ISSUES 2017 12/10/17

Steve McIntosh
Friday, December 8th
Inter-Faith Wichita executive director Garland Egerton discusses Operation Holiday, as well as other Inter-Faith programs and servcies

Transcript - Not for consumer use. Robot overlords only. Will not be accurate.

This is issues 2017. I'm Ted Woodward and our guest today is Garland Edgerton. Executive director of Wichita interfaith ministries welcome Garland or Q. Thanks for joining us today appreciate doctor to be here in this with you I know you guys are busy all the time that is is Christmas even busier. This is a little bit of a hectic final analysis is operation holiday times so while we are. Getting. Set up for that the distribution dates are the fourteenth fifteenth and sixteenth so we are rather busy right now. We'll delve into that as we go along today but let let's go ahead and get some background as we get started here on interfaith ministries. How long has has it been around and widgets on and how did how to get started. Interfaith ministries is over a hundred some years old so it started off in the early days of Wichita where ministers from different faiths coming together. It has had different iterations over the years. But currently we. Focus on a mission of supporting low income and homeless individuals. In our community bringing people all beliefs together to so support those in our community most in need. What was the impetus when things got started so long ago I just. The conversation much as we need today to have a conversation between people of different thoughts and different ideas it was that same process to bring people together. For the benefit of the community of the early days of which at all. And as sort of a great concept and we hope to continue to carry airport in the future and of course. We know the the mantra of the of the poor and the homeless are always with us and it's not a problem that. Is ever alleviated completely those those folks always need help. It is you know one of the things that struck me as I first came in and as Starr working with five payments that is at the core of all of our beliefs no matter which religion. And even if we don't have a religious. Focus in our lives most people have that Tenet of helping those most in need and that is what we try to do is bring people together to provide an opportunity to support those. Does. Is there a problem eleven logistics do people come to use do you find them or is it some kind of synergy there. While most people come to what we work very closely with the the Wichita hot team for the homeless outreach team with the police department we work very closely with the hospitals with the parole officers. With column care mental health association so little contact us and bring people in to us. And then people blindness on their own as well. United way has to 211 program for the phone numbers there's a lot of ways folks can contact us when they need help. Not seen some of those similar as a homeless numbers over the years and he said there's been a little bit about dynamic shift away from just a single homeless person to sometimes whole family is. And even youngsters teenagers more of them are are chronically homeless now. Unfortunately that's quite true. What we see is more of the folks who are situation homeless the working they have jobs but something has happened. There's been helping issues something has occurred that has pushed him over the edge if you look at the statistics. In our country. Most families can take maybe one hit. But if you take this second financial hit some of us can even take the other one hit the net pushes them over the years so we've seen a lot of young families. Unfortunately were also saying a lot of folks who our senior citizens that elderly who are facing these type of crisis so. That's kind of changing the dynamics of who we support work. There were even seem that was or operation holiday numbers. The number families with here it is higher this year team. The how well this Wichita deal with the homeless are we a community it's it's is equipped well with its that are our eyes and subways I know. There's efforts to get out ahead of that problem and this didn't stop some of that before it happens but or or is it always displaying it help them catch up and sons. You know we are very fortunate wood which at all is a tremendous community of caring and giving and helping our own and helping folks here locally. So we really work well and and there's a core group that prior to coordinate the services so were not. Overly duplicating services who were getting folks to help that they need so were really fortunate with that what you call the way the folks kicking and unfortunately that need is still there. All you know we've had a real impact. With all the focus in the past few years on veterans and and really made a big impact there. Worst start to seem an impetus on you almost just continue to stop that and manage that early. Our core you know the goals or to try to stop. Folks before they get into her facilities you know when blow to put ourselves out of business and and have that stops on the more. We as a community can do to help people before they reached that crisis point the better serve we are as a community and assays as a boatload of money. Give us a little bit on the nuts and bolts of interfaith ministries. Do you have a board of directors. I network I am very fortunate I have a great board of directors have a seventeen folks on our board of community business leaders faith leaders so we have a lot of folks who really helped guide us. And I'm fortunate they really help keep us focused on our strategic direction. Where we're going what we need to be doing to be more impact toy in the communities so. We're very fortunate with the board director and and what kind of staff do you have there. We have five people in the house office we have us post death total about the it's 32 right now our facilities are homeless shelters are staffed 24/7 365. So a lot of that