Community Services Consortium

Serving Linn, Benton, and Lincoln counties in Oregon. Helping people. Changing lives.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

A company shares its profits

Sheridan Long, (far right) of Happy Earth Produce Delivery presents a share of her company profits to Susan James, (middle)Volunteer and Gleaning Coordinator of Linn Benton Food Share and Martha Lyon (left), Executive Director of Community Services Consortium (CSC).

Sheridan Long, a ten-year-old seventh grader at Oregon Connections Academy (ORCA), runs a seasonal business called Happy Earth Produce Delivery in Corvallis. Ten percent of her profit is earmarked for Linn-Benton Food Share.

“I wanted to give some of my profit to a charity, and 10 percent is a good round number,” said Sheridan. “I am working with food, and I thought of giving food to other people who need it. Next year, when I expand, I will have even more money to donate.”

“Sheridan, We appreciate your donation,” said Lyon. “We want you to come to see us at CSC when you are ready to intern, or work or volunteer. You are a great example of the enterprising, caring and bright young person we look for.”

Susan James outlined many of the opportunities young people have to volunteer at CSC and Linn Benton Food Share including at Food Share’s warehouse in Tangent on the last Thursday of every month from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Some of Sheridan’s clients donated extra for her contribution to Food Share. Her total donation for the 2009 season was $40 dollars. Happy Earth Produce Delivery helps people eat healthier. Baskets of fresh produce - at least two pounds - from offerings at local farms and farmer’s markets are tailored for and deliverd right to people's doorsteps along with recipes and tips to go with the contents.

Renters Education Program

Community Services Consortium is offering the Second Chance Renter Rehabilitation Program for low-income people who are unable to obtain housing due to poor credit and/or a poor rental history.

The Second Chance Program is designed to help people gain the skills, strategies, and self-confidence they need to obtain and maintain housing. The next session offered will be at CSC’s Albany office at 250 SW Broadalbin, Suite 2A from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on the following days:

February 22nd: How to be a Good Tenant
February 24th: Goal Setting
March 1st: Conflict Resolution
March 3rd: Landlord/Tenant Issues
March 8th: Money Management
March 10th: Energy Education

Participants who attend all six classes will receive a Certificate of Completion. For more information, or to register, please call Cindy Pratt at (541)758-2798.

A shared birthday present helps people who need food

Trevor, 8, stands by the food he collected at his birthday party.

Trevor Thibert celebrated his 8th birthday by inviting his friends to bring canned and packaged food to his birthday party instead of presents. He then donated this birthday present of 245 and 1/2 pounds of food to Linn Benton Food Share. He knows because he weighed all of the food on the family scale.

Linn Benton Food Share, a program of Community Services Consortium, was pleased to get the food, and it will be trucked to the Linn Benton Food Share's warehouse in Tangent, sorted and distributed along with thousands of pounds of food to help people who need food in Linn and Benton counties.

Free Home Buyer Workshops

Can I Buy a Home?
Do I Qualify for a Loan?
What Programs are Available?

Answer these questions and more at a workshop designed to help potential homebuyers gain the knowledge and confidence needed to buy a home.

Newport: February 6th, Saturday 9:00 am to 5:30 pm
Lincoln City: February 20th, Saturday 9:00 am to 5:30 pm
Waldport: March 6th, Sat. 9:00 am to 5:30 pm

Presented by Community Housing Services, a program of Community Services Consortium. To register: Call (541) 758-2759 or Toll-free (866) 245-1789.

RSVP volunteers spend Martin Luther King Day helping seniors

In honor of Martin Luther King Day, volunteer Griffin Nickerson is stuffing bags with a safety kit and information about the SASSI program. He joins six other volunteers including his mother, Kathleen Nickerson, RSVP Program Coordinator, to help Community Services Consortium’s RSVP program distribute the information to seniors. They left packets with seniors in two 55+ mobile-home communities, one in Albany and one in Corvallis.

SASSI helps independent seniors maintain safe and secure homes. The program is made up of local volunteers and law enforcement personnel who offer free home security and fire safety inspections and education to Benton and Linn County residents 55 years of age and older.

