Community Services Consortium

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

Thursday, April 1, 2010

“Scrappers Collective Response to Alleviate Poverty”

When? Saturday April 17th, 2010 — 9:00am to 10:00pm

Where? Linn County Fairgrounds Expo Center in Albany

Why? Scrapping out homelessness! All proceeds will be used to provide permanent, supportive, affordable housing and services to “at-risk” families in the Albany area.

Albany Partnership for Housing’s 1st Annual Fundraising Event with Exhibitors! Prize Drawings! Silent Auction! Wi-Fi!

Lunch & Light Refreshments Provided

$40 entrance fee; space is limited so get your ticket!

For More Questions Call Megan @ 541-926-5451

Curtain Up!

Songs of Inspiration in Hard Times by Corvallis Repertory Singers.

Two performances Friday & Saturday, April 23 & April 24. Both at 7:30 pm at First Congregational UCC at 4515 SW West Hills Road in Corvallis.

Music Director Steven M. Zielke and Associate Director Emily Thielen

Ticket $15, Students FREE with ID if seating available.
Tickets in Corvallis are available at Grass Roots Books & Gracewinds Music and in Timberhill Mall at Beard Framing.

Tickets in Albany at Sid Stevens.
Tickets at the door if seats are available.

A percentage of the proceeds goes to CSC's Linn Benton Food Share.

Linn Benton Food Share Annual Spring Food Drive

This is the week of CSC's Linn Benton Food Share Annual Spring Food Drive in Corvallis. Girl Scouts and other youth groups will distribute bags the week of April 12 – 17th, and collect filled bags on Saturday morning, April 17th.

Monetary donations are also greatly appreciated. Food Share can distribute up to 15 pounds of food for every tax-deductible dollar donated. If your bag was overlooked, please drop off your bag at Keller Williams Realty, 815 NW 9th Street, Suite L, Corvallis.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A CSC AmeriCorps*VISTA Member Assists in Salem Homeless Connect

Sandra and Amy (they were laughing together over what was the Spanish word for newspaper [She didn’t speak English, and Amy was translating for the news photographer]).

Tuesday's Salem Homeless Connect was a great success! This was the 2nd Annual with over 80 Service providers, ranging from information from non-profit agencies throughout the city, to services like haircuts, dental and vision checks, bike repairs, vet checks. There were in-kind donations of clothing, and a full-service café for breakfast and lunch.

As a part of her AmeriCorps service (for National Service Day) CSC's own Amy Crevola spent a very meaningful day giving hand massages.

She set up a station (2 towel-covered chairs) and a basket of lotions (choices: lavender, milk & honey, or unscented for ultra-dry skin) and gave hand massages to over 30 wonderful people who are low-income/experiencing homelessness (she is a Licensed Massage Therapist).

Full coverage of the Connect event is located in the Salem Statesman Journal newspaper.

Way to go Amy!

Success in Summer Youth Programs!

The Department of Labor has released a report that found that the 2009 Recovery Act Summer Youth Employment Initiative was largely successful in connecting young workers with employment experiences. Overall, 317,000 young people took part in the initiative.

"Reinvesting in America's Youth: Lessons from the 2009 Recovery Act Summer Youth Employment Initiative" was developed by Mathematica Policy Research and funded by the Department of Labor. It analyzes monthly performance data submitted to ETA by states and looks closely at the experiences of 20 select local areas. Among the report's findings:

• Youths were placed in summer jobs, with almost 13 percent of enrollees placed in work experiences outside summer months. Sixty-three percent of participants were in school, largely ages 18 or younger.
• Nationwide, local areas reported that nearly 75 percent of youths achieved a measurable increase in their work readiness skills while participating.
• Available data show a completion rate for summer work of greater than 82 percent.
• Employers interviewed for this study were overwhelmingly positive about the initiative. They reported that the experience of mentoring a new employee was worth the effort and almost unanimously agreed that they would participate again if given the opportunity.

Many youths were enthusiastic about being able to help their families in tough economic times. They also reported that, in the absence of their summer jobs, they would be competing with more experienced adult workers for jobs or doing nothing productive over their summer breaks.

Training and Employment Notice 33-09 provides additional information on the release and contents of the report.

For information on CSC's Summer Youth programs, please check the blog archives and our website.

Socks Collected for the Homeless

When the young men and women at CSC YouthBuild AmeriCorps asked the homeless in Lebanon what they needed, the reply was socks.

