Tag: free

Disaster Response Care Team Training

Disaster Response Care Teams are a small group of specialized volunteers who offer emotional and spiritual support during the response and recovery phases of a disaster or emergency evacuation. Care Teams are overseen by Associated Ministries, and offered in partnership with Pierce County Department of Emergency Management and Pierce County Citizen Corps. Training for Care Teams is provided by Washington Community Chaplain Corps.

Care Team members are volunteers who offer emotional and practical support to survivors of disasters during the response and recovery phases. Care Team members help by:

  • Provide a Calming Presence
  • Help Connect Survivors to Resources
  • Identify Unmet Needs
  • Support Emergency Shelter Operations

Refreshments will be served!

Please pre-register for this free event by contacting Wendy Morris at wendym@associatedministries.org or 253-426-1501. More information about the Disaster Response Care Team program can be found online at www.associatedministries.org.

This is a four-part training.  Training dates for 2018 are:

  • Saturday, March 10th from 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
  • Saturday, June 9th from 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
  • Saturday September 8th from 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
  • Saturday, November 17th from 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Martin Luther King, Jr., Redeeming the Prophetic Vision Interfaith Service

Download flyer.

Download bulletin insert.

Martin Luther King, Jr., Redeeming the Prophetic Vision is an annual, all volunteer-organized, interfaith community event. It seeks to honor Dr. King’s radical call for peace and justice for ALL people by helping our community to shine the light of his vision on our current local, national, and global situation; re-imagine unity across difference; renew our shared commitment to the path of social justice; and reconnect with peace and justice activists and advocates across our community. This inspiring event is produced by The Conversation in partnership with Associated Ministries and Urban Grace Church. Please join us on Sunday, Jan. 14, 2:30-4:00 pm at Urban Grace, 902 Market St., Tacoma. You can find more information at https://www.facebook.com/events/934091500083724/.

Volunteering is Rewarding For Everyone

Eleesha, a taxpayer living in Tacoma, was being swallowed by the stress and frustration of dealing with her taxes. Calling one of the bigger tax preparation service providers, Vaughan explained her situation and income level. She was told because her income was lower than the requirement to file that she did not have to file and they will not be preparing her taxes. Disheartened with the proclamation, Vaughan was having discussions regarding what she was told with her family. Then she heard about the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program.

She was urged by her mother to call and make an appointment to get a second opinion on her tax standing. Upon arriving for her appointment, she was still hesitant to have her taxes processed believing that may be a waste of her time. After the interview process and after waiting for a volunteer, Eleesha had her taxes processed and reviewed. To her amazement, not only did she benefit from having her taxes filed, she received a refund that much more than she thought; her total refund was $4,985! She was very grateful for the services the VITA volunteer provided. She mentioned that she now had money that she could use towards her household needs and repair to the family vehicle.

This is just one of the many stories volunteers hear when they are helping people complete their tax forms. However, more people are needed to volunteer to ensure those stories and successes continue. 

Why should you volunteer?  Some of the benefits of being a VITA volunteer include:

  • Gaining new skills
  • Looks great on a resume
  • Meet new people
  • Make a difference
  • Serve the community

Did you know that the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program has a huge impact on the community?  Over 2,800 people served, saving about $800,000 in tax prep fees and bringing back more than $3 million to the community. 

Helping people do their taxes that cannot afford to pay someone and more importantly cannot afford to make a mistake and not maximize their refund. The VITA program offers free tax help to people who generally make $54,000 or less, persons with disabilities and limited English speaking taxpayers who need assistance in preparing their own tax returns. IRS-certified volunteers provide free basic income tax return preparation with electronic filing to qualified individuals.

View this YouTube video for more details.

You will receive training to provide free tax help for low-to-moderate income families who need assistance preparing their tax returns. How does this program work? As a committed tax volunteer you’ll be assigned to work with a sponsoring organization, first to receive training and then to begin volunteering at a location in your community. Training is offered both online and in the classroom. Tax sites are generally open nights and weekends and the hours are flexible. You will surely find a volunteer site close to you.

To learn more, visit our website at www.VolunteerTaxHelp.org.

Holiday Open House

Come join us on Friday, December 8th for our annual Holiday Open House!  Associated Ministries will be decorated to help show our creativity, inclusivity and festive side.  There will be refreshments, tours of the building (did you know it used to be a mortuary?), and smiling faces.

This is an opportunity to chat with staff members, and learn more about our programs and how we help the most vulnerable in our community. RSVP would be appreciated but not  required, just stop by our building at 901 South 13th Street between 11:00 am and 2:00 pm on Friday, December 8th to join in the fun!

We appreciate all the support we get each year from our volunteers, community partners, faith communities, sponsors, and individuals.  Our hope is that you can come celebrate the holiday season with us, and that 2018 begins another wonderful year working together shared commitment to our community and those in need!



