Spokane Valley Stake nourishes good cause with food drive

At 8 in the morning on Sept. 20, Al Smith was first to pull up and unload his Food 4 Thought donation on the curb of the LDS church across from Liberty Lake Elementary. It was the start of the flood in what proved to be an amazing outpouring of community generosity for the homeless students in school districts throughout the Greater Spokane Valley.

A total of 508 volunteers from the Kiwanis Club, the Central Valley High School leadership class and the seven wards of the Spokane Valley LDS Stake combined for 1,257 hours of service and approximately 7,500 pounds of food. LDS missionaries and youth from the stake formed an assembly line to pass the bags from car to ramp to back of truck. As the bins filled to overflowing, more volunteers transferred bags to banana boxes so they could be stacked atop the bins.

Over 500 volunteers with the Kiwanis Club, Central Valley High School and seven wards from the Spokane Valley Stake donated time for a food drive on Sept. 20 as part of the national Day of Service.

Over 500 volunteers with the Kiwanis Club, Central Valley High School and seven wards from the Spokane Valley Stake donated time for a food drive on Sept. 20 as part of the national Day of Service.

Meanwhile, Food 4 Thought founder Pat Dockrey stood in the parking lot... Read Full Story →

Spokane Stake steps up to support neighbors on a special Day of Service

Byron Powell could have been at the park, the lake or even home, watching college football, on a sun-soaked Saturday in September.

Instead, Powell reported to work with approximately 550 of his fellow LDS volunteers to brighten the lives of his Spokane neighbors.

Approximately 550 volunteers from the Spokane Stake donated time refurbishing and cleaning residential properties owned by SNAP on Sept. 13 as part of the National Day of Service. In addition to the work, volunteers visited with residents at the various sites.

Approximately 550 volunteers from the Spokane Stake donated time refurbishing and cleaning residential properties owned by SNAP on Sept. 13 as part of the National Day of Service. In addition to the work, volunteers visited with residents at the various sites.

The Spokane Stake was one of several contingents from the Spokane Temple District to plunge into the theme of community wellness as part of the National Day of Service on Sept. 13. The program was established in 2009 to honor victims, survivors and responders of the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001 by “establishing an inspiring tradition of engaging in charitable service.”

Powell, a member of the Spokane Sixth Ward, joined a team of volunteers at Resident Court on... Read Full Story →

Our Place, our neighbors – Spokane Relief Society rallies support for less fortunate

The enveloping warmth of summer seemed like a mirage to Vicki Townsend back in January.

It was around that time that Townsend and other members of the Spokane Stake Relief Society began mulling over ideas for a service project that would coincide with the annual Women’s Conference held in March. The Shiloh Hills Ward – where Townsend serves as Relief Society president – was asked to take the lead on the project.

Our Place Executive Director Tracie Swanson leads an agency that served over 17,000 individuals last year. The nonprofit was established in 1987 and serves low-income residents in Spokane’s West Central neighborhood.

Our Place Executive Director Tracie Swanson leads an agency that served over 17,000 individuals last year. The nonprofit was established in 1987 and serves low-income residents in Spokane’s West Central neighborhood.

In the middle of one of the coldest winters on record in the Inland Northwest, Townsend caught a local news report about a shoe drive for kids at Our Place Community Ministries, a Christian-based nonprofit agency in Spokane’s West Central neighborhood.

“I thought perhaps we could tag on to that project,” Townsend said. “Sadly, when I called Our Place the next day, the drive was completed. They did tell... Read Full Story →

Blessings Under the Bridge offers refuge, friendship to Spokane’s homeless

Standing on the frozen pavement, surrounded by cold so severe it stung their faces, Mike and Jessica Kovac welcomed a sprawling crowd of dinner guests with warm smiles last Wednesday.

The meal setting was the ground floor of an I-90 overpass with concrete for a roof and windowless views of downtown Spokane.  The menu for the evening featured hot chili and sides. Many went back through the line for seconds – and thirds. Temperatures hovered near the single digits.

Mike and Jessica Kovac of Liberty Lake founded Blessings Under the Bridge in 2007 as a way to provide food, clothing and other supplies to homeless in Spokane.

Mike and Jessica Kovac of Liberty Lake founded Blessings Under the Bridge in 2007 as a way to provide food, clothing and other supplies to homeless in Spokane.

“It was bitterly cold,” said Mike, who bundled up in his warmest winter gear to serve food. “It’s heart-wrenching to think that people are out dealing with this kind of weather.”

