Coalition News

Ten ways to eat well on a budget in the South Sound

by Cathy Visser,
Senior Nutrition Director & Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
Thurston Asset Building Coalition Steering Committee Member


“I can’t afford to buy vegetables from the farmer’s market. I live on a fixed income.” I’ve heard seniors say this more than once. I understand that paying rent, utilities, and medicine comes first. That being said, healthy food is good medicine too. People who eat more fruits and vegetables are less likely to be overweight or obese. Eating healthfully also helps prevent diseases like cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure.

My agency, Senior Services for South Sound (SSSS), manages eight meal sites in Mason and Thurston Counties. Each meal we serve includes a good source of protein, 2 servings of grains/cereals, 3 servings of fruits and vegetables, and a serving of milk or dairy substitute. Senior meals are available to people 60 years of age and older (55+ for Native American/Alaska Natives) for a donation regardless of income. Although income is a not a qualification for our meals, 40% of people who attend report that they live at or below the federal poverty level. This means that they are living on $990/month or less for a household of one; $1330 or less per month for a household of two. It is hard to eat well on a tight budget, but here is a list of programs that can help.

Ten ways to eat well on a budget in the South Sound!

  • Join us for a healthy meal and social time at a senior meal site near you. You have to be a senior, but you don’t have to be low income to qualify. To see the lunch schedule, go to
  • Homebound seniors who cannot prepare meals for themselves may qualify for Meals On Wheels (MOW) regardless of income. In addition to receiving a nutritious meal, the senior will be visited regularly by a caring MOW volunteer. Many seniors tell us that their MOW volunteer is the only person they see some weeks and that the visit helps them feel less lonely.
  • Visit your local food bank. The Thurston County Food Bank provides a variety of fresh, frozen, and canned fruits, vegetables, and other healthy foods. To find out more, call (360) 352-8597 or go to
  • Use your Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)/EBT benefits (formerly known as “food stamps”) to buy fresh produce at your local farmer’s market. The Tumwater Farmers Market can help you to double your benefits through the Market Match program. It is open each Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. May through September. For more information, call 360-464-5879 or visit
  • Make your SNAP benefits last longer by using them to purchase plant seeds and starts. For every $1 spent on seeds, home gardeners can grow an average of $25 worth of produce!
  • Locate a community garden near you by contacting your local WSU Master Gardener Program.
  • Sign up for a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) to receive a share of fresh produce from a local farm. Find farms that accept SNAP/EBT benefits by visiting the Puget Sound Farm Guide at
  • Free farmers market vouchers for WIC participants and eligible seniors. Contact your local WIC agency or the Lewis-Mason-Thurston Area Agency on Aging for more information


We’re Hiring: VISTA Outreach & Volunteer Coordinator


The Thurston Asset Building Coalition is looking for an Americorps VISTA to join our team!

Position Title:  Outreach & Volunteer Coordinator
Compensation:  A monthly stipend of $970 paid bi-weekly, an end-of-service educational award of $5815, and other benefits. Visit Benefits of Service to learn about VISTA benefits.
Timeline:  Service Year is November 21, 2017 – November 20, 2017
Location:  4220 Sixth Ave SE, Lacey, WA 98503

The VISTA member will work with the Thurston Asset Building Coalition (TABC) to conduct outreach and manage and recruit volunteers to support financial literacy and asset building services offered by TABC and its members. The VISTA member will also promote and inform social service providers and community members about existing community resources and benefits that will help people in poverty build their assets, including information health benefits, affordable housing, and job development opportunities.

The VISTA Outreach Coordinator will be responsible for volunteer recruitment, community outreach, social media outreach, event management, and other coalition capacity building activities, including:

  • Promote and support EITC and free tax preparation services
  • Promote BankOn Thurston and increase awareness about low-cost, safe mainstream financial products
  • Increase service provider and community knowledge and awareness of services and community resources that help people move out of poverty
  • Support and help to plan coalition collaborative learning events
  • Build the capacity of Thurston ABC to support and foster collaboration and information sharing
  • Other outreach and coalition support activities

Apply Today!
View the full job description and apply online here. We will accept applications through September 25, 2017. You must apply online to be considered for this position.

