DECEMBER 16, 2014

PRESENT: Eileen Dresser, Gloria M. Farr, Wynn Davies, Kathleen Owens, Jack Tiffany, Joe Liverseed, Sue Bridson, Shirley Robbins, Marge Lyford, Erica Anderson, Barry Hayes and guest, Alderman Maurice Cheeks.

Eileen opened the meeting with a spiritual reading.

MINUTES: In the November minutes, Joe Liverseed’s last name was misspelled and in the Wellness Center report, the last part of the 3rd sentence should read “blood drive in January” Minutes of the November meeting were accepted as corrected.

TREASURER’S REPORT: Jack distributed the financial report with October and November data. The balance for the Eviction Prevention fund at the end of November was $1,265 and the Food Pantry, $7.533. Jack suggested that we find ways to let our congregations know how much their contributions are appreciated. Treasurer’s report approved as written.

WELLNESS CENTER: Gloria has been participating in meetings of the Allied Cooperative and other organizations to discuss possible options to deal with problems associated with the closing of the area Walgreens Store. Ideas include exploring possibilities of drug deliveries by other pharmacies, helping to pay for cab rides to other stories, and finding volunteers to provide rides for residents. Also the Wellness Center is in need of disposable diapers, tissues, and small samples of toiletries. Gloria will compose a letter which could be used to communicate about current needs of the Wellness Center to members of supporting congregations.

EVICTION PREVENTION: Joining Forces for Families helped with a Christmas toy gifting to 240 children. Rent aid requests have been down, but Erica expects more after the holidays.

FOOD PANTRY: Eileen reported the food pantry is doing well especially following a very large donation of food by Fitchburg Fire and Police Department. Fortunately the freezer was fixable.

ALLIED DUNN’S MARSH NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION: Barry reported the association is struggling with low financing and membership. Wynn expressed regret at the lack of an annual letter to Allied Partner congregations last fall and made the following suggestions: Compile a list of volunteers; investigate the availability of funds to meet immediate needs and compile a list of Allied organizations. Wynn, Gloria and Erica will work on composing a neighborhood directory.

REPORT BY ALDERMAN MAURICE CHEEKS: In August, Maurice asked City of Madison staff members to study the current issues confronting the neighborhood and put together a plan. A group named "Verona/Allied Drive Food Retail & Economic Redevelopment Staff Team" worked on the plan and published a report on December 15. We received copies of the report.

The team recognized...that it is important to support the efforts of neighborhood residents...that the neighborhood is an important part of the city because it provides affordable housing for many Madisonians with lower incomes...and that it is important to address the issues of food access and food insecurity.

The report identified three priorities areas which were approved by the Common Council in November. (1) Secure a full-service affordable grocery store in an immediate location in an aggressive timeframe. (2) Explore the feasibility of a community center for adults. (3) Develop an economic development plan for the Verona Road/Beltline corridor to capitalize on the eventual improvements brought about by the current road construction project.

Recommendations to implement priority area #1 are: (1) to financially assist in securing a full-service, affordable grocery store (2) to encourage and financially support the decisions made by Allied Cooperative (3) make available short term and emergency funds during the transition time. Maurice mentioned that the city recommendations are not in conflict with plans being made by the coop to establish a discount neighborhood grocery store and he thinks it might be possible to have one in place by the end of the year.

OTHER CONCERNS: Bus tickets are needed until a cab ride system can be developed to enable residents to leave the neighborhood to purchase food. Westminster volunteered to provide JFF with 2-ride bus tickets to hand out. Also it was suggested that the agenda for the January meeting include a discussion on how to ensure that a congregational letter will be sent out annually.

NEXT MEETING: Tuesday January 20, at 10:00 AM at the Boys and Girls Club

Marjory Lyford, Secretary