Making an Impact Across Central Oregon - September 2016
Shelter, Food, Education, Homeownership
As one of Central Oregon's largest nonprofit organizations, NeighborImpact serves 55,000 people annually in Crook, Deschutes and Jefferson counties and the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs. The services offered by our organization are designed to assist people in building a future for themselves and their families while strengthening the communities around us.
With your help, NeighborImpact's Food Assistance Program feeds more than 20,000 people each month. We partner with grocery stores, such as Market of Choice and Safeway, to recover and distribute fruit, vegetables, dairy, and meat in order to share with those who might not be able to afford such items.
We also partner with 42 programs across Central Oregon, including nonprofit organizations, shelters, and churches, to distribute fresh and shelf-stable food to those that need it. Last year, NeighborImpact distributed 3.7 million pounds of food to partners, providing over 3.08 million meals to neighbors. NeighborImpact serves as the backbone of our network and provides the infrastructure and resources to recover and distribute food on such a large scale. Food and cash donations are necessary on an ongoing basis in order for the program to run.Program feeds more than 20,000 people each month. We partner with grocery stores, such as Market of Choice and Safeway, to recover and distribute fruit, vegetables, dairy, and meat in order to share with those who might not be able to afford such items.
"Keeping our Food Bank shelves stocked is important not only to NeighborImpact, but to all of the organizations and programs we serve. Without NeighborImpact, many of the local nonprofits and groups providing meals and food boxes would need to purchase trucks to transport food, host food drives on a regular basis, and compete for funding," says Ms. Sanders. "We have an incredible network with amazing partners and we at the Food Bank are proud to be a part of it and provide such a necessary piece of the system."
NeighborImpact's Food Distribution Partners 2016 include:
Prineville First Baptist Church
Prineville Brown Bag @ St VDP
Soroptomist Senior Center
St. Vincent De Paul – Prineville
Mountain Star Family Relief Nursery Prineville
Warm Springs Presbyterian Church
United Methodist BackPack Buddies
United Methodist Church Food Bank
United Methodist Madras Brown Bag
Mountain Star Family Relief Nursery Madras
Seventh Day Adventists Community Center - Madras
Bend's Community Center
Bread of Life -Westside Church (Sisters Brown Bag)
Cascade Peer & Self Help Center
Crooked River Brown Bag
Faith Harvest Helpers
Family Kitchen (Trinity Episcopal)
Holy Trinity Care & Share
Jericho Weekend Food
La Pine Community Pantry
La Pine Community Kitchen
Mountain Star Family Relief Nursery Bend
Nativity Lutheran Church
Newport Ave Brown Bag
Redmond Community Church
Seventh Day Adventist Community Center - Redmond
Smith Rock Community Church
St. Vincent De Paul - Bend
St. Vincent De Paul - La Pine
St. Vincent De Paul - Redmond
Terrebonne Brown Bag
The Giving Plate
The Loft - Cascades Youth & Family
The Shepherd's House
Little Deschutes Grange Brown Bag
Redmond Assembly of God
Although the school year has almost begun, NeighborImpact Head Start is still accepting applications for the 2016-2017 academic year. “There is a buzz of excitement in the air,” said Dani Wyeth, Family and Community Partnership Manager for Head Start. “Teachers and staff have begun setting up their classrooms and participating in professional development training in anticipation of students returning to or starting school. We still have slots available across Crook and Deschutes Counties, especially in La Pine, Redmond and Prineville. So, if families are interested in a high-quality, yet free, preschool education program, I encourage them to apply!”
During the 2015-2016 school year, NeighborImpact Head Start maintained 8 sites and 24 Head Start Classrooms across Crook and Deschutes Counties.
Highlights from last year include:
533 children served
12 homeless families acquired housing
90% of children were ready for school by end of Head Start program
100% Head Start children were connected with health/nutrition professionals
For more information about NeighborImpact’s Head Start program or to download an application, please visit our website at www.neighborimpact.org/services/head-start.
NeighborImpact’s Energy Assistance Program aids qualifying households by paying a portion of their energy costs. Services include utility shut-off prevention, heating assistance with electricity, natural gas, oil, propane, wood, and pellets. This summer, however, the Energy Assistance Program expanded into new territory by helping families keep their homes cool during the hot summer months.
“When the change came about at the state level this year and provided funding to help with electric bills for cooling, we knew this was a great service to provide residents in Central Oregon,” says Joyce Cranston, NeighborImpact’s Energy Assistance Program Manager. “Helping clients with energy bills in the summer also helps them stay current with their bills before winter, which are typically more extreme and costly.”