Free or low cost services provided by SASSI:
• Home and fire safety inspections
• Security hardware installation
• Visible address numbers
• Personal safety education
• Identify additional home hazards
• Emergency services
• Fire escape plans
• Resource information and referrals
• Engraving valuables

Call RSVP at (541) 753-9197 or (541) 812-0849 to schedule an inspection or for more information.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Prescription Help for Seniors Through SHIBA

Did you know there are people on Medicare who are going without their medications in order to buy food and pay their rent? Did you know there are over 800 Medicare recipients in Linn County who are eligible for help with their prescription costs who are not taking advantage of that assistance? Did you know changes in the law for 2010 may help more people qualify for help?

The Linn County Senior Health Insurance Benefits Assistance (SHIBA) volunteers can assist those on Medicare apply for help through the Social Security Administration’s Limited Income Subsidy (LIS) program. An individual’s income must be less than $1,354 monthly ($16, 245 annual) with less than $12,510 in resources to qualify. For a married couple living together, income must be less than $1,822 monthly ($21,855 annual) and resources less than $25,010.

To see if you or someone you know qualifies for extra help with prescription costs, contact CSC's RSVP/SHIBA office at 541-812-0849 for an appointment with a SHIBA volunteer.

At this time, the program is only available in Linn County.

Request for Proposals - 2010-2011 CSC ‘Building Bridges’ AmeriCorps*VISTA Program

AmeriCorps*VISTA was created to help organizations build capacity to help alleviate poverty in communities. Full-time volunteers work with host sites for one year completing projects ranging from volunteer management, resource development, marketing/outreach, new program development, and much more. Please check out the RFP and additional information about the CSC ‘Building Bridges’ AmeriCorps*VISTA Program.

Applications are due on or before March 11, 2010 by 5:00 pm. Early submissions are appreciated.

As an FYI, in the first three years of ‘Building Bridges’, VISTA members have:
• Raised more than $1.5 million in financial resources for their host sites
• Recruited 820 community volunteers who have served more than 16,000 hours
• Created 200+ community collaborations and partnerships
• Developed new programs to support family literacy, end homelessness, provide health and nutrition education, create mentoring opportunities and much, much more.
Also, if you could please spend a few minutes of your time and help us distribute this information to other non-profits across Linn, Benton and Lincoln counties, we would much appreciate it! Faith-based organizations, schools, cities or counties are all eligible to host a member and become part of the program.

Please contact Tifani, Building Bridges Program Coordinator, at 541-758-2641 for more information.

Empty Bowls Throw-A-Thon

Steve Aulerich and Laurie Childers, from the Willamette Ceramics Guild share a joke as they throw pots for Empty Bowls.

Willamette Ceramics Guild threw a Throw-a-thon in January at the Benton Center Ceramics Lab. The Throw-a-thon is a party to make ceramic bowls for the Empty Bowls project, a grassroots effort to raise money and awareness to end hunger and food insecurity. Dawn Jones of The Willamette Ceramics Guild joins with Keith Moses from Crescent Valley High School to gather members of the guild and community potters to get together at least twice a year to throw clay for soup bowls for Empty Bowls. The throw-a-thons take place either at Crescent Valley or the Benton Center Ceramics lab. Both schools donate glazing and firing facilities for the project. While some bowl sales go to other agencies, the money from the sale of the bowls through Sunny Side-Up Restaurant goes to Linn Benton Food Share. Linn Benton Food Share has received money from Empty Bowls projects for more than twenty years.

Volunteers Provide Free Assistance with Income Taxes

The AARP Tax-Aide program has trained and certified volunteers who will prepare and file your federal income tax return with the IRS, free of charge. The volunteers are available to help taxpayers of all ages between February 1 and April 15, 2010. All of the tax returns are prepared on computers and are e-filed free.

The volunteers are working out of eight locations across Benton and Linn counties, and four of the eight locations are available by appointment only. Two are walk-in locations, including the newest site, the Main Albany Library. As a new location, it hasn’t been discovered yet, and volunteers are waiting to help the early birds that get their taxes done in February.

