Supporters share reasons to appreciate and give
Neal Schindler - Director
Spokane Area Jewish Family Services
Ever since social distancing restrictions were put into place, Spokane Area Jewish Family Services has had to adjust the way it serves the community. In-person client contact was replaced almost entirely by phone or email contact, and helping clients find and use both long-standing and new, emerging resources became a crucial part of our work.
The Fig Tree's regularly updated guide to local resources during the pandemic has been and continues to be a key resource, in turn, for us. I've pointed many clients to the guide, or went through it for them because they lacked internet access, and it has saved them and me much time and stress and has made a clear positive difference in how my agency and its clients are coping with the pandemic.
Suzi Hokonson - Asylum Activist
Mary and I met 38 years ago in a clergy wives support group. Over the years, Mary has given the Greater Spokane Area a continuous gift of The Fig Tree.
I've been reading it off and on for more than 35 years. I love that this publication is non-denominational, non-theological, and non-political. It is the stories of many area people who chose to be involved bringing God's love to all creation.
It can be confusing living in the United States, as a woman of faith, attempting to stay informed and be active in many issues. The great thing about The Fig Tree is that I learn about many others who are doing the same thing and I can relax knowing I will continue to do my best and others are taking care of other issues.
There are so many political, cultural and social justice issues: indigenous, climate change, environment, homelessness, poverty, legislative, immigration, natural disasters and health to name a few. Often, when I'm feeling overwhelmed, it is reassuring to stop and read of all the positive actions going on in the Spokane area.
As I was thinking about what to share in my three minutes at the March 9th Benefit Breakfast, I realized that Mary has covered three of my trips to assist others in their life journeys. In 2007, I went to Biloxi assisting in Katrina clean-up with a Lutheran/ Episcopalian group. It was so life changing that I made a second trip the following month.
In 2016, Eric Henningsen and I visited Standing Rock Pipeline Protectors and became connected to the Cannon Ball District. Again, it was life changing and we returned five times over a nine-month period, enabling volunteers to work on the community center.
The March issue of The Fig Tree had the story of my trip to Tijuana which lead me to be the sponsor of three legal asylum-seeking men from Nicaragua. Alberto and Silvio were in detention 391 days in Mississippi and Louisiana. It is sad as this virus brings much sorrow to families dealing with immigration issues. Lewis, from Cameroon, was granted bond and has been living with Eric for three months.
Now that I am receiving The Fig Tree in the mail, I read it every month and encourage others to sign up and to give a gift subscription to friends and family who would appreciate knowing more of what is taking place in the Spokane area.
Thank you, Mary, the board and all of the volunteers that continue to work so that The Fig Tree is available free to all of us.
David Milliken - Campus Director
The Hutton Settlement
The Hutton Settlement has been committed to serving the needs of children and families for more than a century. This effort has not been one we have done alone. Many organizations throughout Spokane have been silent partners in our effort to transform young lives, helping them move from tragedy to triumph.
One such partner in this effort has been The Fig Tree. The Fig Tree publication is one of only a few publications that is distributed internally among our organization and for good reason.
Although we are a non-sectarian organization without religious affiliation, we share the commitment towards connected relationships, stirring compassion and staying apprised on the deeper issues of our community.
Turning the pages of each new Fig Tree publication provides staff and youth at the Hutton Settlement a glimmer of hope and a peak into what people and groups are doing to bring peace to our immediate world. Whether it be an inspiring story of a church supporting food insecurities or a community member giving decades of selfless service to those on the margins, The Fig Tree provides a different sort of news, one of hope and possibility.
Stories in The Fig Tree do have an impact. Over the years, various stories have been shared with our youth service and leadership club on campus. For a group of young teens now committed to supporting the United Nations Sustainability Development Goals here in Spokane, The Fig Tree continues to serve as an important connector. In recent years, we were able to forge local partnerships with service providers in Spokane after learning about them through the Fig Tree stories and links.
Most recently, we became the beneficiary of such a story. The Fig Tree's highlight of Hutton Settlement's century of service and interviews with a couple of us who are committed to carry it forward, led to connections with local donors who now contribute to our cause.
In addition to sharing and receiving inspiring stories, the Hutton Settlement actively advertises our organization and employment opportunities in the publication because we feel strongly that the readership shares our values and vision of hope and possibility for all people.
As one of the oldest nonprofits in our community, the Hutton Settlement wholeheartedly advocates for this glimmer of hope that is The Fig Tree and encourages strong community and financial support of its mission.
Joe Ader - Executive Director,
Family Promise of Spokane
We work to end the cycle of homelessness for families with children. I had the good fortune to meet Mary Stamp the day I was hired on at Family Promise. We were creating a new shelter for homeless families at the time, which would eventually become the Open Doors Emergency Family Shelter. She thought it was a worthwhile story and wrote about us at the time in The Fig Tree.
This gave us instant access and recognition by other groups and organizations that read The Fig Tree and allowed us to create great partnerships quickly, including with Feed Spokane, which ended up supporting our food needs for the past three years.
Not only that, but also our shelter is strictly families with children. They are often in need and not just in need of housing, but child care, medical care, resources and assistance.
Therefore, they use the directory non-stop, quite literally until they are falling apart in their hands. In part due to the resources our guests are able to locate in the guide and with support from our case managers, who also use the guide, we have been able to move more than 1,000 people into permanent housing in the past three years.
Personally I believe Mary and The Fig Tree are treasures in our community and I would like to see both the newspaper and the resource guide last well into the future.
So I ask that you would provide your support to them, so that they can continue on helping our community to be better informed.
The Fig Tree continues raising funds to meet the goal of the Benefit Lunch and Benefit Breakfast that were cancelled in March as the COVID-19 pandemic was beginning.
As of April 30, The Fig Tree had raised $23,400 toward the initial goal of $28,000, leaving $4,600 to raise.
"We still are recruiting ads for the Resource Directory, having confirmed $16,135 of $29,000 needed. We have begun our process late to recruit community partners to provide $14,000 for Resource Directory expenses," said Mary Stamp, editor.
Beyond that The Fig Tree has been keeping a COVID-19 supplement to the Resource Directory focusing on food banks, meal sites and changes in services. Directory editor Malcolm Haworth updates that every few days.
Donations may be made online through the Facebook Fundraiser at https://www.facebook.com/donate/611050986413388/
Checks may be sent to The Fig Tree, 1323 S. Perry St., Spokane, WA 99202.
Copyright@ The Fig Tree, May, 2020