While some shelters in the area provide warming stations when temperatures drop below a certain point, not everyone avoids spending the night on the street. Some seek respite under cardboard shanties, others curl up in the hollow wedge of a bridge. The hands of those who cope with such... Read Full Story →

Health and Help Bulletin – November 2013

A guide to educational presentations, community programs, health and wellness events and volunteer opportunities throughout the Inland Northwest. For ongoing Health and Help listings, go to the “Search Sentinel” tab in the left-hand corner of the home page and type in “Community Cupboard.”

Holiday wish list

Health and Help pic_11-14

With Christmas just around the corner, local nonprofit agencies are asking the community to help brighten the holidays for less fortunate individuals and families. The Eastern Washington/North Idaho branch of Volunteers of America has included a holiday wish list on its website www.voaspokane.org as well as other volunteer opportunities such as wrapping donated gifts (two-hour shifts), contributing a dish to a holiday meal or donating items such as wrapping paper, Scotch tape and gift tags.  (Above, Wes Mortensen (left) and Dave Tester of the Evergreen Ward in the Spokane East Stake smile through a snowstorm as they haul gifts for a holiday distribution at the Spokane Valley Partners Community Center in 2008.)

Community Thanksgiving table

Do you or someone you know need some extra support this Thanksgiving? A number of local churches and community centers throughout the Spokane/North Idaho area are sponsoring... Read Full Story →

Spokane East Stake to address a variety of projects for Day of Service

As faith groups and civic organizations throughout the nation put on their work gloves this month for Day of Service projects in memory of the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, representatives of the Spokane East Stake will be among them.

The following service projects will be part of the East Stake’s agenda this month:

University High School Clean-up

Day/time:  Saturday, Sept. 14, from 8 a.m. to noon

University High School (12420 E. 32nd Avenue)

Put in new bark, edging, general landscape

Contact:  John Hawkins – hawkins8@msn.com

City of Rockford Clean-Up

Friday, Sept. 13, starting at 6 p.m.

Meet at the fairgrounds

Bring push brooms, shovels, and/or wheelbarrow

Saturday, Sept. 14 at 9 a.m.

Meet at the fairgrounds

Bring weed eaters, brooms, shovels and gloves

Contact:  Dennis Pace, dennisjaypace/2gmail.com

Rose Pointe Nursing Home Clean Up

Saturday, Sept. 21, from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m.

Meet at Rose Pointe (131013 E. Mission Ave.)

Service crews will be working on the outside landscaping of the nursing home.

Trim bushes, weed, flower beds, mow lawns

Bring rakes, shovels, lawn mowers, and other lawn and garden tools.

Contact:  Phil Woolf – philwoolf@comcast.net

Yard Cleanup, Fixup

Saturday, Sept. 14

Time:  8:30 a.m. (breakfast provided)

Meet at the LDS building (4014 S. Bowdish)

After breakfast, assignments will be given of pre-selected homes for those unable to complete yard tasks themselves.

Contact:  Sunny Phelps – grandma.sunny@yahoo.com

Chester Cemetery... Read Full Story →

EWU student reaps dividends of volunteering

As National Volunteer Appreciation Week draws to a close, Carson Kekoa Dipo is appreciative of the opportunity to volunteer.

Last year Carson was taking a whopping 25 credits a quarter at Eastern Washington University, where he is working on a Communications degree. He also waits tables to pay the bills – and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Carson is a modest person (so he’d never tell you so) but on most Saturdays-rain or shine-you can find him helping a friend or neighbor. You might see him taking a disabled neighbor to a movie or shoveling snow for an elderly couple across the street. Whether he’s helping a widow from the Spokane Stake keep her yard looking nice or loading boxes as he helps a family move-it’s all in a day’s work for this Ferris High School graduate.

For Carson, service is an integral part of being LDS. He has held many Church leadership positions, served a full-time mission to Sacramento and in the process of earning his Eagle Scout, completed dozens of service projects in his teenage years, including a book collection for kids that he coordinated himself.



Carson Kekoa Dipo grew up in the Lincoln Heights Ward of the Spokane Stake. Last year, he volunteered at Flaherty House, a transitional home facilitated by Volunteers of America.
Contributed Photo.

Carson is the kind of guy who is never off-duty from doing good. “There’s always something good to do,” he says when asked what he does when he’s not volunteering.

