20 Years of Service – Head Chef Terry

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We’d like to take a moment to honor someone who is a vital part of our Millionair Club Charity community – Chef Terry. Chef Terry has served more than 2 million meals not just to MCC workers, but to anyone in our community in need of a tasty, nutritious meal.

Those who have interacted and worked with Terry know that he is the epitome of dependability, and his meals are always of the highest quality. Anyone who has had the opportunity to taste his food – especially his holiday turkey lunches – he is great at what he does and we are so grateful for his many years of service to our community.

“Chef Terry is amazing to work with, not only with his wonderful meals but with training hundreds of people to be job ready in the food industry!” said Brent Herrmann, Director of Food Programs.

To honor Chef Terry, he was presented with a custom chef’s coat that indicates his longstanding commitment to providing delicious and wholesome food to our community. On behalf of all MCC staff and the thousands of people whose lives you have touched, thank you Chef Terry for your decades of service!

Chef Terry holding his new custom chef's coat highlighting his 20 years of service, with Director of Food Programs Brent Herrmann (right).

Chef Terry holding his new custom chef’s coat highlighting his 20 years of service, with Director of Food Programs Brent Herrmann (right).

MCC staff with Chef Terry during the celebration of his 20 year anniversary.

MCC staff with Chef Terry during the celebration of his 20 year anniversary.

New Training & Outreach Specialist Will Support Labor Standards Education

Picture of Evelyn OjwangThanks to a grant from the City of Seattle Office of Labor Standards, Millionair Club has added a part-time Training & Outreach Specialist, Evelyn Ojwang, to help support our workers on their path to permanent employment. We asked Evelyn to answer a few questions about what this role will do and how it fits in with our mission – plus, a little bit about herself!

We’re excited to have you on the team at MCC! Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background.
I’m from Seattle! I grew up in West Seattle mainly and I am a proud alumna from Washington State University so you already know one of my favorite animals – go Cougs! I often get hang-ups about the rain even though it is a part of the very fabric of Seattle, but I love Seattle summers. I’m hoping we get more than a month of heat this summer season; fingers crossed! As for some of my hobbies, other than spending time with friends and family, I enjoy the arts, and that can vary from a trip to the Seattle Art Museum, catching a live concert at KeyArena, and occasionally going to Alki Beach when the weather is nice.

What do you want people to know about our MCC community?
The MCC community is about rebuilding the dignity of our workers and supporting their needs. Our workers come from a wide variety of backgrounds with very diverse life experiences and I really enjoy getting to know each one of them. From the STEP graduation ceremonies on Fridays, to the impromptu chats with workers joking around with staff, at MCC, everyone here is a face to remember. We work with them each step of the way as they strive to overcome their circumstances. We strive to change lives, we meet our workers where they are and we attend to their needs until their personal goals, as well as our mission, are met.

Tell us about your work and how it fits in with MCC’s employment programs.
I will be serving our community by providing education, training and outreach through activities, events, resources, referrals and other support needed to help workers understand and advocate for their rights. Workshops will be conducted on Wage Theft, Secure Scheduling, Fair Chance Employment and Hotel Employee Health and Safety.

Since I am also responsible for outreach, many of these workshops will be open to other community members not currently enrolled in MCC’s employment program.

These workshops are integrated into MCC’s STEP Program to make sure the Labor Standards requirements are met and also the Millionair Club mission and goals are accomplished. I also help workers with technical assistance in our computer lab, since we offer resources and permits related to job readiness and placement.

What I hope to do is help further motivate our hardworking community members about their rights, while responding to their unique employment and other service needs.

Why is educating our workers about Labor Standards important and how does it fit in to their pathway to permanent employment?
Educating our workers about Labor Standards is important because the demographic of people we serve are disproportionately affected by these issues and also suffer from homelessness and/or face barriers to employment. For example, the Fair Chance Employment Ordinance is a Labor Standard that applies to people with criminal records which impacts some of our worker population. They need to be aware of their rights given their situations. Another reason why Labor Standards education is vital is because our workers, and temporary workers in general, are more at risk for wage theft and other abuses, and may not be served well by conventional news sources relaying information about labor laws. As our workers transition into permanent employment they will be aware of their rights and confident in asserting them and reporting any violations as needed.