“We thought they would need a lot of food or something to help take care of their dogs,” Kristin Duncan said. However the young adults found that homeless individuals near Gill’s Landing had plenty of donated clothing and food. When people donate clothing to the less fortunate, socks are often overlooked.

“They said the feeling they get from putting on a new pair of socks is like the feeling you get at Christmas, like the new car smell,” Jon Roosa said. “It makes you feel warm and comfortable.” The homeless go through a lot of socks because they walk a lot, Roosa said. “And they have no place to wash their socks,” Duncan added.

The YouthBuild sock drive started on Feb. 12 and will continue through March 11. So far it hasn’t been going very well, Brian Christie said. But the group is not discouraged as it tries to get the word out and more drop boxes set up. The sock drive is a service learning project with a focus on homelessness, AmeriCorps member Katie Stubblefield said.

The group did its research, interviewing homeless under the Grant Street Bridge in Lebanon and the director of ChristWalk transitional homes. The group also read several articles.

Some socks will go to ChristWalk to be distributed through their homes. Other socks will go straight to the homeless who live under the Bridge. Christie said the group is taking any kind of new socks in adult sizes. However, he said all donations are welcome. Any children’s sized socks will be donated to the River Center.

Other students taking part in the project are Amber Rodriguez, Colton Ringheimer and Steven Lytle. YouthBuild is for youth ages 16 to 24.

This story was written by Lebanon-Express reporter Emily Mentzer and appeared in the March 3, 2010, edition.

Youth House Garden Grows Life Skills

Thomas Eveler, 20, opens a cold frame at the Corvallis Service Consortium Youth House Gardens where onions have started, while Brian Smith collects materials to work on the drip irrigation system.. (Scobel Wiggins/ Gazette-Times)

Last year, a garden took shape at the corner of Southwest Western Boulevard and Second Street, thanks to the work of young volunteers.

This spring, as tulips and daffodils brought the first color to the garden, more volunteers worked to improve the site with two major projects: the installation of a drip irrigation system and a “living wall” or vertical garden.

For the past couple of weeks, six members of the Community Services Consortium’s youth crew have been working on the two projects for the garden at the organization’s Youth House, a licensed alternative school.

One project, the vertical garden, is a chunk of garden soil over a rebar frame, covered with landscaping fabric and chicken wire. It doesn’t look like much now, but once it’s planted with tomatoes, peppers, peas and other vegetables, it will.

“By mid-summer, this thing will just be a massive plant,” said crew leader Brian Smith. The goal is to show what a little square footage, well-prepared soil and a simple support system can do. “That thing’s pretty cool,” said crew member Thomas Eveler, 20. “You can put a lot of plants in a small space.”

The drip-irrigation system will substantially cut down on water use for the raised beds and small green houses on the site, which are tended by youth garden volunteers. The goal of the youth crew is to build skills and give youth workforce development. Crew members said that goal already has been accomplished. They learned that a project like this requires a lot of planning and attention to detail — and that unanticipated challenges will crop up anyway.

“We had to run to Home Depot every day because there was a piece missing,” said Justin Schamp, 21, with a smile. Paul Christensen, 22, said he now feels he could install a similar system on his own. “Our crew leader taught us well,” he said. Karenna Rodriguez, 18, said learning skills was one of her favorite parts of being on the crew.

“Just a lot of new experiences,” she said. “I’ve never done piping before.”
Miranda Hedlund, 18, is planning to work on an organic farm in Texas this summer, where she will be installing a drip irrigation system. “So I’m definitely excited that we got to do this,” she said.

Miranda Headland and Karenna Rodriguez, both 18, glue pipe that will bring water to the raised bed. Behind them is the structure for a vertical garden waiting to be planted. (Scobel Wiggins/ Gazette-Times)

Produce and flowers grown in the garden were sold at the Corvallis Farmers Market last summer. Food from the gardens also is used for cooking and nutritional classes at the Youth House or donated to Gleaners.

“The project is really interesting because it comes from a lot of different funding sources,” said Rachel Karasick, an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer who works as the youth garden program developer.

Dave Eckert, team coordinator for the Water Action Team of the Corvallis Sustainability Coalition, said the group was deciding what projects to work on last year, and the Youth House Garden was one of the finalists. The group ended up not choosing the garden, but felt they wanted to do something for the site. The only “issue” to be addressed was irrigation, Eckert said. Team members helped raise funds for the irrigation project, and also connected the Youth House with Benton Soil and Water Conservation District, which ended up funding a large part.