Matchmaking with Dislocated Workers

About Dislocated Workers Quiz  

Now that summer has arrived, many organizations have high hopes for filling their recruitment needs with fresh interns, but finding that perfect match can be a bit risky. Organizations can easily overlook the fact that interns are generally required to be paid under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), so getting help finding and working with an intern is prudent.

Take the About Dislocated Workers Quiz  below and find out how you can get the intern’s stipend paid at no cost to the employer!

Quiz (mouse-over for answers):
1.  What is a Dislocated Worker?
(A) Unemployed due to natural disaster
(B) Unemployed due to economic conditions
(C) Unlikely to return to a previous occupation
(D) All of the above

(D) All of the above: A dislocated worker is someone who has been laid off through no fault of their own and is unlikely to return to a previous occupation. He or she may also be self-employed but is unemployed due to economic conditions or natural disaster.

2. Dislocated workers provide employers with:
(A) Experienced talent
(B) Soft skills
(C) Cost effective source of labor
(D) All of the above

(D) All of the above: Dislocated workers come to the table with relevant job experience and soft skills. The dislocated worker intern gets the opportunity to gain relevant experience in their field and employers get access to a cost effective source of labor.

3. Are there internship programs that pay for the dislocated worker’s stipend near you?
(A) Yes
(B) Not

(A) Yes: Check out the Internship Pipeline, a pilot program now being offered by the Thurston EDC in partnership with Pacific Mountain Workforce Development, Career Path Services and regional higher education providers, that offers internship assistance to employers.

4. If I hire a dislocated worker intern could I receive reimbursement for some of their salary?
(A) Yes
(B) No

(A) Yes: If an employer wished to convert their intern into a full-time hire, the Pipeline program would help them apply and qualify for a public workforce grant that will reimburse up to 50% of the new hire's salary for 3 months.

“I have been out of work since December 2016, and this internship has given me back my confidence.” – Wendy Delagarza, Pipeline Internship

To learn more about how you can be matched with a great dislocated worker or other intern, and find out about the benefits to employers using the Internship Pipeline program, contact Gene Angle at the Thurston EDC soon – they have people available for this pilot program now!

TABC 2017 Community Open House



Save The Date for the Thurston Asset Building Coalition 2017 Community Open House!  

We know through experience that coming together and combining resources and action with community partners yields a rich commitment to projects. It also results in benefits that are far reaching and encompass a deep connection to the community we serve.

The Thurston Asset Building Coalition (TABC) is proud of the alliances we have fostered in the community and would like to celebrate these affiliations and collaborations as well as connect with new friends.

Join us on July 27th for appetizers and happy hour, from 5:30 to 7 PM, at the Huber’s Gasthaus. Enjoy a light-hearted summer evening of reconnecting with partners, while making new friends and creating future alliances. Come and meet our new Steering Committee Members and new coalition coordinator, featured below,  as well as our senior Steering Committee Members. Save the Date and RSVP here!


Welcome to Our New Coalition Steering Committee Members & Staff

Malika Lamont is the Intake Manager for Evergreen Treatment HS-MalikaServices (ETS) South Sound Clinic. ETS is the largest provider of Medically Assisted Treatment in the Puget Sound Area. Malika began her career as a licensed Adolescent Counselor and Family Care Coordinator for Pierce County Alliance and Catholic Community Services. She was then recruited by the Washington Initiative for Supported Employment to do planning for people with developmental disabilities as a personal agent, and started a consulting business to improve education for youth with disabilities.
She recently worked with the Thurston County Public Health and Social Services to implement HIV testing interventions in Family Planning Settings. Having coordinated the Thurston County Syringe Exchange for 12 years she now continues working to develop and improve whole health care for vulnerable people in our region. Malika is the founding board chair for the Olympia Free Clinic and serves as the Co- Chair of the Safety Net Council.