What made you want to pursue this work?
Seattle is a unique city. It’s awesome that the city has the jurisdiction to enforce laws that are separate from the state level that provide enhanced support for historically marginalized communities. I’m aware of the issues that minorities face being a minority myself, and I am passionate about service and the socioeconomic challenges that under-served communities in Seattle face. I believe it starts with rebuilding the self confidence and dignity of people that fall under that umbrella. Knowing one’s rights is a great start to rebuilding the lives of our workers, one job at a time.

THANK YOU SUPPORTERS – You Contribute to the “Jobs First” Solution to Homelessness for Folks like Reggie

Today on “Giving Tuesday,” all of us a the Millionair Club Charity want to give thanks to our donors, volunteers, and community partners, who help our “jobs first” solution to homelessness stabilize and rebuild the lives of hundreds of men and women each year. Reggie, pictured below, is just one of the 854 people who received services through the MCC’s supportive employment program last year. THANK YOU SUPPORTERS – without you, success stories like Reggie’s would not be possible.

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Reggie @ the MCC

Reggie’s Message

“If you’re a homeless person, and able-bodied, I don’t know why you don’t get down here to the MCC. I can come in here and take a shower, wash clothes.  I can eat.  This place is like, the hand that pulled me up, and made sure that once I was standing, that I had everything I needed to stay up. They got you.  They got you.”

Reggie’s Story

Reggie became homeless after Hurricane Katrina in 2009. Since that time, he and his family relocated from state to state, hoping that eventually they would find a place that provided a living and felt like home.

Unfortunately for Reggie, his travels never brought him to a place of stability. In April of 2016, he came to Seattle, with just a suitcase. “When I came to Seattle, I had lost everything, literally everything.  I was living on the street and had no resources.  It was the first time I really, really needed help as an adult person.  And I kept thinking, what is it going to take to get me back on my feet?” 

Reggie found a place to sleep in a mission, so that solved that problem. But what Reggie really wanted to do, was find a job.  He was told to try the Millionair Club Charity.

“I didn’t have the clothes or shoes to work at a proper job. Miss Olivia and Miss Lily at the MCC helped me so much.  I mean, they didn’t know me from a can of beans, but they just helped me.  It’s not just a job to them – here it’s personal.  And there’s a whole team that shows up for me.”

With his work clothes and Food Handler’s card provided by the MCC, Reggie went to work at Century Link stadium. He tried different kinds of jobs – cleaning streets for the Metropolitan Improvement District, and light industrial work at iClick Industries – then found a permanent job as a kitchen manager at the Underground Tour office.  But there were still some things that were holding Reggie back from success.

“Living at the mission, I had to carry around my bags with me all day. I was so embarrassed to have to bring my bags to work.  But there were all these lockers lining the walls at the MCC.  I said, who are they for?  They said, they’re for workers like you. This doesn’t sound like a big thing, but considering the situation I was in, it was gigantic.”

Reggie also remembers that it was really hard to work six days a week while sleeping at the mission. The MCC’s employment program told Reggie he could move in to the rooms at the Kasota apartments, but Reggie worried that he didn’t have enough money saved to pay a deposit on the rent. Then he was told that the first month’s rent would be taken care of by the MCC.  “My room might be small.  I might be able to sit in the middle and touch both walls of my apartment with my hands outstretched.  But these are MY walls.  Being in my own room is like removing an elephant that was jumping on me every time I tried to get up.  I feel normal here.  I feel like a normal person.  When Angele gave me that key to my room, I was like WOW, these are my walls.”

 

 

 

A Time to Celebrate: Holiday Lunches at the Millionair Club Charity

A Time of Celebration:  Holiday Lunches.  November 23 & 24, 2016;                             December 23, 2016; 12:noon to 1:30 pm

 “The Thanksgiving and Christmas lunches are something special,” smiles Brent Hermann, who has coordinated the meals program at the Millionair Club Charity for over 15 years. “We have two lunches where we have a holiday meal with ‘all the trimmings’:  Thanksgiving Eve and Thanksgiving.”

SONY DSC “Community Volunteers set the tables with tablecloths and decorations, and folks have a chance to sit down and be served turkey lunch, followed by pie,” continues Brent. “We want it to be a time of relaxation and rejuvenation over a hot delicious meal.”

