students in the other grades received supplies only. They estimate that they will serve about 1651 students this year, compared to 1508 last year.
The value of the project this year is almost $60,000, based on prices on their inventory list and the number of students at each grade level. This is nearly $12,000 more than last year. They had over $19,800 in expenses this year, compared to $13,800 last year – mainly due to more kids served and the higher cost of supplies, especially high school backpacks. Their income is down this year, because 7 of the 27 congregations that participated last year did not participate this year.
Legislative Coordinator: Jean Harris had no report, as the legislature is not in session.
Hopelink: Dave Bowlan was not present and did not send a report.
CarbonWA Initiative I-732: Court Olson of East Shore Unitarian Church reported on this initiative issue. The legislature failed to act on the Governor’s carbon initiative this last year, but citizens now have the opportunity to back a revenue-neutral carbon tax that will help to address climate change. The tax would be imposed on certain fossil fuels and fossil-fuel-generated electricity. The tax of Revenue-neutral means that the funds raised by the tax would go directly to offset other current taxes or provide tax rebates and would not provide any revenue to the state general fund. Rather than going to the state coffers, our current state sales tax would be reduced by one percentage point, up to a $1500 increase in Working Families Tax Rebate would be provided for low-income families, and manufacturing businesses which would be hard hit by these increased taxes would be given reductions in B&O taxes. Signature gathering for this initiative is now in full swing. Court urged those present to sign the petitions and to consider volunteering to gather signatures themselves. For more information about the campaign or to volunteer, contact the CarbonWA office at email@example.com or visit their website,carbonwa.org. Also, see attachment.
Best Start for Kids: Erik Gartland and Lorelei Walker spoke for Sound Alliance and its support of the new King County initiative, Best Start for Kids. This program would provide the resources to invest early in a child’s development to deliver the greatest returns. It is particularly concerned to offset adverse juvenile impacts such as health, inadequate education, domestic violence, mental illness, homelessness, and others. Funds would be raised through a six-year levy on property at 14 cents per $1,000 of assessed value. This would raise about $58 million in the first year and about $392 million over the six-year levy period. The cost to the average King County homeowner would be approximately $56 per year.
Half of the funds raised would be invested in strategies focused on children under age five and pregnant women. 35% would be invested in strategies focused on children and youth aged five through twenty-four. 9% would be invested in community-led strategies through expansion of the partnership between King County and the Seattle Foundation on the Communities of Opportunity project. 6% would support evaluation, data collection, and improving the delivery of services and programs for children and youth.
For more information about this initiative, which will appear on the November ballot, visit the website atwww.kingcounty.gov/beststarts or contact Jennifer DeYoung at 206-263-8642. Sound Alliance is also in the process of doing briefings on the initiative with groups around the County. If you would like to arrange a briefing for your group, please contact Erik at firstname.lastname@example.org.
PROGRAM: Emergency Feeding Program Belynda Dunbar and Marlene Poland spoke about their organization. It was founded in 1977 in a Seattle church basement by a group concerned that many groups providing food to the hungry often struggled to be able to provide healthy, nutritious food to their clients – particularly for those with special dietary needs. Today, the Emergency Feeding Program is able to provide 15 different varieties of non-perishable food bags to meet a wide array of needs. They have Asian, Latino, East African, and Vegan packs that provide foods that are culturally appropriate, familiar, and healthy. From diabetic-friendly low-sugar packs to heart-healthy low-sodium packs, and even high-protein liquid packs, they have foods for folks with medical restrictions too. They also have special assortments for homeless individuals or families and infant formula and a week’s supply of baby foods.
EFP understands that food banks are not open seven days a week and many have eligibility restrictions. Therefore, they have arranged to partner with over 240 collaborating social service agencies, food banks, schools, public health clinics, and faith communities to make food accessible when and where people need it. Somewhere in King County, food packs are available seven days a week. They have 50 stores, 32 of which are staffed. Volunteers are needed to staff these outlets, and it is possible to work in shifts with others. Kids are welcome to volunteer to fulfill their volunteer service requirements.
Each bag of food contains six meals and should be good for one or two days. The bags vary, but an average bag costs $21. Year to date, they have provided 228,615 meals. They hope to be able to provide 650,000 meals annually by 2016.
They have 5 staff, including 1 truck driver, and many volunteers. In 2016, they are hoping to be able to expand into Snohomish County. Eventually, they hope to expand to Pierce County as well.
If you would like to help this program, there are two events coming up soon which might be of interest. The first is their 23rd Annual Mayor’s Day of Concern Food Drive on September 19, 2015. They need volunteers to help collect food at assigned stores. On Saturday, October 24, from 5 to 8 pm, they will be holding a Fighting Hunger Gala fundraiser at their offices at 851 Houser Way N in Renton. More information on both these events and on their programs generally can be found at their website, www.emergencyfeeding.org, or by phone at 206-329-0300.
