Sorbets & Shared Values: Making the World a Friendlier Place

Workers who come to MCC have many goals – some just need a job quickly to supplement their income so they don’t lose their home, others are looking to build their soft skills to succeed at any job they work, and some individuals simply need a hot meal and a shower. Your support can help reduce barriers to workers trying to meet their goals by providing access to essentials support services.

While workers face barriers and challenges, it is important to celebrate their accomplishments, which is why we host the annual Chef Showcase & Employment Excellence Awards. We want you, our community of supporters around MCC to join us in honoring the successes of our workers, along with the significant efforts and contributions made by our employers and community partners.

Hosting this event would not be possible without the support of local businesses like Seattle Sorbets, who have been involved in this event since it began four years ago. Claiborne Bell, Seattle Sorbets’ VP of Operations and Marketing, is involved not only with Chef Showcase, but is also on our Kitchen Task Force.

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Claiborne Bell of Seattle Sorbets with his mother, Belinda, at last year’s Chef Showcase & Employment Excellence Awards

“We have a great family run business here at Seattle Sorbets and it’s really important to all of us to give back to the community that has supported us,” Claiborne said. “We believe that helping people is our responsibility and that doing our part to leave this word better than we found it makes us better people.”

Attending Chef Showcase means getting to enjoy delicious desserts from partners like Seattle Sorbets, unique small plates from Ethan Stowell Restaurants, Huxley Wallace Collective, Sweet Iron Waffle Bar and Ezell’s Famous Chicken. You even get expert wine pairings from Alexandria Nicole Cellars!

“The Chef Showcase is a great way for us to give back to our community, meet people who enjoy our sorbets, and network in the food industry with the other chefs,” Claiborne said. “We are honored to be invited back and we look forward to it every year.”

The food, wine and desserts are certainly a treat, but that’s not the best part: attending the Chef Showcase & Employment Excellence Awards means supporting our workers in reducing barriers to their long-term goals, helping them on the path to success and bettering the greater community.

“This world can be an unfriendly place at times but if we all can do a little bit to help make it a little easier on someone going through a tough time then that’s what we should do,” Claiborne said. “Millionair Club Charity shares these values and that is why we work with them, they work diligently to elevate people and restore their hope for a better future.”

Get your tickets today to the 4th Annual Chef Showcase & Employment Excellence Awards and help make a difference for those in need in our region. This event is generously supported by Servco Foundation, Harborstone Credit Union, Pacific Continental Bank and the Schuster Foundation.

Why are eyeglasses so important?

Yelena (right) and Donovan have both received glasses from our Vision Clinic.

If you can’t read the words on a job application – it’s difficult to get on a path to success. Thanks to the hard work and support of volunteers, donors and Walman Optical, we are able to run a Vision Clinic at Millionair Club Charity (MCC) that not only offers free exams, but also free eyeglasses for our workers and anyone in need. We are the only permanent clinic that offers free glasses to those in need in the Seattle area.

“Each week I get to see a lot of happy and appreciative people come in, get their eyes checked, and pick out frames,” said Lauren Kubik, who helps coordinate MCC’s client services. “Working in the Vision Clinic is my favorite part of my job.”

Many people who live in poverty or experiencing homelessness can get free eye exams, but it is very difficult to pay for or find affordable glasses. At our Vision Clinic, anyone in need can make an appointment and gets to pick something personal that fits their needs or style. We get the privilege of seeing our clients’ reactions when they see the beautiful selection of frames.

Volunteers Jackie & Redick near our collection of frames we have available.

“For some people, this is the first time they have ever had their eyes checked,” Lauren said. “It feels good to be a part of something that really impacts peoples’ day to day lives.”

For the past 26 years, MCC’s Vision Clinic opens once a week from September through June. Over the last year, we provided 570 people with free prescription frames, serving 90 more people than we served in the prior year.

Know someone in need of glasses or vision care? Call 206-728-5627 to set up an appointment when our clinic reopens in September.

Making the Vision Clinic possible are more than 35 volunteers, which include opticians, optometrists and others who dedicate their time each week to making things run smoothly.

Thank you to all who support our Vision Clinic and make it possible! You too can help our community get on the path to rebuilding lives – learn about ways to give to our programs.

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.

Enjoying five decades of customer satisfaction

Dee McQuesten

For nearly five decades, Dee McQuesten has hired workers from us on a consistent basis. From the 1970s to the present day, Dee has one glowing observation about the quality of services she’s received:

“One of the things that continues to impress me is, not only are your people skilled, but they never fail to be prompt,” Dee writes to us.

Recently Dee decided to downsize and move to a new home. She requested a team of Millionair Club Charity workers to assist with her move, and they did not disappoint. She had especially nice things to say about James, the leader of the moving team.

“A special thanks to James Woods, who is a superstar mover and supervisor,” Dee says. “He led the team and was terrific. Brennan, Gabriel and Jeremiah were all GREAT!”

Click here to find out how our workers can serve your home, property or business. Learn more about Dee’s business, McQuesten Framing & Fine Art Services.

Meet Betty: Long-time donor issues a Hobart Mixer challenge

Meet Betty, a long time supporter of the Millionair Club Charity.

Meet Betty, a long time supporter of the Millionair Club Charity.

Since 1949, Betty Wagner has supported the Millionair Club Charity’s multifaceted approach to touching lives of men and women in greater Seattle.

“People who need a job, need a place where they can find a job,” Betty says. “However, if people are ever going to be able to make anything of themselves, they need a place to live, take care of their health, and be educated.”

Betty continues to support the Millionair Club Charity because she thinks our combination of job training, hot meals and housing assistance is a smart approach to philanthropy.

“Now that the Millionair Club Charity has the Kasota apartments, they have all the components to assist people to connect successfully with work,” Betty says.

On a recent visit to the Millionair Club Charity, Betty noticed the kitchen’s Hobart Mixer – an important piece of equipment that helps us serve 89,000 hot meals each year – was so old that replacement parts were no longer available if anything were to break. Betty donated $500 to kick-start a replacement fund for the $2,000 needed to buy a new mixer.

“I hope others will join me,” she says.

Thank you, Betty! So, what’s your story? Why do you donate? Share your inspirational story by e-mailing Chris at christiner@millionairclub.org.