 Thanksgiving morning kicks off when 80 volunteers from Full Life Ministry arrive, to package up thanksgiving lunches that are delivered to home-bound seniors.  Each meal is thoughtfully put together with a handmade card and placement from local school children.  The presentation includes a flower with every meal.”

SONY DSC Community Volunteers take the holiday packages to home-bound seniors, and sit with them, so they have company on the holiday.

The line starts forming outside the Millionair Club Charity building early for holiday lunch. Volunteers go outside and bring warm coffee.  They’re looking forward to a meal with “all the trimmings”:  turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, green beans, a roll, and a BIG piece of pie.

SONY DSC Over 800 holiday lunches will be served at the three holiday meals. Volunteers serve meals “restaurant style”, with our diners able to sit down, relax, and have dinner and pie brought to them.  It’s a joyous time for our staff, as many of our regular clients bring young children and friends to share the joys of the day.

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 The Meals Program at the Millionair Club Charity serves over 97,000 hot nutritious breakfasts and lunches, Monday through Friday, throughout the year. It is just one service of the supportive employment program at the Millionair Club Charity, that assists men and women who are homeless or have little or no resources, to get the services they need to become job ready and connect with employment opportunity. Services s include a shower, laundry, job training, licensing, work clothes, free prescription eye glasses and access to housing.

The Millionair Club Charity has been rebuilding lives through jobs and supportive services in its Belltown location since 1921. Find out more at millionairclub.org.

AMAZING AUGUST for Workers

annie-b-stills-68-portrait-alleyAugust 2016 Employment Program Highlights

The Millionair Club Charity’s supportive employment program has everything people with little or no resources need to become job ready and connect with work through our temporary staffing agency: meals, showers, laundry service, occupational licensing, work clothes, safety equipment and access to housing.

  413 workers received paychecks in August, with an average of 38 hours for the month. 

 Workers who obtained permanent placement: Fifteen!***  Aaron, Libby, Christopher, John, Dion, Reginald, Lavarna, James, John, Mike, Juliet, Anthony, John, James, Aratha

***Did you know that community taxpayers save up to $40,000 per year for every person who gets permanent work?  Fifteen workers with permanent jobs represent an annual savings of $600,000 !

Top Ten employers (by days of work)

Customer Sum of Hours
Delaware North Sportservice 8299.84
(Century Link Stadium)
Centerplate 3174.12
(Safeco Field Stadium)
Jobs Connect/Metropolitan 824.5
Improvement District

iClick Industries

748
Bellwether Housing 552.5

 

Permits and Licensing
  • Food handler’s cards = 135
  • Mandatory Alcohol Server Training = 6

IT’S EASY TO HIRE A WORKER AT millionairclub.org or by calling 206-728-5627.

SHINING a SPOTLIGHT on Employment Success: Sponsors of Chef Showcase

Sponsors of Chef Showcase believe in helping the men and women of Seattle who are homeless or face other barriers to employment, connect with job opportunities and rebuild their lives.  THANK YOU SPONSORS:  you make the Employment Awards at Chef Showcase possible.

GOLD LEVEL SPONSORS

TURNER CONSTRUCTION is honored to support the mission of the Millionair Club Chairity as they continue to rebuild the lives of men and women in our community.  As the nation’s largest general contractor, we understand the importance of providing opportunities and supporting the communities in which we live and work. Our responsibilities go beyond the business of ‘bricks and mortar.’  Together, with the Millionair Club Charity, we will build a better future for everyone in the Pacific Northwest.”  ~ Chris Killian, General Manager, Turner Construction Company

“CLARION PARTNERS supports a culture of employee involvement in the community and helps facilitate this through both workplace giving and volunteering programs.  The mission of the Millionair Club Charity — to provide jobs and serves to the homeless and unemployed — fits the social responsibility goals of Clarion Partners.  We are pleased to play out small part in this effort. ”  ~ Stephan Latimer, Managing Director, Clarion Partners

PARATEX PEST CONTROL  “As a board member at the Millionair Club Charity for over 40 years, I have seen first hand how a job can help rebuild a life — over and over again.  It’s a joy to sponsor Chef Showcase so others can meet the employers, workers, and community partners, who make the supportive employment program at the MCC a life-changer for so many.  I also appreciate that the MCC is largely funded by private donations instead of government, and that there is no religious requirement for help.  The MCC also encourages individuals to work instead of just receiving a handout. ~ Jim Osborne, Owner, Paratex Pest Control