Karen Studders reported that the US Department of Justice has suggested that criminalizing homelessness could be a violation of human rights. See the attached documents.
Karen also reported that WHEEL/Mary’s Place Women in Black and the Church Council of Greater Seattle will hold an Cleansing Ritual of Healing and Meditative Walk to Restore the Balance of Justice to honor the homeless who have died in King County this year. It will be begin on Wednesday, September 23, at 5:30 pm, under the Magnolia Bridge at W Garfield, where Stacy Davis was recently murdered, and progress in a meditative walk to W Bertona and 17th W, the site of the planned new SHARE/WHEEL Interbay Encampment.
Allen Bolen of Camp Unity reported that their search for a new site for their encampment has not been going well. They must move by October 7, but they have been so far unable to identify a new location which will accommodate them. A number of churches that had been approached as possible sites have said no. Fellow campmates Chris Yager and Stan Pinchan also spoke, adding that the uncertainty of the situation was adversely affecting the mental state of those at the encampment. They urged that congregations seriously consider making a commitment to help in this situation. In addition to a new site, Camp Unity is always in need of meals support. Visit their website atcampunityeastside.com to see how you might volunteer.
Ginny Arundell reported on the Salvation Army dinners that Overlake Park Presbyterian Church will begin hosting on October 1, 2015, to allow the current host to complete their building project. If your group is currently supplying meals for these dinners, please note the change of venue.
Karina O’Malley reported that the Sophia Way would be holding its annual fundraising luncheon on Thursday, October 1, 11:30 am to 1:30 pm, at the Bellevue Red Lion Hotel at 11211 Main Street. Visit their website atsophiaway.org for more information. Karina also reported that they are also looking for volunteers to provide meals for their clients.
Anne St. Germain invites your participation in an event honoring the International Day of Peace which will be held on Sunday, September 20, at 5 pm, at the Eastside Friends Meetinghouse. There will be a light supper at 5 pm, and you are welcome to bring a dish to share. This will be followed by a showing of President Obama’s eulogy for the Reverend Charles Pinckney. See attached flyer.
Sandy Lewis reported that Congregations for the Homeless will be having their annual fundraiser on Friday, May 6, 2016, at the Bellevue Hyatt. Hold the date!
Warren Marquardson reported that the LDS youth will be having a special day of service on Saturday, November 14. If you know of projects in the community that would be good candidates for this service day, contact Warren at425-643-2250 or email@example.com
Karen Studders reported that another poverty immersion experience will be offered on September 27, from 2 to 5 pm, at the Evangelical Chinese Church, 17460 NE 67th Ct, Redmond, WA. See flyer for more details. The event is sponsored by the church, the Seattle University School of Theology and Ministry, and the Union Gospel Mission. These experiences provide an opportunity to role play a month in the lives of low-income people and much insight into the impact of poverty on our community.
Elizabeth Maupin reported on several programs offered by the Issaquah Sammamish Interfaith Coalition. The firstMeaningful Conversation , on September 15, 6:30 PM, at the Issaquah Public Library, will be focused on drug addiction and recovery among youth. Film clips followed by real stories from a former user and a parent coping with addicted children and by dialog with the audience. Jaclyn Lane, Substance Abuse Counselor at Friends of Youth, and Kristen Zuray from the Trail Ministry will be present to share how their organizations are assisting youth on the path to recovery. Don’t miss out on this great community opportunity! Free.
On October 20, 6:30 PM, at the Issaquah Public Library, the next Meaningful Conversation will be led by Rex Hohlbein of “Facing Homelessness”.
Dick Jacke reported for Bill Kirlin-Hackett on the 15th Political Will Annual Conference which will address how the political will to end homelessness can be created. The event will be held Wednesday, September 16, 11 am to 3:15 pm at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church in Bellevue. The Rev. Kelly Dahlman-Oeth, pastor at Lake Washington United Methodist Church in Kirkland will be the keynote speaker. See attached brochure for details.
CLOSING REFLECTION: Karen Studders provided a closing blessing from Spirit Walker by Nancy Wold.
THE NEXT EISCC MEETING will take place on Tuesday, October 13, 2015, 12:00 – 1:30 pm
PROGRAM: The Future Direction of EISCC
LOCATION: BRISTOL HALL, ST. MARGARET’S EPISCOPAL CHURCH, 4228 FACTORIA BOULEVARD SE, BELLEVUE (ACROSS FROM NEWPORT HIGH SCHOOL)