Community Services Consortium

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

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Linn Benton Food Share Receives Diabetes Grant

CSC's Linn Benton Food Share was among four community organizations to receive grants from the Diabetes Health Promotion Memorial Trust to provide education, services and supplies for people with diabetes in Benton County.

Linn Benton Food Share received $250 to determine the needs for diabetes information for people served by Food Share. Contact Susan James, Gleaning/Volunteer programs Coordinator for more information at (541) 758-2645

CSC in place to respond to green job skills

Published in the Spring Issue of THE PROMISE Magazine, Community Action Partnership, the National Association of Community Action Agencies

By Janet Hessel, Editor /Communications Coordinator and Sharee Cooper, Program Manager, Workforce & Education Program, Community Services Consortium, Corvallis, OR

Participants from CSC's Weatherization Training Program perform Weatherization work on a mobile home.

Community Services Consortium (CSC) is in the forefront of Oregon’s response to the increasing demand for green jobs skills. The CSC Weatherization Training Program has seen a constant stream of older youth, adults, and dislocated workers from Linn, Benton and Lincoln counties since last summer when the program began with American Recovery and Reinvestment Act ( ARRA) Workforce stimulus funds.

A 3,000 square foot Weatherization Training Center in Corvallis is the site where the action begins. Weatherization, energy efficiency, conservation, and safety methods are taught in the multimedia-equipped instruction area. The Weatherization Training Center contains a learning lab that allows trainees to practice and demonstrate all weatherization techniques that are utilized in the field. The weatherization diagnostics and energy conservation lab allows for multiple training and testing events. Models in the center represent a single-wide mobile home, a site built attic, interior and exterior walls, under-floors, and more. By the time a trainee goes to the field there will be no surprises.

The CSC Weatherization Training Program is a unique collaboration between the Workforce & Education and the Weatherization departments. CSC operates a Weatherization Assistance Program that is free to moderate and low-income families. This program has in the past weatherized about 200 houses per year but recent ARRA stimulus funding has doubled its capacity and increased the need for trained workers. CSC’s Weatherization Training Program provides a unique opportunity for trainees to get real hands-on experience side-by-side on actual weatherization projects.

In addition to providing training opportunities for unemployed workers, customized training options are available to contractors, businesses, Weatherization Assistance Programs, and other educational institutions. In total, 132 individuals have received training since the program’s inception and another 80 are already registered for upcoming spring trainings. The program has recently been awarded an additional $450,000 through the Linn, Benton, Lincoln Workforce Investment Board to serve 175 people over the next 2 years.

Weatherization Trainers Jerry McGuire and Dennis Feeney are in constant motion in the classroom, or with trainees at job sites. Their busy Spring Schedule includes hosting nationally recognized certification workshops in such areas as lead safety for construction workers, energy efficiency and building science training for contractors, energy auditing and even pre-apprenticeship for high school students.

“We are not only teaching people weatherization job skills but also to understand energy efficiency and conservation to evaluate their own energy uses and apply the techniques they learn at their own homes,” said McGuire.

Lesson stays despite teacher’s departure

By Amanda Robbins, Albany Democrat-Herald

Tara Keuter, 11, holds a bag open as Jaime Viramontes, 11, fills a bag with cereal he scooped out of a box. (Photo by Mark Ylen/Democrat-Herald)

Monday was bittersweet at the Linn Benton Food Share. It was the last day that Karen Sundseth would bring her class from St. Mary's School to volunteer. For the last seven years, one day a month, her fifth-graders have skipped their morning and lunch recesses to spend an hour helping at the food share.

And for the last three years, St. Mary's School has shut down one morning a year so the whole school can volunteer for a couple of hours."This is a great service project and necessary for our community," said Sundseth, who is cutting back next year to substitute teaching so she can care for her ailing mother.

"It also teaches our gospel values, like helping the poor," she said, as well as about problem solving and cooperation in the real world.Susan James, the volunteer and gleaning program coordinator, said Sundseth's class always is a big help.

"Volunteers allow us to accept large quantities of food," James said. "We couldn't do it without our volunteers."

She brought cupcakes and flowers Monday to thank the students and Sundseth for the many years of service. Both James and Sundseth agree that the kids are serious about what they do at the food share.

"They ask great questions about where the food comes from and where it is going," James said.The kids say they enjoy the hour away from class to help the needy.

"This is fun," said Christian Campbell, 11. "I am glad I can help all the people."Alex Delsman, 10, said that it was good for the community.

"These kids just love coming out," Sundseth said.St. Mary's intends to keep the program going, although it hasn't yet selected a teacher to assume Sundseth's role.
Last year, Linn Benton Food Share distributed more than 4.7 million pounds of food to 74 agencies.

To volunteer, call Susan James at 541-758-2645. A Community Repack Open House is scheduled from 6 to 8 p.m. the last Thursday of every month, which is later this week on May 27.

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.