Maybe that’s why Carson was drawn to a class called “Communication, Community and Citizenship” at EWU. The course, designed by Professor Heather Robinson, is intended to help students develop critical... Read Full Story →

One family’s journey – Adoption mission takes Spokane couple to Africa

The sign consisted of one word, written in marking pen and held by a driver waiting for a couple that had just traveled halfway around the world to bring two new children into their family.

It said, simply, “Lee.”

For Spokane Stake President James Lee and his wife, Lisa, the journey to Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, meant traversing over 8,200 miles from the Inland Northwest to a nation situated in the Horn of Africa and acknowledged as one of the first-known sites of human existence.



Spokane Stake President James Lee and his wife Lisa visited Ethiopia last month as part of a process to adopt Daniel (left) and Jaleta, or “Jet,” (right).
Contributed Photo.

One of the many unique aspects of this historically rich nation begins with its calendar. In Ethiopia, it is 2004, not 2012, because the people of this country discovered Christ eight years after He was born and began charting contemporary time at that point. For the Lees, the trip to this region featuring some of the world’s tallest mountains and lowest points below sea level, was part of a process to adopt Daniel, 9, and Jaleta (Jet), 17 months, both of whom live in an Ethiopian orphanage

The 10-day stay turned out to be an experience that would change their lives forever.

“As we went through the process, we learned about miracles, acting in faith, following the spirit-all in new ways,” said Pres. Lee. “We are grateful for the way we were taught these new lessons even though they are sometimes difficult lessons.”


Read Full Story →

A day of caring – Volunteers rally for community causes at Humanitarian Day

It was a day set aside for caring about – and contributing to – the community.

The Spokane East Stake Relief Society completed a Humanitarian Project on Feb. 25 in which over 200 members worked to provide items for 15 local organizations. This day was different from the physical labor project that was completed in the fall when three city of Spokane Valley sites, two cemeteries and an undeveloped piece of property owned by the Central Valley School District were cleaned.



Over 200 representatives of the Spokane East Stake Relief Society participated in a Humanitarian Day on Feb. 25.
Photo by Katie Bowers.

In talking about the Humanitarian Project, Stake Relief Society President Karen Spear said, “I love the origin of this day. Instead of our sisters creating projects that we would find homes for, the Humanitarian Leader, Jill Woolf, went to organizations and schools and asked them, ‘What is on your wish list?’ They gave several ideas which we took to our sisters and they decided what they wanted to sponsor. The thrill of the day was in being able grant wishes. It’s not often that we get to do that!”

The project benefited Sullivan Park Care Center, Horizon Hospice and Hospice of Spokane, Good Samaritan, Sullivan Park Care Center and Sullivan Park Assisted Living, Central Valley, West Valley, East Valley, Freeman and Liberty school districts, Valley Hospital and Medical Center, My Sister’s Closet and a Guatemalan Mission Project.

Items such as weighted toys and textured lap quilts were completed beforehand, and, in some cases presented to representatives that day.

Read Full Story →

South Hill volunteers support nourishing cause at food bank

The temperature was scarcely nudging 30 degrees when Va-Jahn Jackson and a pair of full-time missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints dropped by the Southside Christian Church on Spokane’s South Hill last Saturday.

Nearly 100 people were already lined up outside the building near 27th Avenue and Fiske Road to take part in a weekly food distribution hosted by the church and facilitated by Second Harvest of the Inland Northwest. Va-Jahn and the missionaries – Elder Johnathon Craighead and Elder Paul Vakahali – braved the frosty conditions as volunteers, carting food to vehicles for close to two hours.

A deacon in the Moran Prairie Ward of the Spokane Stake, Va-Jahn has been donating time at the food bank for over a year, generally supporting the cause every other week. On this Saturday, sleeping in was one of many options that would have probably sounded better to most. An avid sports fan and accomplished athlete, Va-Jahn also passed up several marquee games that morning to help the less fortunate.



Va-Jahn Jackson (middle), a member of the Moran Prairie Ward in the Spokane Stake, donates time each month to a food bank at the Southside Christian Church. Last week Elder Paul Vakalahi (left) and Elder Johnathon Craighead supported Va-Jahn and other volunteers in the cause.
Photo by Craig Howard.

“It really says a lot,” says Donna Comstock, director of the food bank. “We couldn’t do this without help from the volunteers.”

Around 400 households receive support from the food bank each month, totaling close to 1,400 individuals. The Saturday distribution of groceries is supplemented by a weekly allocation of bread and produce.... Read Full Story →

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