During the 2015-2016 fiscal year, the Energy Assistance Program served over 12,000 individuals and provided more than $2,054,500 in energy assistance dollars to low-income residents in Deschutes, Jefferson, and Crook Counties. This year, the number of individuals and amount of funding distributed is sure to increase.
“As soon as we received confirmation that the funds were available and had the staff in place to work with an influx of requests, we started conducting community outreach,” says Cranston. “We have been very busy, which we like since we know that our clients are getting the help they need.“
For more information about the Energy Assistance program or for eligibility requirements, click here.
Supporting Those Who Care for Others
In order to expand quality child care options and help child care providers strengthen their businesses, NeighborImpact’s Child Care Resources (CCR) Program provides professional development for those working in the early learning field. Face-to-face trainings, technical assistance, and navigation of the Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) are just a few ways our CCR staff assist providers across our tri-county region.
In addition, Child Care Resources, in partnership with the Oregon Department of Education and the Central Oregon Community College Early Childhood Education Program (COCC), has developed the Partners in Practice (PiP) program focused on increasing access, relevancy and opportunity for those working in child care and education settings. In the past two years and in partnership with COCC, we have been able to award 488 college scholarships, totaling more than $189,000, to local child care providers. Providers were able to take courses in Early Childhood Development and Early Learning at COCC in the evening and on weekends in order to fit their schedules.
“Those working closely with children need opportunities to increase understanding and skills while balancing professional development, family commitments and financial responsibilities,” says Karen Prow, Associate Director of Child Care Resources at NeighborImpact. “Many child care providers face barriers to access college courses in light of owning and operating child care programs during the typical work week. Therefore, as part of the Partners in Practice grant, COCC extended course offerings to include night, weekend, and alternative schedules for classes and COCC was able to offer three and four credit courses over several, full-day classes instead of the traditional once or twice per week offerings.”
As a result of the PiP program and ongoing professional assistance provided by CCR, we have 54 QRIS Star Rated programs in Central Oregon and 46 additional programs pursuing a Star rating. Overall, CCR served 1426 people, reaching more than 7850 children, and 312 programs in 2015.
For more information on NeighbortImpact’s Child Care Resources program, please visit our website at www.neighborimpact.org/services/child-care-resources. For the latest Child Care Resources newsletter, visit www.neighborimpact.org/CCR_Provider_Newsletter.pdf.
It felt like it was still years away
Zach and Katie purchased their first home in Prineville with help from NeighborImpact’s HomeSource Program. Working with HomeSource staff, Zach and Katie set up an Individual Development Account (IDA), which matched their funds 3 to 1 to help them make their dream a reality. Katie found out about HomeSource and the IDA program as an employee of NeighborImpact Head Start in Prineville.
“My son went through Head Start and now working for Head Start, I work with a lot of families in similar situations to us,” Katie says. “Going through this process was such a positive experience. Working with HomeSource and seeing how happy they were to help, and just so willing to share their knowledge with us, I suggest it to all the families who come to me with goals.”
Katie and Zach agree that the process of purchasing your first home can be overwhelming, but that the IDA program is set up to give hard-working individuals and families the boost they need to reach major goals like homeownership while setting them up for future success.
Katie continues, “They (Head Start families) say ‘We want to own a house but I don't think we can,’ and so I send them to HomeSource. I say ‘Just call them, just email them, and they can answer all your questions and you will be astounded at how close you are.’ Because at the beginning of this year I talked to Victoria and we talked to the loan department, just to see how close we were. And at that time it felt like it was still years away for us. So talking to everybody and getting that outside perspective felt really great.”
Now, less than a year later, they’re getting settled in and planning for an increasingly stable future. “This program was really empowering. It didn't feel like we were being given a handout. It felt like we were being given this great wealth of knowledge,” Katie says, referring to the program’s educational component, which includes workshops on home buying and personal finance. “An opportunity,” Zach adds.
“Right, an opportunity to grow and to be part of a process that before we felt like we just had to follow directions in. Suddenly, it felt like we had a say in what was happening. No one was giving us a house—we earned a house and that's what was happening. It felt more like a deal between the buyer and the seller than it did before, like they were being courteous and letting us buy their house.” HomeSource workshops also help to encourage positive financial behaviors that last beyond the IDA program. Money management strategies help families find stability in more ways than one, as the program initiates conversations about family finances that can be tempting to avoid.
