GFIA MINUTES FOR AUGUST, 2017
Great Falls Inter-Faith Association
August 24th, 2017
Pastor Ray Larson, Benefis Healthcare
Stephen Boyd, GF Hebrew Association
Rick Allison, Big Sky Baptist
Jim McCormick, Rescue Mission
Kristy Pontet-Stroop, Alliance for Youth
Tom Moore, GF Public Schools
Kerry Parsons, CMR
Heather Hoyer, GFHS
Kathy Schendel, Echoz Pregnancy Care
Renee Phillips, Calvary Chapel of Great Falls
Dave Strand, Big Sky Baptist Church
Lacey Spencer, United Way
Beth McKinney, GF Food Banks
David Culpepper, Foothills Cummunity Christian School
Dave Nordel, City of Great Falls
Gringer King, Family Connections MT
Focus: Back to School & City Resources
Pastor Ray opened with a reading from 1st Corinthians and a prayer.
Back to School with Tom Moore, Drew Uecker, Heather Hoyer, and Kerry Parsons.
Tom – Great Falls Public Schools – This year’s Convocation, the school year kickoff, is at the GFHS Field House, 8am Monday Morning. September 8th, at Paris Gibson is education and training for all the school foodbanks, introducing a software package in the hopes that all the foodbanks will implement it. Each School has unique needs, and most of the schools have expressed interest in partnering with their area churches to assist those needs.
Heather – Great Falls High School – Have need of hygiene items, baby shampoo(non-allergenic) is especially needed, along with toothbrushes. Church partnership is going well, they’ve been working with Pastor Jeff with 2 concepts: Many hands, 2 tons of food being moved to families in need. Also Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter. They spend two days delivering boxes to needy families, in the past they’ve utilized students with adults to drive and deliver food, however, she would prefer the students stay in class so they are always looking for volunteers to help. If interested, Call Heather @ 268-6313.
Caregiver trauma – Teachers get exhausted with all the worry and stress as they care for all the impoverished students, and small encouragement from volunteers means much.
Kerry – CM Russell High School – Welcoming teachers back Monday, 1400 students on Tuesday, the school has already been bustling though with prep for their first ever varsity football contest. Construction is beginning for their new STEM addition and is continuing on other infrastructure upgrades Kerry had a meeting with their partners earlier this week, customer service is a large component of the mission of the school. Many kids in crisis, free and reduced lunch population is smaller than GFHS but still definitely high. Their food pantry is very active. As far as needs, food pantry and hygiene items are always needed, as well as volunteers. Many extra-curricular activities can be expensive, and not all kids can front the expense, they are asked to give scholarships and have set up accounts to help cover the costs. Faculty fatigue will be ever-present; any volunteer help is welcomed. To help, call Kerry Parsons at 268-6241.
Dave Nordel – City of Great Falls – Disaster Preparedness, Emergency Management Passed out books, Schools are very prepared, have excellent ability to handle bad situations. No major disasters have happened in Great Falls for almost 57 years, which is a blessing and a curse, we don’t know how to react in an emergency.
In Great Falls, there are on duty at any given time 12 firemen, 6 police, 3 ambulances, and 2 sheriffs. So only about 23 EMS responders for 60,000 people. That’s not counting everyone coming in from outlying areas seeking help. Because of this, Dave goes throughout the city to educate people about preparedness. Everyone should be able to keep themselves alive for 72 hours without emergency services, and he has a small booklet he hands out everywhere he goes called “Family Preparedness” that lays out everything to do for your family.
He suggests every organization has a disaster preparedness talk, churches would act as a major gathering point, and the more churches are prepared for disasters, the more load they can take off of shelters and hospitals.
Code Red is the vehicle they use to alert people to a disaster, if you have a landline, you are already signed up, if you have a cellphone you can go to https://public.coderedweb.com to sign up, or download the CodeRED app on your smartphone.
Pastor Ray Adjourned the meeting.
Submitted by Stephen Boyd, recording secretary.