stuff for the house managers. And then during this time a year when the emergency winner shelters are open. We also have additional staff. Supporting that the men's and women's emergency shelters so it's a little higher right now because of the part time folks at those shelters it shelters dia. We have been afraid the end which is a year round shelter for short term state people who are newly facing homelessness. Our goal is to help people transition from there into some piper permanent supportive housing. Within a month to month. We run safe haven which is a facility for folks with chronic and severe persistent mental health issues that's a little longer she day facility. We run the men's and women's emergency winner shelters those are only open from November through march the worst time of the year when we need to provide a place for people to be assay. The yen we also have low income apartments that we've run and that's kind of a separate. Program more pride for provide housing for low income individuals and as far as the numbers of people you see coming into your shelters is it. Now the same or more lancer. We're full outline in the unfortunate fact is that interface the rank and support 52 people it's poll all the time. The emergency winner shelter were running in the 8200 man and fifteen to twenty women almost every night right now and obviously with the culture map that we're experiencing right now we're seeing those numbers increase you mentioned the interfaith and where is that located. That's on the corner of central on Broadway. Right next to the lord's diner. So and did let's talk about your area of responsibility is it just which it's hard to expand even further. No we support the Wichita area so through our programs and through operation hauled in all the different programs were involved in. We're all core right here and in which a call center county area. You mentioned all different programs there are a number on how many lives and people you touch every year. Through I'm through operation holiday which is the largest program. Will support or thirteen thousand are numbers look like they're going to be about the same as last year. Or projected write about thirteen 1500. People will support the operation holiday this year through our shelters and other programs about a thousand people. That we support him and our goal is obviously to transition those folks and two housing. We're very fortunate at the end right now. Believes cents a July when our fiscal year and started we've moved about a hundred people. From homelessness in two housing in and so much really our goal is supposed to try to move people as quickly as we can in to some type of housing. And I assume that day when how what are some of those avenues that they can find for housing making that transition. There are programs with. The community and state and federal funding programs that help or really depends on the individual efforts have a lot of these folks have to work so they just need. That assistance in getting in to some type of a program that that relief. From. Whatever the crisis may be that they're facing so. Were fortunate like I said there's lots of programs available folks wicca or issues more the ending for those type of programs but a they are out there. And sometimes. Sometimes we don't think that dynamic with somebody that has a job. And then they have the stress of not having a place to live. In the when they get off work that is that is torturing. It is. The challenge now and most of these folks are working low income. I'm in a low wage jobs. And sometimes they're working two or three jobs are part Qaeda bases based upon you know what worked here able to do and where they can find work on so. But we see that a lot it's there working. You know you see the term working poor it is those folks who can't handle that. Warner to climb crisis that we which we've seen happens. All right we have mentioned operation holiday but let's flesh it out a little bit of a very important annual event the interfaith ministry says every year let's. Let's delve into and breakdown operation holiday. Operation holiday is an event in which. We work to provide. Food. Clothing particular policies are especially. Winter coats hats scarves and gloves for men women and children. We're very fortunate to work with the Marine Corps reserves for poised for taught. We have some Christmas tree farms or provide trees but the goal is to provide. Food and basic needs for those in our community who are most in need there are income requirements so. While we're very careful to make certain that the folks that we're supporting meet those requirements. There are other programs and the community that provide these we share our information with them to make certain that each. Family is able to get the support they need and they're not double dipping and learn not serving multiple. Families or families multiple times so it's a tremendous program at one of the most rewarding things that I've ever been engaged in and and it's a great help our community with the folks who need at this premiere. How long is operation Holiday Inn around. Good question I know it's been going on for over forty years but I don't know specifically how long it has been going on for a long time I'm. How does how does how do you go about getting to community do help out with this effort. You know as I said earlier were really blessed with Powell engaged the commute he has. There are operation holiday boxes and stores and different places all over town. There are drop boxes at the Dillon's grocery stores they've been very supportive of this through the years. Places like who's to win and different places like have the boxes of the flock to places. They can also drop off by items our distribution center were very fortunate to be in the fields here location et Al west there on the west side compound west. That facility is open from eight until six under through Friday and eight to four on Saturday so items can be dropped