Orion Family Services Creates Emergency Assistance Fund

Image credit: Tim Mossholder/Unsplash

The Orion Family Services Board of Directors has created the “Orion Family Services Emergency Assistance Fund.” This fund will provide grant money to Orion consumers and families experiencing financial emergencies or other barriers.

Grants for up to $500 will be provided for things such as unexpected car repairs, clothing for job interviews, assistance with security deposits and so forth. The fund is one way the Madison, Wis.,-based CHHSM member is helping to bridge the financial gap families so often face.

The board’s thought process in creating the fund was really two-fold, says Stacey Parke, Orion’s executive director and CEO. “There is exceptional need right now across the communities we serve throughout southern Wisconsin,” Parke says. “Church partners and other stakeholders have been reaching out asking how they can help. We felt this was something donors and others who support our agency could get behind.”

The Board designed the fund to make a difference in the community. “We created a simple and fast process so that we can respond to urgent needs,” says Laura Stalder, Orion board member. “This is a specific thing we can do to help someone get over a hurdle or barrier. We know that families are working hard, doing the best they can and then something hits — the unexpected that they can’t handle.”

Staff members will apply for grants on behalf of their consumers experiencing the financial difficulty or barrier.

By “providing assistance through this fund, Orion will help families so much,” says Alicia Zenk, an Orion therapist. “Mental health and having your basic needs being met go hand-in-hand. When families are struggling to get their basic needs met, it is difficult for them to focus on mental health needs. I feel this will be a huge relief for families that just need some extra help. … It’s going to help our families continue down the road of success.”

To contribute or learn more, contact Stacey Parke at (608) 270-2511, extension 15.

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CHHSM Board and Staff are grieved to learn of the death of our friend and colleague, Greg Watson, who died in October 2022. Greg was vice president of operations for Embrace Living Communities, based in Oak Brook, Ill.Greg was a graduate of CHHSM’s Nollau Leadership Institute, class of 2018-2019, and was consecrated as a Diakonal Minister during our 2019 Annual Gathering in Chicago. In an article about his class in June 2018 — not long after the group’s first retreat — Greg said, “The best part is not only beginning the process of clarifying your calling; but also, understanding and accepting one’s personal strength. Recognition of one’s ‘true' self enables us to serve from a place of wholeness.”Greg also served on the CHHSM Board of Directors, and was a beloved friend and colleague to many in the CHHSM family. Embrace Living stated on its website, “Greg was an outstanding servant leader for 17 years at Embrace Living Communities. He will be greatly missed.”CHHSM sends its prayers and love to Greg’s friends, family, and Embrace Living colleagues. ... See MoreSee Less
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