May 2017 Newsletter



The Interfaith Alliance newsletter is produced by the Poverty Awareness & Communication Workgroup.

To contact:  Email



God could not be everywhere;  therefore, he made Mothers.”  Rudyard Kipling


As we commemorate those who have given the ultimate sacrifice in defense of liberty, we  remember some of the words of our nation’s presidents.

 “Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.”  John F. Kennedy

 “This world of ours... must avoid becoming a community of dreadful fear and hate, and be, instead, a proud confederation of mutual trust and respect. Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.”  Dwight D. Eisenhower


On Sunday, May 7th,  the Interfaith Alliance is  offering an opportunity for members and friends to hear Dr. Mandy Davis, Executive

Director, Trauma Informed Oregon, Portland State University explain:

Do you want to understand how the services you provide at meal sites, food pantries, etc., can impact people who have had these traumas?

Do you want to learn about the changes you can make so your service can be more welcoming and effective?

Do you realize that providing services can impact us as providers and what care we might need to serve more effectively?

Then join us for Dr. Davis’ presentation at Madeleine Parish, 3123 NE 24th from 1:30-5:30 PM on Sunday May 7.  Light refreshments will be provided.

To register, Email John Elizalde   $10.00 Fee payable at the door (cash or check, please) -  no one turned away for lack of funds


PTSD “Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome” is a term most of us know.  We normally associate it with veterans returning from the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan, but PTSD is experienced not only among veterans, but by men and women who have never worn a uniform, and sadly among children as well, especially those who have one or more parents in prison.  Since approximately 50 percent of  those incarcerated in U.S. prisons are parents, over 2 million of their children suffer from mental health and behavioral problems associated with their parents’ incarceration.  Having a parent in prison also contributes to child homelessness and poverty which in turn intensifies intergenerational inequalities.


Marianne Kersten, Program Manager for Youth Solutions Student Mentoring at Northwest Family Services, in Portland, Oregon

Few events can be more traumatic for a child than witnessing the arrest of a parent. Speaking before the April 3 meeting of the Madeleine Parish Altar Society, Marianne noted that seldom do parents arrested  “go quietly.”  To see uniformed police enter the sanctity of a home, whether that home be a house, apartment, trailer, or tent, and then to see mom or dad placed in handcuffs, with or without a fight, assaults a child’s perception of his/her well being.  Gunshots may not be fired, but the memory of words spoken, anger expressed, fear exposed, and grief overwhelming the family can never be forgotten.

In the child’s eyes, both their parents and they themselves are the victims of injustice, a system stacked against them.

 Marianne advised that often it is the incarcerated parent who is the “better parent,”  because in 95% of the cases, the parent left to care for the family is addicted to drugs or alcohol.  Barely able to take care of themselves, they cannot take care of the children.  Therefore the children frequently end up on a path to foster homes; however, not always. The majority of children referred to Marianne’s Mentoring program   are still living with one parent.

She has 25 children in her group with a waiting list twice as long.  They are between the ages of 8 and 18.  All meet some level of “adverse experience criteria” which means they have been homeless or hungry, experienced violence, have first hand knowledge of drugs and alcohol, and a negative impression of the police and social services.  Without intervention, they are at risk of repeating the behaviors of their parents.  However, empowered by mentorship programs such as provided by Northwest Family Services, they are able to pursue education goals and  lead successful lives.

The mission of Northwest Family Services focuses on “core issues that support individual success, family stability, and child well-being”.   They have an array of services   ranging from “professional counseling, job readiness and placement, work solutions, positive youth development, healthy relationships, gang prevention, school site management, financial literacy, parenting, anger management, etc.”

Marianne said that there are no “quick fixes”, which is the reason mentors volunteering for her program need to commit to a minimum of 1-year,  typically involving contact every week.  Usually she says a meal is involved and an activity which appeals to the child’s interests. Letting them know “somebody cares” makes all the difference.   According to Northwest Family Services, “Children who have a meaningful relationship with a non-parental adult

  • Are 46% less likely to start using drugs
  • Are 27% less likely to start drinking
  • 1/3 less likely to resort to violence
  • Skip ½ as many days of school.
  • Are more competent in their ability to do well at school
  • Have more positive relationships with their peers
  • Improve their appearance
  • Take more positive risks
  • Decrease hostility and have fewer disciplinary referrals
  • Are happierVolunteers are carefully matched with children to produce the best bonds.  Marianne says she has seen lives transformed.  She told about two young women she is currently mentoring who once thought college an impossible dream.   By utilizing federal programs they are now attending institutions of higher learning on their way to stable, successful lives.  To volunteer or obtain more information, call 503-548-6377 or visit the web at


 State Senator  Michael Dembrow reports that Senate Bill 241     creates an Oregon Bill of Rights for the Children of Incarcerated Parents  to ensure that they   are given the justice they deserve and are not punished as a bi-product of the crimes of their parents.



Chloe Eudaly, City Commissioner, and  Jessica Rojas,  Community and Environmental Manager,   NE Coalition on Neighbors

At the invitation of Jessica Rojas, as a representative of the Interfaith Alliance on Poverty, I attended a gathering of community activists at the NE Coalition of Neighbors office to welcome City Commissioner, Chloe Eudaly, on April 17.

