Author: Sandy Windley

Innovative Event to Address & Illustrate Homelessness (Save the Date!)

Associated Ministries will host a brand new event this fall entitled “AMAZING QUEST to Understand Homelessness.” This unique family-friendly event invites the community to take part in an exciting scavenger hunt-style challenge with the goal of better understanding the realities faced by those who are homeless in our community. It will be a bit like The Amazing Race television show, with activity stations and learning opportunities located at various landmarks throughout Tacoma’s Hilltop neighborhood.

AM executive director Mike Yoder is excited about the event’s potential to move the needle on homelessness awareness in Tacoma and Pierce County. “There are so many misconceptions about homelessness,” says Yoder. “This event will address these misconceptions, illustrating the daily struggles of our homeless neighbors, while fundraising to inspire change and make a lasting impact.”

The Amazing Quest will take place on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2017, beginning and ending at People’s Park in Tacoma. Teams of 2-8 people will visit various locations around the Hilltop and participate in challenges to win points. These challenge points will be combined with points earned during a fundraising period prior to the event, with prizes awarded to the winning team. Teams can consist of families and friends, church groups, office teams, and others.

Funds raised before and during the event will benefit Associated Ministries and its work to address homelessness and empower people to live stabilized lives off the streets. “Amazing Quest to Understand Homelessness is our way of not just telling Pierce County residents about the realities of homelessness,” says Yoder. “It’s our way of engaging them in an impactful and memorable way.”

Check the AM website in the coming weeks for more details and team registration information.

Join Us for a Faith Community Meeting on Homelessness

You’ve likely heard that the City of Tacoma has officially declared a “homelessness state of emergency.” As response plans continue to be developed, local communities of faith will be called upon to be part of the solution; this is a unique opportunity for congregations to step up and demonstrate our compassion for those in desperate need. This is the time to be involved as never before!

In light of this emergency and the needs that are so clearly evident, we urge all people of faith to come together to better understand homelessness in Pierce County, to be introduced to programs and services offered by AM and other agencies, and most importantly, to learn how to take an active role in efforts to end homelessness.

Please plan to participate at AM’s next quarterly community gathering on Thursday, June 15, from 4:00-6:00 pm at Bethlehem Baptist Church, 4818 E. Portland Avenue, Tacoma. Among our guest presenters will be Pamela Duncan, Human Services Manager for the City of Tacoma.

We’d love to have representatives present from all congregations that are interested in addressing homelessness and effectively serving the vulnerable. Call Valorie Crout at 253-426-1508 for more information.

The Sacred Month of Ramadan

Ramadan, the most sacred of months for Muslims, begins this year on May 27th (ending June 25th). Most people think of fasting when they think about Ramadan; however, it is so much more than that for those who practice the Islam faith.  Ramadan is much more than just not eating and drinking; it is a time to purify the soul, refocus attention on Allah (God), and practice self-discipline and sacrifice.

The annual act of fasting (sawm) during the month of Ramadan is considered one of the 5 Pillars of Islam.  The other pillars, which shape a Muslim’s life, include daily prayer (salat), charity (zakat), professing one’s faith (shahaadh), and pilgrimage (hajj) completed at least once in a lifetime.  Every year, Muslims take an entire month to observe this strict fast and rededicate themselves to worship and faith.

Each night of Ramadan, Muslims end their daily fast at sunset with a celebratory meal called iftar, literally translated as “break fast.” 

In partnership with the Pacifica Institute and University of Puget Sound, Associated Ministries would like to invite you again this year for an interfaith iftar dinner on June 14th at UPS, from 8:00-10:00 p.m.  This event and dinner is free; however, registration is required.  Register at

We hope to see you there.  Until then, salaam alaikum (peace be upon you)!

Call to Faith Communities: City’s Homeless Encampments

City of Tacoma’s Explanation of Declaration of
State of Emergency Responding to
Homeless Encampments 

The City of Tacoma has called a meeting to explain and discuss the recent declaration of a state of emergency responding to homeless encampments.  Agenda is attached here.

