InterFaith Initiative

718 Schwarz Rd, Lawrence, KS 66049

785-760-3143

InterFaith Intiative exists because of people like YOU! The Lawrence community InterFaith Initiative began January 11, 2005. After years of meetings, the realization that effective "people power" communicating and working together is the primary need to help address local gaps and needs.

We meet 2nd Tuesday of each month, from 1 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. at The Lawrence Public Library. For more information or to get involved please email Steve Ozark at oztalent@aol.comThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or call him at 760-3143.

Lawrence Community InterFaith Initiative (LCII) 2008 Summary and 2009 Update

to get involved or for more information contact: Steve Ozark, oztalent@aol.comThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , 785-760-3143

The InterFaith Initiative seeks to network faith-based organizations in our community to effectively work together to provide community service to our friends and neighbors in need and crisis. We also offer communication of issues and events around this purpose. With our various gifts of time, talent and resources, community-wide collaboration to address local needs puts our faith into action in an effective and powerful manner.

Having completed our fourth year of volunteer service as of January 11, 2009, we realize the need for more leadership of our overall organization. We also seek liaisons – individuals from each faith organization in the Lawrence area – to share information and invite participation within your group or congregation.

In March of 2008, we were granted a $12,500 grant through Compassion Kansas of Wichita State University to enhance our capacity building skills and opportunities Compassion Kansas will also give us resources and personnel and legal services to build our capacity for free in addition to the grant money we are to receive. So this can be a big year of expansion, especially if you will get involved with us and find your piece in our puzzle of local service.

The InterFaith Initiative meets the 2nd Tuesday of each month from 1 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. at various faith and service organizations in Lawrence. We are looking to add a 2nd Tuesday meeting from 7 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. for those unable to make an afternoon meeting. For more information or to receive announcements and the monthly e-letter, please contact Steve Ozark at oztalent@aol.comThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or 760-3143.

Mayors and Players “Turn It On!” – Recognizing a gap that no local service providers were able to serve households once utilities had been turned off, “Turn It On!” began in November of 2006, and culminated in the first Mayors and Players event where we raised a total of $3,437 which served 38 households. So far, in our second year, we have raised $11,557 which has thus far served 75 households, only 3 of which accessed funds in the first year. Currently the account is empty and the need is great. All donations are tax deductible; 100% of the funds raised go directly to the need; households receiving funds are clients of ECKAN (East Central Kansas Economic Opportunity Corporation).

Home-Makers Housing Pilot Project – Home-Makers seek to provide permanent supportive housing to people who are currently homeless and suffering from severe, persistent mental illness. Research shows that permanent, supportive housing is the most effective use of funds. Our program seeks to provide a quality of life through sustained housing and wrap around services tailored to the individual through existing service providers in our community. Home-Makers has gained support from the Community Commission on Homelessness and the service providers in Lawrence. While local faith organizations have shown interest and expressed support for addressing this need, stakeholders are needed to bring this proven program to fruition. Please contact Steve Ozark at oztalent@aol.comThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or 760-3143 for more information or a presentation. In January 2008, a house was gifted through Grace Evangelical Presbyterian Church and we plan to have 500 Missouri Street open by May 2008. So we're on our way! More sites and partners are sought as the need is great.

Day of Prayer and Reflection – Our 5th annual Day of Prayer and Reflection will take place on October 25. On this day we invite all people and organizations of faith to lift up in prayer and reflection however you choose to the many needs people have in our community. More individuals and faith groups participated this year, but city-wide participation is sought. As in past years, at 3 p.m. we offer Convocation for interdenominational prayer and testimony. We seek greater participation and leadership for this valuable event.

Farmer’s Market Gleaners – For the third year, the Farmer’s Market Gleaners program received fresh foods from vendors at the Market from mid-April through mid-November. Donations were also received which were used to provide more food. Booth volunteers are needed.

Food Pantry Services Gathering - Our 3rd annual June meeting brought together 10 of the 11 food pantries in Lawrence: Salvation Army, LEO Center, Women’s Transitional Care Services, Trinity Interfaith Pantry, Just Food/ECKAN, First Baptist, Penn House/Ballard Center, Southside Church of Christ, Indian Hills Church of God. We missed inviting Project LIVELY from the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department but received their information in a follow up. Douglas County is also served by pantries in Baldwin City (at Ives Chapel Methodist), Le Compton, and Eudora (St. Paul UCC). We seek to help communication and partnerships in delivering food services.

All pantries share perception that numbers of persons being served are double from last year. Number of undocumented workers being served at pantries is increasing. They are not eligible for food stamps. Complete minutes are available by emailing oztalent@aol.comThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

The meeting adjourned with a consensus about carrying on the conversation, need for more sharing and more participation. Much could be gained by creating one coalition of some sort. A primary result would be a greater ability to gather resources from outside the community to provide continuous food. Just Food, begun by Ann Weick, seeks to lead this charge. All food banks report running out of food at times.

PAST EVENTS Bag The Violence – Created by KU Social Welfare students Jenn Holtaway and Shannon Williams, Bag The Violence took place in South Park on May 5, 2007, where donated sleeping bags were displayed and then distributed to people in need. In 2006, there were 142 reported beatings, rapes and killings (20) of people experiencing homelessness in what has become an evil sport of “bum bashings” largely perpetrated by young males 12- to 20-years old. The local need to bring attention to this issue became clear in 2007, when 2 homeless individuals in Lawrence were known to have been beaten in this manner of hate crime.

Weatherization Kits – During the winter of 2006-2007, 365 weatherization kits were received from the State of Kansas for our area. Groups were formed to help installation of the kits. Getting landlord approval to install kits caused some challenges, but all kits have been given out. The State did not offer weatherization kits for this winter and those installing them found it difficult to get permission from landlords to install the kits.

CRISIS HELP The Boardwalk Apartment fire of October 2005 took 3 people's lives, injured 20, and displaced more than 75 people . With strong leadership from Evangelical Churches in Lawrence, our community immediately came forward with goods and services to help people replace their household goods, furniture, computers, groceries and other needs. Most of all, people experienced the care of strangers and that divine hope during crisis. Hope was also the guiding force in the Glover family fire in September of 2006, where Mr. Glover and his four grandchildren were killed, leaving Mrs. Glover devastated. The community love and care for Mrs. Glover and their extended family gave great comfort in this tragedy.

Mission To faciltiate a collaborative, nurturing faith community and to support efforts to serve our friends and neighbors in need or crisis in Douglas County.