SCHUSTER FOUNDATION & HOLLY GARDNER“The Millionair Club Charity’s Chef Showcase event is the culminating celebration of what sets this organization apart — employment.  Schuster foundation is proud ot participate in the recognition of the outstanding employers, employees, and community partners that are a part of this great organization.” ~ Holly Gardner, Vice President, The Schuster Group

SILVER LEVEL SPONSORS

HARBORSTONE CREDIT UNION

VIVJA PATEL & ASSOCIATES/MADISON AVENUE REALTY

RGP

SOUND BUSINESS FORMS

BRONZE LEVEL SPONSOR

BENEFICIAL STATE BANK

EVENT INFO

We would be honored if you joined us in the employment program celebration at Chef Showcase.  Four superb Seattle eateries are each preparing two delectable small plates of food, which are paired with wine tastes from Alexandria Nicole Cellars.  Dessert is icy and delicious Seattle Sorbets.  The event is Thursday, September 29, from 6:pm to 8:pm, at 415 Westlake in South Lake Union.  Tickets are $50 individual; $90 couple; $100 V.I.P. entry, which gives you a gift bag and unlimited wine tastes.  Buy tickets online HERE or phone Alice at 206-957-3846.  Hope to see you there!

 

 

Bo’s Story: “Living, not just Surviving”

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It was the last place Bo wanted to be: panhandling with a sign that said “anything helps” and living in a homeless shelter.  But a devastating divorce had left him almost penniless and to move forward from this low point in his life he needed help.  

Bo found the help he needed at the Millionair Club Charity. “I am so grateful they saw me for what I really was – a homeless person who was also a worker that wanted to succeed.”

 “When you enroll in their employment program,” continued Bo, “they give you everything you need:  breakfast, shower, laundry,  bus tickets.”   And after three weeks, Bo’s good work ethic was rewarded.  Bo was offered a full time job as a Street Cleaning Ambassador at the Metropolitan Improvement District.   His new income enabled Bo to rent a room at the Millionair Club Charity’s Kasota apartments so he could move out of the homeless shelter.

“Living in a shelter surrounds you with drugs, violence and chaos,” points out Bo. “Now thanks to my room at the Kasota apartments, I can close my door and sleep without interruption.  I am applying to be a green machine operator and saving my money.  I am living, instead of just surviving.” 

Thank you  to all our community partners:  You help ensure that the Millionair Club Charity’s supportive employment program can help hundreds of men and women like Bo rebuild their life.

SHOWERS OF GENEROSITY

THERE WAS A SHOWER OF GENEROSITY TODAY, when a $10,000 check was presented by Carol Nelson, Seattle Market President for KeyBank, to MCC Executive Director Jim Miller in the MCC’s new Shower and Laundry Center. 

The check was the second payment on a $20,000 grant awarded to the MCC to pay for an electrical upgrade of the Millionair Club Charity’s Belltown headquarters.  The increased electrical capacity enabled the MCC to QUINTUPLE the amount of washers and dryers we can utilize for washing our workers’ clothes so that they can be ready for work.

We are thankful for the partnership of KeyBank with our mission.  Key Bank employees are loyal volunteers at the MCC – cleaning our transitional housing units at the Kasota Apartments just last spring.

 Did you know that laundry is our worker’s #1 out-of-pocket expense? 

 

New Project Increases Outreach to Connect Homeless People to Jobs

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United Way of King County, City of Seattle, Millionair Club Charity and Downtown Seattle Association launch Jobs Connect employment project for homeless individuals

 Public private partnership aims to stabilize the lives of homeless individuals in downtown Seattle by rapidly connecting them to unfilled jobs.

SEATTLE (March 23, 2016) –  United Way of King County CEO Jon Fine, joined by Mayor Ed Murray and representatives from the Millionair Club Charity and the Downtown Seattle Association (DSA)  today launched Jobs Connect, a program which connects people living on the streets in downtown Seattle to work.

“We have people on the street who want to work, jobs going unfulfilled and many generous residents who want to help,” said Jon Fine of United Way of King County.  “Jobs Connect is an effective solution, with the potential to create an upward spiral in someone’s life that can make a real impact. “

With the homelessness state of emergency declared in our region, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray with King County Executive Dow Constantine committed new resources to help meet the immediate needs of people experiencing homelessness with additional outreach, services and shelter.