Thursday, May 18
3:00 – 4:30 pm
Tacoma Municipal Bldg. North
733 Market St., Room 16
Tacoma 98402

Main meeting topics will include:
  Explanation of the Declaration
  The City’s Response to the Declaration
  Aligning the Response with Coordinated Entry & Pierce County
  Forming a Data Committee
  Next Steps

Faith-based organizations interested in participating or who have additional questions can respond directly to Tiegan Tidball with the City of Tacoma at 253-573-2320 or

Your collaboration and support in this endeavor to support the homeless in our community is appreciated.    

Local faith leaders pledge ‘respite and refuge’ from immigration raids

Churches, synagogues, mosques and temples and the wider faith community are united by the perennial tradition of welcoming the stranger as neighbor, alleviating suffering, removing fear and humanizing situations of injustice through solidarity and systems change. Faith communities have long exercised their spiritual commitments of hospitality, accompaniment and rapid response as part of the equity and social justice movement of liberation; “no one is free until we all are free.”

With that commitment in mind, the Church Council of Greater Seattle invited all faith communities to come together on May 1 at Saint Mark’s Cathedral in Seattle for a meeting to launch a local expression of the Sanctuary Movement. Participants included congregations who are declaring themselves to be a sanctuary congregation, congregations in discernment, supportive congregations, rapid response hubs and satellites, congregations who confront the targeting of certain groups, congregations committing to accompany and offer solidarity to immigrants and refugees and friends rooted in social justice.

During the meeting several local congregations pledged to serve as places of respite and refuge on a short-term basis in the case of local raids, sweeps or communal fear of harassment or hate violence. covered the meeting:

To learn more about the local Sanctuary movement, contact Michael Ramos of the Church Council of Greater Seattle via his assistant Ann Erickson at

Conference to End Homelessness

Conference to End Homelessness
by Tammy Boros, Housing Program Manager, Associated Ministries

On May 10th -11th 2017, homeless service providers throughout the State of Washington convened in Tacoma at the Greater Tacoma Convention and Trade Center for the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance (WILHA) Conference to End Homelessness.  This is a yearly conference for homeless providers to come together and learn.  Homeless providers were able to attend to multiple workshops that helped them strengthen their service delivery to homeless households.  On Wednesday, May 10th, one of the workshop both Associated Ministries (Tammy Boros and Angela Thompson) and Catholic Community Services (Alan Brown and Will Gorbaty) had the pleasure of hosting was on Diversion here in Pierce County and how we utilize Diversion.  When a household comes in contact with the Coordinated Entry System(CES) we first have a problem-solving conversation (Diversion) to help prevent homeless households from having to enter into Pierce County’s homeless services.  This workshop was focused on Diversion and not the Coordinated Entry System.  We tried to make our workshop as interactive as possible so that providers could walk away with having the experience of leading a problem solving conversation (Diversion) within a workshop setting. We had providers from all over the state attend this workshop including homeless providers from King, Kitsap, and Thurston counties. 

Friends of AM “Keep Dreams Alive” at Annual Gala

Saturday, April 29 was a highlight of the year for Associated Ministries as we welcomed hundreds of friends to our annual “Keeping Dreams Alive” Gala and Auction. Tens of thousands of dollars were raised to provide critical services to many of the most vulnerable members of our community.

Gala guests had a great time enjoying a delicious meal and meeting new friends, and many went home as the high bidder on a wonderful auction item or two!

During the evening attendees also learned more about the work of AM. The inspiring story of Byron and Mackenzie was showcased in a video, representing just one of the families we were able to directly impact and improve their lives.

Even if you were not able to attend our Gala this year, you can still help us bring life-changing solutions to more people in need in Pierce County. A gift to Associated Ministries helps to end poverty and homelessness in our community by enabling those we serve to find permanent housing and become self-sufficient with dignity and strength.

For more information about how you can get involved in changing lives, visit our website.

Take a moment now to mark the date of next year’s AM Gala and Auction on your calendar: Saturday, April 28, 2018…and invite a few friends to join you for a great evening that makes a big difference!

