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June 2024 Newsbriefs


Associated Church Press honors Fig Tree

Out of 821 entries in 76 categories, The Fig Tree received a national 2023 Best of The Associated Church Press (ACP) honorable mention award in the category "Overall Excellence/Best in Class" for newspapers on May 17 at the ACP Convention in Chicago.

Each year, The ACP, which has served religious communicators since 1916, honors faith communicators' best work with these awards for new and established newspapers, magazines, journals, news services, newsletters, blogs and websites.

"The religious landscape has changed in recent years," noted the awards information. "With it, the role of faith-based journalism has changed, and the role of communicators has been reinvented and reimagined."

In the same category, the award of merit went to The Alabama Baptist and the award of excellence to The Baptist Paper.

For information, visit

Fig Tree archiving project seeks funding

The Fig Tree has begun scanning copies of the first 20 years of its issues that are not already in pdf format to make all issues available to Washington Digital Newspaper Archives.

Directory editor Malcolm Haworth is working with service missionaries with the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints part of this summer and fall to do the scanning.

The Fig Tree is connecting with Shawn Schollmeyer of Washington Digital Newspapers, which invited The Fig Tree to archive its newspaper because of its cultural significance.

There are costs for the project, including costs for Shawn to prepare the digital documents The Fig Tree provides.

"We welcome those who wish to help us raise $8,000 to complete the project during the coming year," said editor Mary Stamp. "The files will eventually be available online to share our coverage since 1984."

For information, call 535-4112.

Unity in the Community marks 30th year

Unity in the Community, the region's largest multicultural event, will celebrate its 30th year from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 17, in Riverfront Park.

The organizers with NW Unity invite vendors and sponsors to join in celebrating diversity.

"It's a special day for children and families to learn about the diverse heritages that make our community great," said co-organizer April Anderson.

At Unity in the Community's Global Village, children can hear dozens of languages, meet people who have come to the region from all over the world and play games that are part of different cultures.

The festival features diverse entertainment, cultural village displays, games, arts, food and activities for children and adults, including a job/career fair and health screening, added co-organizer Mareesa Henderson.

Proceeds after costs provide school supplies and children's activities. The event is planned by a volunteer committee. 

For information, call 599-6669 or visit

WorkSource consolidates one-stop aid

WorkSource Spokane One-Stop Campus is upgrading its campus at 140 S. Arthur St. to enhance access to services for customers.

Effective May 31, services previously offered at Resource Center of Spokane County will will merge its resources with WorkSource Spokane, said Kevin Williams, division executive for system advancement.

By integrating human services into WorkSource Spokane in one place, the program centralizes resources for the community from career development to tailored assistance for re-entry, health care, working parents, job seekers and businesses, explained Mark Mattke, Spokane Workforce Council, CEO.

For information, email

Sravasti nuns talk on 'Choosing Harmony'

Four nuns from Sravasti Abbey will give a series of talks on "Choosing Harmony" at CREATE Arts Center in Newport, from 6:30 to 8 p.m., Mondays June 3 to 24. The presenters, Venerables Thubten Kunga, Dekyi, Rinchen and Monlam, have lived and trained with the Abbey's founder—Buddhist teacher and author, Venerable Thubten Chodron—for many years.

"In these divisive times, harmony seems elusive, and kindness and compassion are in short supply," said Thubten Kunga. "Thankfully, there are practices anyone can learn to increase connections to others, no matter how different we may be."

Abbey monastics will share meditation and thought-training practices that keep the heart open and calm in difficult situations.

Sessions include a short, guided meditation to relax, a talk, questions and group discussion.

Sravasti Abbey, founded in 2003 near Newport, is a Buddhist monastery practicing the Tibetan tradition.

For information, visit

Habitat Blitz Build is demonstration project

For 23 years, Habitat for Humanity Spokane's Blitz Build has drawn hundreds of volunteers for a two-week accelerated build that is also an opportunity to raise funds and awareness.

An event unique to Spokane, Blitz Build offers camaraderie as professional builders, sponsor groups and volunteers work with Habitat families to build safe, healthy and affordable homes.

Volunteer individuals and groups will join Blitz Build June 3 to 14 in the city of Spokane Valley.

"Blitz Build is an exciting time at Habitat for Humanity," said Michelle Girardot, CEO of Habitat for Humanity-Spokane. "Nearly one in three households in Spokane are considered 'cost-burdened' and spend more than 30 percent of their income on housing costs. Habitat is a beacon of hope for those seeking to buy a home they can afford in Spokane.

"The Spokane Valley Blitz Build site is a demonstration project using Insulated Concrete Forms, a sustainable, noncombustible concrete building system that reduces upfront expenses and on-site construction time, while maximizing a structure's durability and energy performance—reducing its carbon footprint," Michone said.

Habitat-Spokane's annual fundraising build event is a hands-on opportunity to dig into the home-building process and partner with those working hard in its Homeownership Program.

"The only skill needed is a desire to help families on their homeownership journey — no experience necessary," she said.

Currently, 70 families are working toward home ownership.

Habitat for Humanity-Spokane raised $135,776 with more than 500 guests at its 2024 Hope Builders Luncheon in April to help families achieve their dreams of affordable homeownership.

