January 5, 2015
The Community Service & Social Action Board (CSSA) awarded Inspiration Grants of $2000 each to the following three organizations at its December 9, 2014 meeting,
-EarthCorps, sponsored by Carol Burkhart and Jane Alley
-Northwest Harvest, sponsored by Jim Halfaker
-Facing Homelessness, sponsored by Diana Dunnell
EarthCorps, a Seattle nonprofit, builds a global community of leaders through local environmental service. They envision a world where people live in balance with the earth.
According to the grant application, EarthCorps members and volunteers provide more than 100,000 hours of environmental service throughout the Puget Sound. Training the next generation of environmental professionals and global citizen, EarthCorps connects thousands of people to leadership development, cross-cultural understanding and environmental service-learning projects.
Jane has been involved for 14 years. “I became involved as a home stay for international participants in Spring 2000 through a friend of Plymouth, Ann Lawrence. From 2000-2010, I had the privilege of hosting young women, two at a time, for six month periods,” she said.
Carol said, “I have gone to EarthCorps fundraisers for the last 4 years and made financial contributions. My daughter is also on the board of directors and is finishing her two year term as Board President. I assisted in hosting a Corps member from Peru and made connections with others at the fundraisers. I was inspired by the commitment to helping the environment; it made me want to be a part of it.”
This Inspiration Grant will help support leadership training and international corps members as well as necessary and costly tools of the trade – shovels, chainsaws, gloves, safety equipment and more. Many volunteer opportunities are available.
Northwest Harvest provides nutritious food to hungry people statewide. They collect, buy and distribute food to 350 food banks. Northwest Harvest gathers information regarding the impact of food insufficiency on people’s lives and educates donors and legislators as they make gifts and create legislative solutions toward ending widespread hunger.
Jim Halfaker helped found the organization 40 years ago. Ten years ago, he returned to active participation and currently serves as lead member for the Education and Advocacy Committee.
“Looking into the faces of the hundreds who stand in line to receive food, from every race and sociological background, makes one humble and grateful…the social justice component is becoming increasingly clear,” said Jim.
The Inspiration Grant will help enhance the increasingly active education and advocacy work. He also suggested that a Plymouth person could become a Board member. Volunteers are also needed to pack and distribute food.
Facing Homelessness, a new Seattle nonprofit, helps raise awareness about our relationship to homelessness through photography, storytelling and direct giving. Facebook site, ‘Homeless in Seattle’ provides a visual narrative about the issue through the beauty of the person. While Facing Homelessness addresses basic needs such as bus tickets, gas cards and sleeping bags, the organization also aims to humanize the issue through their online presence, which was established in 2010.
Diana volunteers with direct donations and serves individuals in emergency situations. She spent an entire day with a woman who needed her van (also her home) rescued from impoundment so the vehicle could be repaired. “Homelessness is such a huge issue; this organization works to bring it down to a personal level, to help everyone see the beauty and story of the individual who is homeless.”
The Inspiration Grant will help sustain operations as the organization establishes itself as a new nonprofit organization. Service and training workshops may provide opportunities for Plymouth members who would like to volunteer.