Next up for the garden is a volunteer day in April to build more raised beds and the addition of an 8 by 15 foot greenhouse. “Things are always happening,” Karasick said.

This story was written by Corvallis Gazette-Times reporter Rachel Beck and was posted in the Monday, March 29th edition.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Bounty of Beans

Wehrli adds green beans to the mix of pork, green pepper, onion and carrots.

An abundance of the long, green vegetables has prompted the Linn Benton Food Share to compile volunteers’ favorite recipes.
The Linn Benton Food Share knows vegetables, but right now they know green beans especially well. The food share gets tons of frozen vegetables from Norpac, a packing facility in Salem. Lately, it has been receiving a lot of green beans.
The frozen beans come in boxes of about 1,000 pounds. Then volunteers repackage them into bags that are family size.

“We have no choice over what gets donated,” said Mike Gibson, director of Linn Benton Food Share. “Often we got a lot of green beans.”
According to Gibson, the food share gave out 42,188 boxes of food to roughly 50,000 people last year. That is not including the homeless shelters and soup kitchens at which they provided 261,847 meals. All together, the food share gave out roughly 5 million pounds of food.
“Our numbers are at record highs,” Gibson said. “It has been a tough couple of years.”

Currently, the food share has 4,800 volunteers that are members of 14 gleaning groups. It also has five full-time employees and three part-time employees.
Because of the high numbers of green beans, Susan James, the gleaning and volunteer program coordinator, thought it would be a good idea to put together a pamphlet of recipes from the volunteers at the Linn Benton Food Share.

Two of those volunteers are Jeff Wehrli and Carol Cannell.
Wehrli is at the food share almost every Tuesday and every other Wednesday. Along with helping package what comes in, he helps direct parking.
He said that he and his wife, Lisa, have to cook around their 16-year-old daughter Kayla’s tastes.

“She is kind of a picky eater,” Wehrli said. “But she loves green beans.”
He makes a sweet and sour dish, and “I just add in what I have,” he said.
In the recipe he shared for sweet and sour pork, he cooked the pork in chicken broth and then added green bell peppers, carrots, onions and green beans.
“The kid doesn’t like pineapple,” he said. “So we add green beans.”
Cannell has been volunteering at the food share for two months. During the summer she also gleans in the fields.

For her, green beans were something she always had in the house.
“I used to grind up green beans in a food processor and add them to meat,” she said. She would then make hamburgers out of the mixture so her children and grandchildren would eat vegetables.
“It was sneaky, but they got the nutrition they needed,” she said.
Now she gets most of her green bean recipe ideas from vegetarian cookbooks.
“I probably eat green beans four or five times a week,” she said.

Sweet and Sour Pork
3/4 cup chicken broth
1 pound pork, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 red or green bell pepper, diced
1 medium onion, cut in half lengthwise and sliced into thin wedges
2 or 3 carrots, sliced on the diagonal into 1/4-inch slices
A handful of frozen green beans
Sweet and sour sauce, add to taste
Heat the chicken broth over medium-high heat. Add the pork and cook thoroughly.
Drop in chopped bell pepper, onion and carrots. Cook until vegetables start to soften.
Add in frozen green beans and cook until green beans are warm all the way through.
Add sweet and sour sauce (Wehrli suggests that if you don’t have any sweet and sour sauce, you can use soy sauce).
Place over rice, noodles or rice noodles.
Recipe by Jeff Werli

Recipe pamphlet
To get a copy of “Green Bean Recipes” by the Linn Benton Food Share gleaning program, go to

Prom Dresses

Prom dresses and shoes and accessories are available at no cost to students living in Benton County.

On Saturday, April 10 starting at 9:00 a.m., the Vina Moses Center will be open for girls to try on and select dresses, shoes and accessories.

Contact the Vina Moses Center (phone 541-753-1420) to reserve a time for your visit. Bring your student body card.

Vina Moses Center is located at 968 NW Garfield, Corvallis.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Funding awards for Four Programs

Four of CSC’s five 501(c)(3)s received the support they requested from Trust Management Services:

*HELPS received $10,000 for the youth stipends/garden
*Housing and Community Services received $10,000 for foreclosure counseling
*Linn Benton Food Share received $10,000 for gleaner fuel vouchers and truck fuel
*RSVP received $8,500 for senior peer counseling

Congratulations to all!

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:

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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.