“I feel like we're more on the same page now, as far as budgeting and finances,” says Katie. “We talk about it a lot more now than we did before the classes. Because before it felt a lot like we thought of it as one of the jobs that had to be done in the household. One person was in charge of the finances and one person was in charge of taking care of stuff around the house, and there wasn't a lot of communication back and forth between those two things.”
“So now we're just kind of taking it on all together,” Zach responds. “Which might have been an argument that we had had previously.” Katie laughs. “Possibly.”
For more information about HomeSource and the IDA program, click here.
Weatherization: Money Savings and Air Quality Improvements
During fiscal year 2015-2016, NeighborImpact's Weatherization program completed 106 whole-house weatherization projects. With the average costs of $7800 per home, NeighborImpact provided residents with substantial improvements that will save money for years to come.
“Home weatherization is important for area residents, especially those on a fixed income, in terms of saving money and reducing energy usage,” says Ken Hanna, NeighborImpact’s Weatherization Manager. “But the real benefit for many is that their homes are more comfortable in the winter months. People can keep their thermostats at a reasonable temperature and still see a reduction in their energy costs. This is a very compelling service that we provide since no one should be cold in their own homes.”
In addition to ongoing weatherization projects, this summer, NeighborImpact’s Weatherization Program began to work with the University of Oregon and the Oregon Research Institute on an EPA-funded study. This study examines how weatherization affects the indoor air quality of homes and the health of people who live in them. Home weatherization tightens the building shell to conserve energy by adding insulation, sealing holes with foam and caulk, and adding weather-stripping. Leaky ducts are also repaired and overall building air flow is improved by adding a special fan. As a result, the air quality within the home changes. This change can have a direct effect on the occupants’ health, and a recent Department of Energy study found that Weatherization Assistance both reduces the need for urgent health care associated with thermal stress and decreases asthma-related Medicaid claims and costs.
“We are excited to participate in this study alongside the University of Oregon,” says Hanna. “Through non-invasive monitoring, the research team will be able to measure a home’s indoor air quality before and after weatherization, and evaluate the longer term effects on health.”
Board Spotlight: Chad Carpenter
Native Central Oregonian, Chad Carpenter, has served on the NeighborImpact Board of Directors since 2014. He joined the board because he wanted help improve the quality of life for those who, like him, call this place home.
“NeighborImpact is doing great things within Central Oregon,” says Chad. “When given the opportunity, I jumped at the chance to serve on the Board because I was excited to lend my voice to help direct such an amazing agency doing such important work in our region. I consider it a great honor to be associated with one of the leading nonprofits in Central Oregon and to serve in the capacity of Board President.”
Chad grew up in Prineville and has spent his career working in both in the private and nonprofit sectors. Currently residing in Sunriver with his wife and three daughters, he is involved in the community as a member of the La Pine Business Vitality Action Team, the South Deschutes County Partnership for Adult Education, and is currently the Adult Recreation and Education Coordinator at the La Pine Park and Recreation District. Chad is also the Lead Pastor of Calvary Chapel in La Pine.
Although the work of the NeighborImpact Board is not necessarily on the ‘front-lines' when it comes to directly serving our clients, Chad knows the importance of the policy and governance work that the board accomplishes each month. “Setting the parameters for a nonprofit organization may sound a bit boring, but it's actually quite important. As the Board President, it's my job to make sure the Board is providing effective oversight and ensure that NeighborImpact will be able to continue serving Central Oregonians well into the future.”
When asked what impact the organization makes in the community, Chad does not hesitate, “Our mission is supporting people, strengthening communities. We impact the Central Oregon community by meeting basic needs such as food, housing, energy assistance and child care and by offering services such as lending, financial classes and home weatherization in order to help our clients achieve greater stability in life. These are just a few of the services offered by NeighborImpact and that is why we are able to serve 1 in 5 residents of Central Oregon in various capacities.”
NeighborImpact is fortunate to have the expertise and enthusiasm of someone like Chad on the board and grateful for his commitment to the organization and to residents of Central Oregon.
Early bird tickets are on sale now for $35. On September 19th, the ticket price will increase to $38 and will be released to the general public. At that time, we will start advertising on local television and radio stations to promote the 2016 Empty Bowls Event.
Please get your tickets now to lock in the discounted special early bird rate. Thanks again for your support. We hope to see you at this year's event!
There are a number of ways you can help make your community stronger. Hosting a food drive, coordinating a volunteer project,becoming a sustaining donor, or helping us spread the word on how NeighborImpact can help are all possibilities.
If you would like to explore your options or learn more about NeighborImpact, contact our Development Office at 541-323-6501. Contact Us.