They say that City Hall isn’t the same since Chloe came.  It’s as if “a window has opened” in the old building.  She does seem to bring a breath of fresh air with her.    When she entered the room, we knew immediately she was one of us.  We were a mix of folks from the NE Coalition, neighborhood associations, environmentalists, business advocates, churches, and other groups.

Chloe knew first-hand the causes for which we spoke, the need for:

  • More public bathrooms to accommodate the homeless;
  • “Affordable housing”’ and a system to support stable housing;
  • Renters relief;
  • Reducing gentrification;
  • Opportunities for those re-entering the community after incarceration;
  • Education;
  • Economic development supporting small businesses;
  • Community partnerships;
  • Fair distribution of contracts;
  • Safety and stability;
  • Racial equality;
  • Criminal justice reform;
  • Clean air;
  • Clean water;
  • More parks;
  • Land and nature conservation;
  • Redeveloping “brownfields”;
  • Reducing oil transport;
  • Reducing diesel emissions;
  • Supporting “green energy”;
  • Supporting legal and legislative actions to effect change.

A pastor at the meeting observed that when our community reaches its full potential, it’s going to be “beautiful” and we are going to work to keep it that way.

Chloe Eudaly grew up-- in her words, “in the country around Portland,”-- coming to the city as a teenager.  For 18 years she raised her son and operated a book store.   However, she acknowledged that as ”a capitalist”, she has been “a failure.”   Always a renter, she became appalled by the high cost of rents for minimal accommodations, sometimes little more than “a shed.”   She reached out to the community to express her outrage on pdx.rentersunite.  Soon she had a following of hundreds who shared her concerns.   Her political career followed.  As City Commissioner, she now has what she describes as a “dream job”, which she says can also be a “nightmare.”  There is just so much that needs to be done.

During her first three months in office, shelter space has doubled and efforts are being made to improve affordable housing,  The renters re-location assistance ordinance has been approved by the City, and House Bill 2004A to extend its passage has been passed by the Oregon House.

She encouraged community to report “Zombie Houses,” derelict structures commonly owned and abandoned by absentee landlords. She hopes that the houses can be reclaimed to become affordable housing.  Contact her at

After the meeting, I talked to Tanisha Jones, Communications Manager and Marketing Consultant for “Homegirl Consulting.”  She said “I think I’ve heard about your organization.  Do you know Marilyn Mauch?  She told me about you.”  Why, yes, I did, I acknowledged.  “She is the founder of the Backpack Lunch Program.”  Tanisha said “I call her “Miss Marilyn,”  We agreed that the world is a better place because of Marilyn Mauch..

I then talked to Commissioner Eudaly.  She said she “is excited about all the good work the Interfaith Alliance is doing.”   Jessica Rojas told her that when she had called out for assistance regarding two apartment complexes,” the Alliance had been the first to respond!” 

In our efforts “to alleviate poverty in Portland”, we as an Alliance may be taking small steps, but I believe we are fortunate to have arms linked with such community  partners as Jessica Rojas, NE Coaltion of Neighbors, City Commissioner Chloe Eudaly, and of course, our own Marilyn Mauch.

For more information, refer to  website: – News Room -City News.


At the March  30 Alliance Planning meeting held at Westminster Presbyterian Church, John Elizalde, Alliance work group leader welcomed guest speakers, Diane Yatchmenoff and Ana Hristic, representatives of the Trauma Informed Oregon.


Sunday, May 71:30 PM-5:30 PM  “Breaking the Cycle of Generational Poverty: Starting with the Children”,  sponsored by the Alliance,  Madeleine Parish, 3123 NE 24th Ave. To register,  email  John Elizalde at  

Monday, May 15, 12:00 noon-2:00 pm,  Transitioning to Stability Work Group of the Alliance, Agenda: Review effective national models,  Rose City Park Presbyterian Church, 1907 NE 45th Street, Library (enter ramp by awning)

 Friday,  May 19,  9:30 AM- 11:30 AM,  Advocacy Work Group of the Alliance; Grace Memorial: 1535 NE 17th Ave, downstairs in the Mason-Burnham room.

 Thursday, May 25, 12:00 Noon-2:00 PMMonthly Meeting of the Interfaith Alliance on Poverty, Speaker will be Cameron Herrington of Living Cully, at Westminster Presbyterian Church,  1624 NE Hancock, Fireside Room


Sunday, May 14 & May 21,  9:00 AM, Central Lutheran Church,  1820 NE 21st Ave

Thursday, June 1, 7:00 PM, Madeleine Parish, 3123 NE 24th Ave, Fireside Room



WEDNESDAY, MAY 3, 3:00 to 5:00 pm

Meeting Location: Multnomah Building 3rd Floor, Room 315, 501 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland OR 97214, For more information, contact


Meeting Location:  The Mill at the Willamette Heritage Center, 1313 Mill St. SE, Salem, Oregon, Morning snacks and lunch provided.  For more information, contact     John  Elizalde @  or Tom  Hering @