Uniting Together in Prayer

It’s not every day that faith leaders from nine different faiths gather together to lead prayer.  But that’s exactly what happened last Thursday, at AM’s annual interfaith observance of the National Day of Prayer. 

Community and faith leaders gathered together to lift up the needs of our nation and local community.  The National Day of Prayer, created in 1952, is a day that transcends differences, bringing together citizens from all backgrounds. This annual observance invites people of all faiths to pray for our nation. It is estimated that more than 30,000 observances are organized annually throughout the country, with AM’s gathering being one of the very few interfaith gatherings across the country.

We gathered to pray for seven areas of our nation and communities: families, education, business, media, military, government and faith communities.  This gathering felt timely this year, in an ever-changing nation where prayer feels needed more than ever.

We came together from our different faiths: Christian Science, Baha’i, Jewish, Mormon, Roman Catholic, Protestant, Unitarian Universalist, Muslim and the spiritual, non-affiliated.  We came together…and we prayed.  As important, we spent time together, hearing one another, and realizing we all have hopes for our communities and our nation.  And sharing in our gratitude for one another, and this wonderful country we call home.

Faith Communities Day at Tacoma Rainiers Game

As part of our mission of uniting people of faith, we want to invite you to our second annual “Faith Communities Day at the Tacoma Rainiers”!  This fun, family event on Sunday, July 16th is a perfect opportunity for your faith community to join other faith communities for a day at the ballpark. First pitch is at 1:35, with gates opening at noon at Cheney Stadium (2502 S. Tyler St, Tacoma 98405).  Pictures from last year’s event show how much fun faith communities had together!

Tickets are $13.00 each which includes a ballpark lunch.  Why should you join us instead of just going to the game?  By purchasing through Associated Ministries instead of groups obtaining them separately, we can ensure that the faith communities sit in the same section, which helps build a stronger community!
We are offering two options for you:
1)     You can purchase tickets and give them or sell them to your members
2)     You can purchase tickets and use them as a fundraiser to support your youth groups activities, mission trips, or other needs you have

Don’t delay! The Rainiers tell me seats are starting to sell faster for this game now that spring is here.  Please reserve your tickets by Monday, May 15th to ensure you will be sitting with other faith communities.   Ordering tickets is easy: just contact our Community Engagement Coordinator, Wendy Morris at 253-383-3056 ext. 117 or with how many tickets you would like for your group. She will arrange to get your tickets to you in plenty of time for selling (or you can pre-sell to get an accurate count of how many you need).

Download General Flyer Here 

If you would like a customizable flyer (Word format), please contact Wendy.  The customizable option can help you if you are looking to use the tickets as a fundraiser. Remember, each ticket gets a reserved-seat game ticket, a ballpark meal, and game program.  There will also be pregame autographs on the concourse and post-game Kids Run the Bases.
And don’t forget Rhubarb will be there and he wants you all to come too!  He says, “come out to Cheney Stadium on Sunday, July 16th to enjoy an afternoon of family fun, see future Mariners, and most importantly see the world’s greatest Reindeer (with apologies to my cousin Rudolph)!”  We hope you will join us for this fun day!

    For more information contact:
Wendy Morris at

253-383-3056 x117 or

We look forward to seeing you soon! 

Learn More about Homelessness Crisis Response System…and How You Can Help

Invitation to learn about the Coordinated Entry System (Pierce County’s crisis response system for those experiencing homelessness)

Members of the faith community, the staff of Associated Ministries (AM) would welcome a visit to your place of worship, business or neighborhood community meeting to present information on Pierce County’s Coordinated Entry System, the crisis system for all those experiencing homelessness in Pierce County. 

The first step in solving homelessness is to become educated about the homeless system, so you can inform those who are in need of service or others who may need to help a household navigate the system.    

If you would like AM staff to present during a social concerns committee, adult forum or whatever meeting makes the most sense, we’ll be there.

The more people of faith and goodwill we educate about homelessness the better!   It is going to take A LOT of people to move the needle to end homelessness.

Please feel free to contact me if you would like to schedule a time for Associated Ministries to come out to your place of worship or business to present information on the Coordinated Entry System.

In service,

Valorie Crout

Chief Program Officer


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