Habitat-Spokane will host its first-ever Pride Build Day at Blitz Build on June 10.

"We invite local members of the LGBTQIA2S+ community and allies to help build inclusivity while we highlight the need for affordable homeownership for all," Michelle said.

For information, call 534-2552 or email

Second Harvest partners with food processors

Second Harvest is committed to leveraging the region's agricultural abundance to end hunger, said Carrie Perry, senior leader at Second Harvest, in the recent newsletter.

"Our partnerships with local food processors enable us to transform perishable produce into shelf-stable foods, which are desirable for their ease of handling and shelf life," she said. "These collaborations are vital. Fresh produce is abundant but perishable and can be challenging to distribute before it spoils."

By working with processors, Second Harvest ensures more food reaches people in need.

A partnership with Tree Top provides 120 tons of apples and converts apples into four semi-truck loads of applesauce that is shelf-stable, so it can be distributed over a longer period.

Another collaborative project was with potato farmers who donated 375,000 pounds of bulk potatoes. Basic American Foods processed them into two truckloads of dehydrated, shelf-stable potatoes, which are easy to store and use, she said.

Second Harvest seeks to increase production with Tree Top in the coming year and has a second round of processing planned with Basic American Foods in the next few months.

"We hope both ventures will continue to thrive for years to come," Carrie said. "These partnerships exemplify our strategy to harness the abundance of local agriculture while addressing the shortage of shelf-stable food producers in our service territory. We are continually seeking to forge more collaborations to provide healthy, long-lasting food to those who need it most."

For information, call 524-6678 or visit

YMCA plans Healthy Kids Day on June 7

Healthy Kids Day from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Friday, June 7, is part of a national initiative to improve the health and well-being of kids and families.

For more than 30 years, the YMCA has hosted this free community event to inspire children and families to keep minds and bodies active through the summer and beyond.

The evening includes healthy, fun activities that celebrate kids being kids with organization booths—including Spokane Valley Library, Boy Scouts of America, East Valley Community Coalition, Manzanita House, Providence Sacred Heart Children's Hospital, Washington Poison Control, S.C.O.P.E with Operation ID and Kids Helmets, Spokane Valley Parks & Recreation, Spokane Valley Fire Department and Second Harvest.

There will be games, prizes, face painting, a bouncy house, petting zoo, kite flying and a climbing wall.

The first 250 kids will receive a free T-shirt.

For information, call 777-9622 x 4290 or

SNAP's Dad's Day Dash is June 16

The 12th Annual Dad's Day Dash, with the choice of a 5K or a one-mile Father's Day fun run, will start at 9 a.m., Sunday, June 16, at the North Bank Shelter in Riverfront Park in Spokane.

The registration fee helps support SNAP's more than 30 programs that served 53,329 people in the community in 2023. SNAP helps people seeking a way out of poverty with energy assistance, small business loans, housing, home repairs and more.

In 2023, nearly 400 crossed the finish line in the Dad's Day Dash. People may participate as individuals or teams.

Participants will receive a race T-shirt. Later they may join in Expo events at Riverfront Park.

For information, call 456-SNAP or visit

Synod asks for funds for flood aid in Tanzania

Northwest Intermountain Synod (NWIM) Bishop Meggan Manlove is appealing for $34,000 to assist the companion synod, Ulanga Kilombero Diocese (UKD) in Tanzania, in recovery from a flood affecting much of East Africa.

Successive heavy rainstorms from March to early May led to loss of lives and livelihoods, displacements, evacuations and disease because of destruction of homes, crops, roads, schools, power structures and water contamination, according to UKD Bishop Renard Mtenji.

Meggan asked the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) congregations in the synod to take a special offering on June 9 for UKD Flood Relief.

"The funds will help pastors replant crops in the next growing season, help schools retain students whose parents have no resources, and help the Lugala Lutheran Hospital resupply, fix inaccessible roads to the hospital and provide water treatment in nearby communities," she said.

The Kilombero River Valley is a major agricultural region. Towns, homes, schools and churches that usually don't flood in a rainy season became inundated. Fields at the Tumaini Seminary were destroyed. The school's new wall reduced damage to buildings, but the road to the hospital is impassable, Megan said.

For information, visit

Salvation Army collects funds for backpacks

The Salvation Army's 15th Annual Backpacks for Kids event teams up with NomNom Convenience Stores to collect funds through June 30 to provide 4,000 K-12 students with free backpacks and school supplies.

Customers may donate when they make purchases or by adding their name to a flier at stores in Spokane, Spokane Valley, Airway Heights, Mead, Deer Park, Liberty Lake and Coeur d'Alene.

Over the past 14 years, NomNom has raised $600,000 for Backpacks for Kids. Captain David Cain, corps officer of The Salvation Army Spokane, is impressed by the response.

Since the inception of Backpacks for Kids in 2010, The Salvation Army Spokane has distributed 57,000 backpacks to local young people. Backpacks will be distributed Aug. 14 at The Salvation Army, 222 E. Indiana Ave. in Spokane.

For information, call 325-6810 or visit





Copyright@ The Fig Tree, June 2024