Bring these items when you visit an AARP Tax-Aide site:
• Social Security cards or other official documentation for yourself and all dependents;
• Copy of last year’s income tax returns;
• W-2 forms from each employer;
• Unemployment compensation statements;
• 1099 forms
• All forms indicating federal income tax paid;
• Child care provider information (name, employer ID, Social Security number);
• Summary of receipts or checks for deductible items if itemizing;

In 2008, more than 50 Tax-Aide volunteers filed more than 3,600 federal and state tax returns, with an earned income credit value of $800,722 within Benton and Linn Counties. The AARP Tax-Aide is locally sponsored by CSC's own RSVP and its partner locations.

Don't Forget the Earned Income Tax Credit

Every penny counts in today’s economy, yet many working people are overlooking an important tax credit that could put up to $5,600 or more in their pockets. The Earned Income Tax Credit, or EITC, can be the needed financial boost for working people hit by hard economic times.

Many people will qualify for EITC for the first time this year because their income declined, their marital status changed or they added children to their families. Families with three or more children get an extra boost with a larger credit this year.

But, IRS estimates that up to one in four eligible taxpayers could miss out because they don't check it out. Eligible taxpayers can get their EITC only if they file federal income tax returns – even if they are not otherwise required to file – and specifically claim the credit.

Anyone with income under $48,000 from wages, self-employment or farming in 2009, should see if they qualify. Area residents can find more information on the IRS website, keyword: EITC. IRS’s online EITC Assistant can help determine their eligibility and compute the amount of their credit.

Taxpayers also can get no-cost help computing their EITC and preparing their returns. Residents can locate a volunteer assistance site by calling (enter which number your community uses for local services -- 211 or 311) or calling the IRS at 1-800-906-9887. Free help is also available at the IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center located at (enter the location and days/hour of assistance of your local IRS office)

Head Start Impact Study


Long-Term Studies Continue to Reach Same Conclusion: Head Start Works

WASHINGTON, D.C.-The National Head Start Association stands ready to partner with the Obama Administration and others as they announce plans to strengthen Head Start and Early Head Start programs following new research. The research conclusions are a mixed bag. This study demonstrates that Head Start programs are of good or better quality and finds favorable cognitive, socio-emotional, and health impacts for children who attended Head Start and positive impacts on parenting practices. Yet the study indicates that many of the early gains made in Head Start prior to kindergarten might be lost at the end of first grade.

NHSA, which is dedicated to meeting the needs of Head Start children and their families, will work to reconcile this new research with previous landmark studies that demonstrate the significant educational and health gains experienced by low-income children served by Head Start. Those long-term studies found that Head Start has decreased criminal activity, child mortality rates, high school drop out rates, the need for special education, the need for children to repeat grades later on in school and increased child achievement test scores, high school graduation rates, and immunization rates.

Head Start has a 45-year history of continuous improvement. This study was conducted from 2002 to 2006. Two years ago, Head Start reauthorization included many significant improvements to the program which are currently in the process of implementation.

"We look forward to working with others to use this and other studies to further improve Head Start for the benefit of children, their families and the future of all Americans," said NHSA executive director Yasmina Vinci.

"We will work with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' upcoming research advisory committee so we all can learn from this study and others that encompass the program's impact on hundreds of thousands of lives," she said.

CSC's Head Start program is located in Lincoln County only and serves 160 children and families in its Toledo, Newport, and Lincoln City centers.

Welcome to CSC's blog and e-newsletter!

These communications tools can be used to make announcements, acknowledge donors and volunteers, post videos and slideshows–whatever we want to share with our online community.

There are 3 ways to deliver info to stakeholders:

  1. The blog itself, which can be linked to our current website
  2. Email news blasts (blog articles sent via email as eNewsletters)
  3. RSS Feed (subscribers read in Google Reader or other feed reader, can also send posts to Facebook and Twitter)
We're excited about these communication tools and look forward to both your input and feedback for continuing improvement and positive information-sharing.

If you have agency/program information you'd like posted on this blog, please send full text and/or photos and videos, ideas, or suggestions to Janet Hessel and she will take the next steps.