May is Community Action Month!
We are delighted to celebrate with our fellow Community Action Partnerships across the entire nation. Over 1,000 agencies, including 30 in the State of Washington, engage in this very important work to reduce poverty and improve our communities and the lives of everyone in them.
Applications are encouraged by area residents interested in BMAC’s Home Weatherization, AmeriCorps, and Senior Food Program (CSFP), all of which have valuable and yet under-utilized services to offer our community. Click the tabs below to find more information about these programs. Follow the BMAC Facebook Page to help us celebrate our successes, side by side with our community over these last 51 years.
Governor Jay Inslee officially proclaimed May 2017 as “Community Action Month” throughout the State of Washington. Read the Washington State Proclamation here.
At the recent City Council meeting on Wednesday, May 10, Mayor Allen Pomraning signed a proclamation to match for the City of Walla Walla. Read the City of Walla Walla Proclamation here.
Community Action Promise:
The Home Weatherization Program helps low-income homes afford their power and heating bills by improving the energy efficiency of the home. Weatherization staff assesses homes for energy efficiency using powerful diagnostics tools, then work to fix air leaks, improve insulation, make energy-efficient repairs and replace old furnaces and other energy leeches. Weatherization staff also offers conservation tips to help families keep their bills as low as possible.
BMAC’s Weatherization services are available to low-income households, including both renters and homeowners, which have high energy burdens in their homes. A special emphasis is placed on helping seniors, disabled adults, and families with small children. Weatherization staff completes 20-24 homes per year on average, and partner with other resources, such as Minor Home Repair and Energy Assistance, to make sure the households are well-served.
This program achieves multiple victories for our community. People living in homes that receive BMAC’s Weatherization services are made more comfortable, and they save money on their power, heating, and cooling bills. Weatherized homes produce less pollution and consume less energy consumption, positively impacting the environment. Less taxpayer dollars are spent on other energy assistance programs like LIHEAP. Homes typically see an increase in value based on the improvements made through Weatherization. And that's not the only local economy boost—BMAC subcontracts work like plumbing, electric, HVAC and insulation to local providers, putting money in the pockets of those skilled workers.
BMAC has been providing Home Weatherization services since the 1970s, when the U.S. Department of Energy added funds for Weatherization to the existing LIHEAP Energy Assistance funds that help families pay their power and heating/cooling bills. The Department of Energy and Commerce continuously updates program regulations to include new technologies and information and to ensure that the highest standards are being met.
For more information about the BMAC Weatherization Program, or to see if you are eligible, visit https://www.bmacww.org/services/housing-services/weatherization or call 509-529-4980, Ext. 134, to speak with Diana McFetridge.
BMAC’s AmeriCorps Program currently is searching for full-time volunteers to help nonprofit organizations in the community. Twelve AmeriCorps members will join the 2017-2018 BMAC AmeriCorps team for a service term of September through July. These members are each placed at a nonprofit partner site, where they serve 32 hours per week at a primary service site, either at a school or nonprofit. The remaining 8 hours are spent as a team, providing group service to nonprofits and individuals in need of extra support. Recently, these “Team Day” projects have included gardening, creek restoration, trash cleanup on highway 12 and the bike trails, helping with afterschool programs, and many more projects.
AmeriCorps members often continue to provide community service beyond their full-time commitment, volunteering on evenings and weekends. Each member is committed to perform 1,700 hours of community service during their 10.5-month term. In exchange for their service, AmeriCorps members receive a living stipend, medical coverage, child care assistance, trainings, and the Segal Education Award of $5,730, which helps make a pay student loans or future tuition.
AmeriCorps is a national network of hundreds of service programs that address crucial needs throughout the United States. The BMAC AmeriCorps team is part of the AmeriCorps State and National Service branch of the Corporation for National & Community Service.
Partner Sites for the current service term include Blue Mountain Humane Society, Trilogy Recovery Community, Walla Walla YMCA, SOS Health Services, Sustainable Living Center, Tri-State Steelheaders, Walla Walla Valley Farm to School, 21st Century Community Learning Centers, and the BMAC Food Bank.
Potential volunteers and local nonprofits interested in hosting an AmeriCorps member during the 2017-2018 service term should call BMAC AmeriCorps Program Coordinator Cat Pond at 509-529-4980, Ext. 112, before May 24, 2017. More information can be found at https://www.bmacww.org/services/job-training-education/americorps.
Senior Food Program :
Eligible seniors within BMAC’s service area are encouraged enroll in the Senior Food Program (CSFP). This program improves the health of low-income elderly people at least 60 years of age, by supplementing their diets with nutritious USDA foods. BMAC cultivates partnerships with producers, processors, and other food banks to offer a wide selection of fresh fruit, vegetables, and bread in addition to the shelf stable USDA commodities.
Washington State, for the second consecutive year, has seen deep need among those who rely on the emergency food system. As the economy improves and unemployment continues to trend downward, data collected from across the State shows that the senior population visits food pantries 2.5 times more often than any other age group. Simply put, seniors have shown a greater need over the past two years while the rest of the population has shown steady improvement.
To meet this extraordinary need, the WSDA this year is increasing BMAC’s Senior Food Program caseload by 17 percent. While in the past, the Food Bank has had a waitlist for services, they are now actively seeking 50 new eligible seniors. Food distribution is combined with nutrition classes on the third Thursday of every month from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the BMAC Food Distribution Center.
For program eligibility and how to apply, call the BMAC Food Bank at 509-529-3561.