“As a community we have lifted thousands of people off of the street and prevented tens of thousands more from becoming homeless,” said Fine. “But homelessness is complex and pervasive and this crisis calls for new and innovative ways to get people back on their feet.”

While no single approach can meet needs of all the people living outside, complementary strategies can have a significant impact in moving people from homelessness to stability. Successfully working and being paid for your labor can have an extremely positive effect on a person, particularly in contrast to the isolating experience of life on the streets.

“We must shift the focus to longer-term solutions to homelessness, more than mats on the floor,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “We must talk about opportunity and hope for the future.   I want to thank all the private employers who are making these job opportunities available.  You are giving a precious gift – a brighter tomorrow.”

Economic conditions in our region make this an ideal time to launch the program, as demand for short-term employees is not currently being met. The Millionair Club currently leaves requests for employment unfilled during peak seasons.

Utilizing a mobile strategy, Millionair Club Charity outreach workers are circulating through downtown on foot and in Jobs Connect vans, focused on engaging and enrolling visible individuals.

Supportive services and assistance are provided to eliminate the common barriers that prevent many homeless people from working such as transportation, access to certification, storage of personal items and hygiene facilities.  The connection is rapid, with an assessment and services being delivered on day one, and on-the-job paid training beginning at $12 per hour on the second day.

“People who are living unsheltered find it hard to believe that they’re employable,” points out Millionair Club Charity Executive Director, Jim Miller.  “Their clothes are dirty; they’re cold, hungry, and have a backpack they have to carry around at all times with all their possessions.  Jobs Connect gives us the power to take our message to them where they’re living, bring them back to the Millionair Club Charity, and give them the support they need to be job ready.  It’s an amazingly empowering message for people at their lowest ebb of confidence – and one that will hopefully be the start to getting them into a job and housing.”

At launch, The Metropolitan Improvement District (MID), managed by the Downtown Seattle Association, is the anchor employer for Jobs Connect, offering work with the DSA/MID Clean Team. The clean team patrols the streets of downtown, picking up trash, removing graffiti and pressure-washing sidewalks, among other tasks. The MID identifies how many workers are needed the following day and fills those jobs with Jobs Connect participants.

“The Jobs Connect program allows our DSA/MID Clean Team to cover more ground and keep downtown clean, but there’s also a larger need that’s being met,” said DSA President & CEO Jon Scholes. “This program helps provide a path toward housing and stability to get people on a track that will improve their lives. We’re thrilled to be an anchor employer and to partner with these organizations to address homelessness in our city. The scope of the challenge we face around homelessness requires that we collaborate on new approaches.”

As the program grows to scale, additional downtown employers will be identified who employ workers on an ‘as need basis’ as well as additional employment specialists, outreach workers and Jobs Connect vans.

As the program grows to scale, Jobs Connect is seeking additional anchor employers with ‘as needed’ positions to be filled.

Start-up costs for Jobs Connect have already been raised with an initial investment of $92,000 from the City of Seattle, and an additional $85,800 raised from private philanthropy through United Way of King County. United Way plans to raise an additional $248,300 by July 1, 2016 to significantly expand the program.

Expected first year client contact will number 3,000 individuals with a take up rate of 40 percent.

To learn more about the Jobs Connect program visit www.uwkc.org/ending-homelessness/jobs-connect

What’s in a name?

Have you ever wondered why we drop the “e” in Millionair? This unique spelling dates back to the early days of the Millionair Club Charity. Read on to discover the reasoning behind this unconventional name.

The story goes that our founder, Martin Johanson, named his organization  “The Millionair Club Charity” because he believed that helping others could make anyone feel like a million bucks. This was a matter of moral (not material) wealth. Johanson got rid of the “e” because he did not want anyone thinking that his organization was snooty or elitist. This was a different sort of “club,” a place where hard work and charitable service would be valued over social status and material wealth. Everyone was welcome!

That’s the story, but does it stand up to investigation? We found this newspaper ad in our archives. It was published in the Seattle Star on April 5, 1921. (That’s right, almost 95 years ago!) In the ad Johanson has something to say about the name “Millionair.”

Historian’s hint: look no further than the first paragraph.

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Want more Millionair history? Check out this online article and find out what Johanson almost called his “Millionair Club.”