County Council Congratulates Talbot Interfaith Shelter on Their 10th Anniversary

On June 19th, Talbot Interfaith Shelter (TIS) Board members and staff addressed the Talbot County Council to update them on the growth of the organization since its founding in 2008. The Council then presented TIS with a proclamation in honor of its 10th anniversary.

L-R: Board Member Nancy Sajda, County Council Member Dirck Bartlett, Board President Gail Benjamin, Executive Director Julie Lowe, and Board Member Gloria Farrare.

The proclamation reads as follows:

“Whereas , Talbot Interfaith Shelter (TIS) was formed in 2008 by a group of citizens concerned about the growing homeless population in Talbot County; and

Whereas, the organization served our community from 2008-2014 as a winter shelter which rotated between faith communities with the assistance of 17 partner congregations; and

Whereas, in 2014 TIS obtained a permit to operate a permanent facility at 107 Goldsborough Street, a former bed and breakfast known as Easton’s Promise, and opened its doors on November 30, 2014 to begin year-round shelter operations; and

Whereas, TIS has since developed its S4 Program (Shelter, Stability, Support, Success), which is designed to provide personalized case management, access to the necessary services, and resources designed to assist guests in building sustainable self-sufficiency, including a subsidized transitional housing program comprised of eight off-site apartments; and

Whereas, the organization brings together people from every corner of our community, with over 450 volunteers donating more than 10,000 hours of their time each year for the common cause of fighting homelessness in Talbot County; and

Whereas, Talbot Interfaith Shelter is the only shelter program in Talbot County that serves families with children; and

Whereas, 2018 marks their 10th anniversary of service to Talbot County and the Mid-Shore community;

Now, Therefore, We, The County Council of Talbot County, do hereby bestow upon Talbot Interfaith Shelter this Certificate of Recognition in honor of their 10th anniversary and their continued outstanding work towards creating a brighter future for our neighbors in need.”

Talbot Interfaith Shelter (TIS) is a 501(c)3 organization based in Easton and serving Talbot County and the surrounding areas. The organization has developed a program that they call S4 (Shelter, Stability,
Support, Success), which is designed to give guests access to a stable home-like environment, services, and tools that can help them break the cycle of poverty and homelessness and regain their independence. Once guests are accepted into Easton’s Promise, they receive case management as they move through an individualized plan, eventually transitioning into one of the shelter’s eight subsidized off-site apartments, where they incrementally take over expenses until they are fully self-sufficient.

Their vision is that no one in Talbot County will ever have to spend a night on the streets, in a car or in the woods because he or she cannot find housing. To learn more about how you can help, visit www.talbotinterfaithshelter.org or contact Julie Lowe at 410-310-2316 or julielowe@atlanticbb.net.

Talbot Interfaith Shelter kicks off 10th Anniversary with a Matching Challenge

Ten years ago this month, a group of concerned citizens from Talbot County met to discuss
the growing problem of homelessness in Talbot County and to develop a way to assist those in need in
our community. Talbot Interfaith Shelter (TIS) was born!

Ahead of the organization’s milestone 10th anniversary, a shelter supporter who has been with the
organization from day one made an incredible offer to match the next $10,000 TIS raised. The call went
out to shelter supporters on May 15th, and with the help of more than 30 donors, including generous
donations from Tom and Cathy Hill and the Dock Street Foundation, the $10,000 goal was not only met,
but exceeded within 10 days.

That’s when another long-time shelter supporter stepped up to extend the matching challenge by
$3,500, with the potential for a higher match if that number is exceeded. At the time of this article, TIS
had raised $13,396 towards the new goal. Those who are interested in making a matching donation and
doubling the impact of their gift can do so on|ine at ta|botinterfaithshelter.org or by mail to PO Box
2004, Easton, MD 21601.

TIS served its first guests in the winter of 2008-2009. The organization began as a “homeless” homeless
shelter, rotating every couple of weeks between various houses of worship throughout the community.
Staffed by volunteers from 17 partner congregations, who did everything from moving cots to cooking
dinner to laundry or driving guests to take a shower, the organization was initially open during the
winter months. Due to fire code regulations, only five individuals could be served at one time.