Care Teams Training: offering compassion and support in times of disaster

Our next Care Team training is happening soon! Please join us for this quarter’s topic, “Boundaries and Self-Care for Caregivers.”

Twelve years ago on August 29th, Hurricane Katrina made landfall in southeast Louisiana, becoming the most destructive hurricane in U.S. history. Hundreds of thousands of people in the hurricane’s path were displaced. To help communities of faith in Pierce County assist evacuees who were relocated here, Associated Ministries created the Care Teams program.

Today, AM continues to help communities of faith prepare to serve in times of disaster. We offer quarterly Care Team trainings to train volunteers to provide emotional, spiritual, and practical support for disaster survivors. Someday, it may be our own community in need. When that happens, will you be ready to help?

This is a free event. Coffee and refreshments served!

RSVP to Wendy Morris, wendym@associatedministries.org, or 253-426-1501.

Ready to Serve in Times of Disaster

All of our communities will one day be affected by a disaster – whether natural, such as storms or earthquakes or a volcano erupting as Mt. St. Helens did 37 years ago today, or caused by accidental or deliberate human conduct. When that time comes, will you be ready to help?

Learn more about how you can help in times of disaster at a Care Teams training! Disaster Response Care Teams are groups of trained volunteers who provide support, compassion, and resources to those affected by disasters.  Training and materials are free!

The next Care Team training will take place on:

Saturday, June 10, 2017, 9 – 11 AM
Bethlehem Baptist Church
4818 Portland Avenue, Tacoma, WA 98404

The topic is Psychological First Aid – understanding the impact of disasters, and how to be a calming presence and emotional support to survivors. Coffee and refreshments will be served.

For more information visit our website at www.associatedministries.org.

Housing is the Foundation for Wholeness

Associated Ministries’ Community Quarterly Meeting

Learn How YOU Can Impact Homelessness

All people of faith and good will are invited to attend an interactive learning session on Thursday, March 16 from 4-6pm, at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, 7410 South 12th Street, Tacoma, WA 98465.

Attendees will learn about Associated Ministries’ programs and services, what homelessness looks like in Pierce County, and how people of faith can directly impact homelessness.

The crisis of homelessness in our community is real!

In 2016, 13,740 households contacted Pierce County’s Coordinated Entry System experiencing some level of housing instability. These are struggling families and vulnerable individuals who spent the previous night on the street, in a shelter, or in a place not meant for human habitation, as well as those fleeing from domestic violence.

YOU can make a difference!  

Please plan to join us to continue our conversation about ways that people of faith can impact homelessness!

For more information or to RSVP, please contact Valorie Crout, Associated Ministries’ Chief Program Officer via email or 253-383-3056 ext. 108.

Free Tax Preparation

Tax season has begun! Once again, Associated Ministries, in partnership with several other local organizations, will offer FREE tax preparation services to low and moderate income taxpayers and seniors at 23 different locations in Pierce County. IRS-certified volunteers provide free basic income tax return preparation with electronic filing to qualified individuals.

Why get your taxes done through VITA? 

  • You will receive help from IRS certified tax preparers, and you are helping people expand their experience and resume to find jobs in the financial field. 
  • Volunteers will help eligible taxpayers claim the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and other similar credits.  A large number of taxpayers who could qualify for the EITC do not claim the credit.
  • It’s free for low and moderate income taxpayers (incomes up to $54,000), and seniors.

Before going to a VITA site, be sure to bring:

  • Income documents such as W2s from all jobs worked, and 1099 forms for other income
  • Documentation of expenses you want to claim, such as child care expenses, home mortgage interest, higher education expenses, and charitable donations
  • Bank account information for refund direct deposit
  • Photo ID for the primary taxpayer (and spouse, if married). 
  • Social Security Cards or ITIN cards for all family members. 

Please note that VITA volunteers are unable to do tax returns for married taxpayers filing separately, or returns with some complex tax situations.

VITA sites are located throughout Pierce County.  Call 2-1-1 or visit www.VolunteerTaxHelp.org to locate a site near you.

How Can People of Faith in Pierce County Assist the Homeless?

What can members of our community do to address the growing challenge of homelessness? People of faith and goodwill are invited to attend an interactive learning session regarding homelessness in Pierce County. Participants will come away with a better understanding of this crisis and will be briefed on the assistance programs that are available, as well as the work that remains to be done.

The crisis is real: during the past 11 months, Associated Ministries interacted with 7,212 households that were experiencing some level of housing instability in Pierce County. These are struggling families and vulnerable individuals who spent the previous night on the street, in a shelter, in a place not meant for human habitation, as well as those fleeing from domestic violence.

Rev. Dr. Eric Jackson of Bethlehem Baptist Church, a member of Associated Ministries’ Board of Directors, will host the gatherings; he invites all people of faith and goodwill to attend to learn more about how to assist those experiencing homelessness in Pierce County.

For more information or to RSVP, please contact AM Communications at communications@associatedministries.org.

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