off there as well. Unit of the boxes that the drop off boxes had unique look to them. I got the white box with our agreement offers holiday logo on our rights that are easier to spot. What are the items that you would love to see those boxes filled with what what can people don't it. Right now our biggest need is nonperishable goods canned goods we are really radical well unfortunately this year awed caring good. We always need the blankets in the right the coats in the scars and in those items. But the nonperishable canned goods especially protein items canned meats. Peanut butter things of that nature. We have a real need for the other area were or short then and having been a father of two teenagers I understand that the teen to teen program for those young people who were that kind of fourteen to 1617. Age or or short on item is basically for young women so popular when has any good ideas for young toward temper gets we really need those items this year. Why the F food items in lower supplies here. That is good question. Just a ninety popular police something part of it part of it is. And you see this happening not with just our organization to others. You know our nation's faced a lot of we've had a hurricane we've had the fire now we have all been asked to give it we have all given a lot. And so you kind of see that catching up perhaps a little bit with those. And it's been very warm. On the cold snap tends to put assault a holiday admitted I know I was feeling a little more. That way the last couple of days so. And we'll see that pick up now we're in December we're getting closer to do you know the Christmas and then the other holiday we'll see that Erica but. There's just. If it's just a little lower this year look at. You're listening to issues 2017 on the Entercom radio stations and our guest is Garland Edgerton executive director of Wichita interfaith ministries. I know you couldn't do. Any thing without your volunteers and this so many organizations in Wichita do. They function with so much the time and and desire from people who are giving back to use to help others familiar volunteers are big part of that. Operation holiday and of itself takes over 2000 bald guy who took their program together now so. You know we need people to. Set up the tables to count the period we've he has so we know how much we can distribute we have to we know how much to distribute. We need people who escort other folks who are coming to the program at the very rewarding thing to do on that Thursday Friday and Saturday. After operation holiday is over we've got to clean out that place and pick up so yes there's lots of volunteer opportunities. Especially this time of year with this program. We also have Bob volunteers who come and prepare the meals and our emergency winner shelter that's very helpful that takes. Load off of the staff when people can commitments are of those meals were so lots of opportunities. When you mentioned what the what is the culmination of operation holiday then and how does it Hauser wrap up. So it's the third to Friday or Saturday December 14 fifteenth and six and those are the distribution date so that's. When the folks who come here and those folks have. IT guy we usually works for all that and have all that mapped out. And Ogden know they're scheduled to come in and that's when it happens. Up obviously we focus on operation holiday this time of year when you have a number of events that go on throughout the of one of them is the Super Bowl. SO UP ER some are able to all of tell me about balance. Obviously a little bit of a play on words it's the week before the real Super Bowl. It's at the fund raising force it's a lot of fun. Basically. You can buy a bowl of soup and support and faith ministries. During that time period were already start to put that program together and we'll start marketing and getting information out to the community. Right after the first of the year so as an ample struck paying attention to that. Playoffs in the end of the year with football and it's a lot of button at it's a great program. We have people who donate the bowl system when you get your ticket you get a bald. That's custom made we have us from drawings and things we have a shocker statue that's being. Car what car this year and donated so it's a lot of fun to great program we have the church ladies who bring in dessert Tuesday. Lots of opportunities there fantastic that's Super Bowl about a what's final Friday. Final Friday we do that once a quarter we don't do it in the fourth quarter because. We have so much going on. What we tried to do provide an opportunity for different groups to com and and display their art. Show off or facilities a little bit it's a fun program. I'll do it done want to quarter. So different church groups were different. Organizations. Will come in and has displayed. We're talking about interfaith ministries this morning in Wichita. Tell us about your humanitarian awards. Humanitarian award is. A way for. Us as a organization in the community to recognize those in our community who have really. Given back who have made an impact. And someway or another I was talking earlier about help last week are our hardest thing with the humanitarian award it's figuring out. Who to give the award to what a great no problem we have in it is a great problem to have so we have five different awards. Based upon. Faith based groups used groups individuals who have really contributed. And made an impact in our community. If tonight's dinner. We have lots of fun with that with swine polls and things of that nature auctions. And but the did the goal there is to recognize. Individuals and organizations that have really impact our community when does that take place that will be all. This year glee that will be in September okay don't always that day he had and all of bail out to my Timor harassment not knowing the exact date that I don't know that we saw something on your web page called building a better community. Yeah how's