In 2014, TIS applied for and was awarded a permit to operate a permanent, year-round facility at a
former bed and breakfast in the heart of Easton called Easton’s Promise. They can now serve up to 14
people at a time, including families with children. Through partnerships with the Housing Commission
of Talbot and a private landlord, they have procured eight off-site transitional apartments. This allowed
for the development of their S4 Program (Shelter, Stability, Support, Success). The goal of the program
is to provide guests with the tools they need to build sustainable seIf-sufficiency.

Guests start the program at Easton’s Promise. They work with TIS’ Operations Manager Fran Doran to
develop a plan that addresses their specific needs. Ms. Doran then provides case management
throughout their stay in the program. Guests are directed to the necessary service agencies, and are
provided with budget assistance, health and parenting classes, participate in a program called ”Getting
Ahead in a Just-Gettin’-By World”, and will soon be offered on-site GED classes.

Once they achieve a certain level of financial stability, guests are invited to move into one of TIS’
transitional apartments. The organization subsidizes part of the rent, and the guests’ portion increases
incrementally over time until they are able to take over all expenses. They are then monitored for a
period of time to ensure that they can maintain seIf-sufficiency, at which point they are able to move
out on their own.

To learn more about Talbot Interfaith Shelter and the S4 Program, visit ta|botinterfaithshelter.org or
contactJulie Lowe by phone at 410-310-2316 or via email atjulielowe@atlanticbb.net.

Lip Sync Battle is a Winner for Talbot Interfaith Shelter

Last Saturday night, the Waterfowl Building in Easton was bustling with energy as a nearly sold out crowd attended the Lip Sync Battle to benefit Talbot Interfaith Shelter (TIS). Competitors from all over our community came together to dance, laugh, and NOT sing in order to raise money for TIS’ S4 Program (Shelter, Stability, Support, Success).

By the end of the night, the contestants – Team TIS, Team Scout, Team Talbot Mentors, The Happy Hour Honies, Gabby Pfeifer, The Country School Faculty, Team Eastern Shore Brewing, and The Country School HOHOs – had raised an astounding $17,000 to provide individuals and families in Talbot County with safe, stable shelter, case management, and access to resources and tools that will help them build sustainable self-sufficiency.

“We are so grateful to all of our participants for the time and energy they put in to make the night a success,” says TIS Marketing and Communications Director Jayme Dingler. “It was an incredibly fun night, but the outcome is that our community will be a better place because of these wonderful individuals.”

Country School HOHOs. L-R: Garrett Lang and Nick Oxnam. Photo Credit: Jonathan Williams

The big winners of the night were the Country School HOHOs, featuring last year’s winner Garret Lang and partner Nick Oxnam. Lang and Oxnam are part of the Helping Others, Helping Ourselves program at the Country School, and their advisory group has been volunteering at TIS’ shelter facility, Easton’s Promise, for three years. Together, they raised more than $4,000 for the shelter and transitional housing program.

The event was presented by the Easton branch of Wells Fargo Advisors for the second year in a row. Additional sponsorships and services were provided by the Mid-Shore Board of Realtors, Eastern Shore Vacation Rentals, Shore United Bank, Rise Up Coffee, Hill’s Café and Drug Store, Domino’s Pizza, Easton Pizzeria, On Your Mark Lighting Design and Equipment, Hair O The Dog, Kelly Distributors, Eastern Shore Brewing, and Eat Sprout.

Talbot Interfaith Shelter (TIS) is a 501(c)3 organization based in Easton and serving Talbot County and the surrounding areas. The organization has developed a program that they call S4 (Shelter, Stability, Support, Success), which is designed to give guests access to a stable home-like environment, services, and tools that can help them break the cycle of poverty and homelessness and regain their independence. Once guests are accepted into Easton’s Promise, they receive case management as they move through an individualized plan, eventually transitioning into one of the shelter’s eight subsidized off-site apartments, where they incrementally take over expenses until they are fully self-sufficient.

