President Eileen Foster opened the meeting at 1:30 pm by welcoming the 34 people in attendance. Prior to the meeting, everyone enjoyed 15 minutes of snacks and conversation. Snacks were provided by Janelle White, Connie Latuszek, Linda Graf, and Wendy Shields with refreshment table set-up by Dorothy Kociba and Aimee Kopiwoda. President Eileen then acknowledged and welcomed first timers Annette Clark (leader of Blessed Sacrament Faith in Action formerly known as Adult Outreach) and Norma Perry. Ladies were asked for prayer requests and then an opening prayer was said.
Ramona Lalka passed around a sign-up sheet for March refreshments. She thanked all the ladies who came before the start of the business meeting to enjoy refreshments and conversation. She also thanked all those who brought donations for “Aaron’s Gifts from Home”. We’re grateful for our event photographer Elaine Warakomski. Ramona then reminded everyone of our Spring Potluck Lunch on Tuesday, May 7th. Please put the date on your calendar and bring a friend.
Happy February birthday to Sherry Babcock (02/05), Carol Landis (02/06), Diane Kosal (02/24) and Jan Natonski (02/25).
Secretary Elaine White had copies of the January meeting minutes on all the tables. January minutes have been posted to our FaceBook page and to Flock Notes. Elaine encouraged everyone to take one of the LBS brochures that Kristyn Russell from the parish office made for us and to use the brochure to encourage other ladies to come to our meetings and special events.
Judy Kawiecki then introduced our first speaker of the day, Donna Clarke who is the Executive Director of Saginaw Emmaus House. Emmaus House now has five transitional living homes for safe, sober housing for up to 33 women. They only accept women coming out of prison, jail, or a 30 day rehab facility. They currently have a waiting list. Women must be sober in order to stay in one of their homes. They require all women to attend a daily 12 step meeting, meet with their therapist weekly, acquire a sponsor and recovery coach, and attend the church of their choice on Sunday. Because of this religious requirement, Emmaus House is not eligible for government funding. Donna talked from her own personal experiences. Drugs took her to hell and back. It is very difficult to get off drugs but it is even more difficult to stay off drugs. Emmaus House encourages their guests to stay with them until they are prepared to live independently. It’s a tough program where recovery comes before family at this stage of overcoming addiction. We thank Donna Clarke for updating us on Emmaus House and sharing her personal experiences with us.
Linda Graf gave an update on our funeral lunches. The parish has purchased white round tables that seat eight. We have purchased colored place mats to go on the white tables and new trays to hold the centerpieces. We’ll be looking into buying some new cloth tablecloths for the food and dessert tables.
Treasurer Tana Zemanek reported our current balance is $8855.95 as of the end of January. She has a complete report of income and expenses for anyone to view.
Tana Zemanek then introduced our second speaker Debi Bartley-Ullum, Director of Aaron’s Gifts from Home. Her son Aaron Ullum was killed in Afghanistan in 2011 and the family created this non-profit in his memory. This 501 (c) (3) organization is made up of volunteers who lovingly pack goodie boxes for our troops deployed overseas. Care packages are sent four times per year. Their biggest expense is postage for all the donated gifts.
Judy Kawiecki then closed the meeting with a team building exercise and an inspirational message.
Please come to our next meeting on Tuesday, March 5th.
Elaine White, Secretary