that what does that. It is a program that. We pride to put together to help folks. Our community come together to address. Specific issue can the most recent event we did in conjunction with the folks out of Wichita State. And we had people who came in and talked about. Mass violence and bullying in our schools things of that nature that impact all of us. And often impacts those with lower in commonplace other child mental health issues significantly so there's different programs that spring we will be doing a bridges out of poverty program to help. Those of us who have never experienced poverty understand. The issues in the challenges faced by someone who is dealing with the crisis of homelessness and the crisis of you know I've paid the doctor bill do I pay the utility bill or drive put gas in the car so and go to work so will be putting that program together it just the way to bring people of the community together to engage in that conversation. And help move the discussion and move our commitment to our community forward. We're talking with the executive director of Wichita interfaith ministries Garland Edgerton how is interfaith ministries funded how does that process work. Most of our funding comes from individuals churches. We have some of our funding through different foundations and and grant programs. For arc takes manage for support the individuals who are actually working with individuals and trying to help them transition through. The crisis is that they are facing we do receive government funding for through and various other programs so most evidence Chester individually church faith based groups. Foundations people who understand the need in our community and are invested in helping those most in need. You encourage gift giving from people to give through their church or just eat and even an approach you with a gift if they would like ultimately autos will be happy to except to get tell average clumsy and so they can donate through our web site. In different ministries which at all doll or there are FaceBook page. Churches do programs for us there was lots of different ways to to donate and supports. If people would like to volunteer you we we talk about volunteers earlier how many they go about that process this call our main office 2649303. And we have volunteer coordinator during operation holiday gentleman named Alex. Is working with us this year were very fortunate so he coordinates that because we have 2000 plus volunteers. At the full time job now and so we're fortunate to have Alex working with this this year during the rest of the year we have other folks on staff who world. Provide opportunities for volunteers are delivered a shortage of volunteers and you find that people are were willing bid to be there and help out. Or Louis art and. It's a little above and most of the high impact but there's always you know the one offs situation right now to be honest work we're looking for a ball in Pierce's issue easily faith based groups or civic organization. To provide meals that emergency winners shelter. We have a lot of openings in January soap anyone would like to comment provide an evening meal for 8200 individuals. Give us a call will be glad to have that discussion but we're very fortunate want to gear and we really have communities ideas and invest and so. Most of the time. Were in good shape with the volunteers. Operation holiday everybody wants to be involved in the front and out but we always need help once it's over claiming the facility out so that week after operation called they would go issues a few extra volunteers. During that time as well. Got you this is Garland Edgerton witnessed today executive director of Wichita interfaith ministries. Garland how did you become involved in interfaith ministry. I would like to say it was a well planned. Well thought out opportunity. I would have thought I was going to be retiring at. Come out of via IP world where I spent most of my career. I was approached by a business associate died knew who was on the board in her way if I would be interested in stepping in on interim basis. And I interim I can do that every guy I can do that for awhile. And I was standing outside the in one day looking at the elevator trying to fix a problem and a mother with two children walked up. And after we got a place Tuesday. She start telling me Hersh story a while go into the details of a bush she would have been a working mom and had two jobs that lost both of them due to the issues. They came in our staff was able to get her into the end. Injury and a housing. That hit home that was the moment that you know there are things that sparked. Something in us that says hey. This is something I should pay attention to it so shortly after that I coddle the board said. But my hat in the ring for a full time and already had a leg up and I've been doing it for awhile so I was very blessed to have that opportunity. And as diarrhea will tell anyone who asked my retirement career is the most rewarding thing I've ever done. Well again and thank you just touched on the very basis of what makes that'll work is that human to human contact and helping a fellow. Fellow. Fellow human being citizen of Wichita it needs help the men were all there to try to get that accomplish yet you see you see someone do. Wants to take the steps wants to do the work necessary to move forward they just need that little bit of help and that's what we do. An exciting plans for interfaith ministries coming out. We would love to put ourselves out of business to be asked about how to but that's not gonna happen so. Will continue to do our work were fortunate to be in a community as I've said many times that supports this and so we'll keep doing the best that we can. Garland thanks for coming in thank you very much for having us through yesterday and Garland Edgerton executive director of Wichita interfaith ministries. That's all for this edition of issues 20171. Back next week. Thanks for listening I'm Ted Woodward.