Their vision is that no one in Talbot County will ever have to spend a night on the streets, in a car or in the woods because he or she cannot find housing. To learn more about how you can help, visit www.talbotinterfaithshelter.org or contact Julie Lowe at 410-310-2316 or julielowe@atlanticbb.net.

Lip Sync Battle Returns for 2nd Round

Talbot Interfaith Shelter (TIS) is bringing back their Lip Sync Battle fundraiser for another round. This year’s event, presented by the Easton branch of Wells Fargo Advisors, will be held on April 21st at 7 pm in the Waterfowl Building (old armory) in Easton.

Individuals and teams from all over Talbot County, ranging in age from their preteens to their 60’s, are preparing to duke it out on stage to see who can raise the most money for TIS’ shelter and transitional housing program. Two awards will be given out – People’s Choice, which is determined by audience applause, and Best Fundraiser.

This year’s contestants include Team TIS, Team Eastern Shore Brewing, Team Talbot Mentors, The Happy Hour Honies, The Country School HOHO’s , The Country School Faculty, Team Scout, and Gabby Pfeifer. Amping up the fun factor will be co-hosts Jay Hudson and Jayme D. The entertaining duo will not only be hosting the event, but competing against one another – Jay is on Team Eastern Shore Brewing, and Jayme is on Team TIS. DJ Throwback will be spinning tunes throughout the night.

“Last year’s event was such a huge success,” says event organizer Jayme Dingler. “We raised $10,000, and everyone had the time of their lives. As soon as it was over, we couldn’t wait to start planning round two!”

For those who want to support their favorite lip-syncers, there are many ways to vote.

The first is to buy a ticket to the show. At the event, a ticket becomes a ballot, and the $27 ticket price will be added to the fundraising total of the ticket holder’s team of choice. In addition to helping one of the contestants win one of the coveted bedazzled microphone trophies, each ticket sold also provides a day of shelter and wrap-around services to a man, woman, or child in need in Talbot County.

TIS also encourages attendees to come hungry and thirsty. Doors will open at 6:15 for Domino’s pizza, salads from Hill’s Café and Juice Bar, snacks from Eat Sprout, Rise Up Coffee, and more. Every dollar spent on food and drink will also be counted as a vote for the purchaser’s team.

If someone cannot attend the show or wants to help bring their team closer to victory, they can make an online donation in their team’s name.

Visit www.talbotinterfaithshelter.org to purchase tickets, meet the competitors, and place an online “vote”. Those interested in volunteering for the event should contact Jayme Dingler at tis.jayme@gmail.com or 443-786-4676.

When asked why people should attend the Lip Sync Battle, Dingler says, “It is the happiest two hours you will spend all year. You’ll laugh, dance, sing along, and leave uplifted. The cherry on top is that, through having an incredible night of fun, you will have helped to provide a better life for individuals and families in need in our community. What more can you ask for?”

Talbot Interfaith Shelter (TIS) is a 501(c)3 organization based in Easton and serving Talbot County and the surrounding areas. The organization has developed a program called S4 (Shelter, Stability, Support, Success), which is designed to give guests access to a stable home-like environment, services, and tools that can help them break the cycle of poverty and homelessness and regain their independence. Once guests are accepted into Easton’s Promise, they receive case management as they move through an individualized plan, eventually transitioning into one of the shelter’s eight subsidized off-site apartments, where they incrementally take over expenses until they are fully self-sufficient.

Their vision is that no one in Talbot County will ever have to spend a night on the streets, in a car or in the woods because he or she cannot find housing. To learn more about how you can help, visit www.talbotinterfaithshelter.org or contact Julie Lowe at 410-310-2316 or julielowe@atlanticbb.net.

Messick’s Long Walk Home Turns Into Annual Adventure Day

On November 18th at the Oxford Community Center, local adventure-seekers can experience on a small scale the journey that local attorney Robert Messick embarked on this year to benefit Talbot Interfaith Shelter (TIS).  Messick left in April to hike all 2,190 miles of the Appalachian Trail in an effort to raise money to support the shelter’s mission of preventing homelessness in Talbot County.   He has already surpassed $23,000 toward his $35,000 goal.