Mark Minickiello is the Vice President of Community Development   HS-Markfor Harborstone Credit Union. He oversees the organization’s work with corporate contributions, sponsorships and staff volunteerism, and small-business microlending. He works to expand products and services for people of low and moderate income through resources made possible by Harborstone’s recent designations as a Community Development Financial Institution by the U.S. Treasury Department and its Low Income Designation by the National Credit Union Administration.

Mark most recently worked as vice president of legislative affairs for the Northwest Credit Union Association and has specific expertise in financial literacy, education and working with small businesses.

Hillary Soens
is the YWCA Executive Director and has been with the HS-HillaryYWCA of Olympia since 2010, successfully building the Girls Without Limits! and Girls Circle programs as the agency’s Girls Advancement Director. She moved into the CEO position in 2013 and has since focused on the agency’s financial vitality and mission impact strategy, in addition to launching advocacy and racial equity initiatives. Prior to joining the YWCA, Hillary worked in youth development, out-of-school-time program development, and conducted organizational assessments and fundraising for several nonprofit organizations.
Derek Harris is the Deputy Director of Community Youth Services HS-Derek-1(CYS), a nonprofit organization empowering youth, young adults and families since 1970. CYS is an integrated service agency providing a continuum of programs across shelter/housing, education/vocation, out-of-home care, juvenile justice, behavioral health, and early intervention.

Derek has worked with youth/young adult programs for over 22 years both in direct service as well as an agency leader for multiple programs. Derek is a peer monitor for the Family and Youth Services Bureau, the Chair of the Thurston County Homeless Housing Hub (local continuum of care), and the Chair of the Balance of State Continuum of Care-Youth Subcommittee.
Mayra Pena is the Marketing and Community Development HS-MayraCoordinator at the Thurston Asset Building Coalition (TABC). Mayra started with the TABC as the Outreach Coordinator – VISTA not to long ago and was recently promoted to her new position. Mayra comes to the TABC from a background in marketing and communications where she has worked as a consultant for over six years in varied industries including health, travel and leisure and information technology, as well as theater and film, the public sector and nonprofit. Most recently, she worked at the Yelm Area Chamber of Commerce as their communications and events manager.

Mayra will be working with the TABC to further develop our programs and continue to strengthen community alliances that serve the marginalized in our community.


Shortcut to The Medicaid Demonstration Project

Shortcut To Understanding The Medicaid Transformation Demonstration Project And How To Get Involved!

On January of this year, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) approved the Medicaid Transformation Project Demonstration. This five-year contract with CMS authorizes up to $1.5 billion in federal investments to promote innovative, sustainable and systemic changes that help improve the overall health of Washingtonians.

Here are Five Things You Need To Know 

What is the Demonstration?

The demonstration is a part of the Health Care Authority’s Healthier Washington Initiative. Through a five-year demonstration, this proposal includes three initiatives aimed at improving how we take care of individuals to better address local health priorities, deliver high-quality, cost-effective care that treats the whole person, and create linkages between clinical and community-based services.

What are the three initiatives under the demonstration?

Initiative 1: Transformation through Accountable Communities of Health (ACHs)
Initiative 2: Long-term Services and Supports of the aging population
Initiative 3: Foundational Community Support Services

Which Initiative is open to input from individuals and community partners?

Under Initiative 1, ACHs must coordinate with a wide range of community partners to carry out at least four regional transformation projects (two required and at least two chosen by ACHs, with input from the community), aimed at driving regional and systemic population health improvement.

 Take The Community Input Survey Now!


What and who is your local ACH?

Accountable Communities of Health (ACH) bring together leaders from multiple health sectors around the state with a common interest in improving health and health equity. The Cascade Pacific Action Alliance is the ACH for the central western Washington region, and   CHOICE Regional Health Network is the health care collaborative that provides the administrative support for the ACH.

How can you easily participate in the direction these funds take in your county?

Please join the Thurston Asset Building Coalition’s Health Hub at the next Thurston County Safety Net Council meeting, so that we can continue to work together on the transformation of health care and quality of life in our area.