To honor his incredible effort and ensure that its impact continues now that his mission is completed, TIS has parlayed the Long Walk Home into an annual Family Fun Walk and Adventure Day.

Kids of all ages will join in a nature walk with stops along the path commemorating events that happened to Messick on the Appalachian Trail.  Once they arrive back at the Community Center, there will be several adventure activities – including a compass scavenger hunt – along with demonstrations, crafts, food and drink.

The nature walk and activities will be from 11 am to 3 pm, followed by a presentation by Mr. Messick about his Appalachian Trail journey.  While the walk and activities are geared towards families with children, Robert’s presentation is appropriate for all ages.  Admission to both is free, but donations to Talbot Interfaith Shelter are encouraged.  Suggested donation amounts are $10 per person or $20 per family.  If you are interested in sponsoring or volunteering for the event, contact TIS’ Marketing and Communications Director, Jayme Dingler, at tis.jayme@gmail.com or 443-786-4676.

The Talbot Interfaith Shelter is a voluntary interfaith-based service organization in Talbot County, Maryland. We are dedicated both to providing safe, temporary shelter to men, women, and children who lack adequate housing, and to raising awareness of the issues of homelessness in our community.  Their vision is that no one in Talbot County will ever have to spend a night on the streets, in a car or in the woods because he or she cannot find housing.

Lip Sync Battle Pays More Than Lip Service to Local Homeless Shelter

On April 13th at 7:30 pm, the Avalon Theatre will be alive with the sounds of music, but the people on stage won’t be singing.  For their second installment of the Concert 4 Shelter series, Talbot Interfaith Shelter (TIS) is hosting a Lip Sync Battle to raise money for their shelter and transitional housing program.  The event is presented by Wells Fargo Advisors’ Easton Branch, and is sure to be a hilarious and fun time for the whole family.

TIS has gathered individuals and teams from all over the community to duke it out in a Lip Sync battle royale for the ages.  The contestants include TIS Executive Director Julie Lowe, Mike Endzel of Johnny Bling, Team Eastern Shore Brewing, Rob Pierce of Pierce Home Builders, Team Shore United Bank, students from The Country School HOHO (Helping Others, Helping Ourselves) Advisory Group, and Team BAAM (Building African American Minds).  These brave souls have been preparing for weeks to perform their hearts out and compete to see who can raise the most money for the shelter.

Adding to the fun will be co-hosts Laurie Forster, also known as The Wine Coach, and local musician and shelter board member Jayme D.  The always entertaining DJ Groundhog will be on stage providing the soundtrack to this unforgettable night.  If you want to support your favorite contestant, there are many ways to “vote”:

Buy a ticket to the show. The night of the event, your ticket will be your ballot, and the $27 purchase price will go towards helping your team-of-choice win. As a bonus, just by purchasing your ticket, you will also be providing a “win” for a man, woman or child in need in our community by covering the cost of shelter, food, and services for one day!
If you’re attending the show, come early and come hungry! The incredible Eat Sprout will be providing light fare, snacks and beverages, and every dollar you spend on food will be counted as a vote for your contestant!
Make an online donation. If you can’t attend the show, or just want to help push your contestant over the edge, you can vote by making an online donation to TIS.

To learn more about the Lip Sync Battle, buy your tickets, or vote for a contestant, visit www.talbotinterfaithshelter.org/LipSyncBattle/html.

The Talbot Interfaith Shelter is a voluntary interfaith-based service organization in Talbot County, Maryland. We are dedicated both to providing safe, temporary shelter to men, women, and children who lack adequate housing, and to raising awareness of the issues of homelessness in our community. 

Talbot Interfaith Shelter Completes Purchase of Easton’s Promise

On November 2nd, at 1880 Bank, Talbot Interfaith Shelter (TIS) closed on the purchase of Easton’s Promise, located at 107 Goldsborough Street. The Shelter has been leasing the property since autumn of 2014 as it awaited the end of a lengthy appeal process related to its permit to operate at that location.

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Gail Benjamin, Vice President of TIS; Kevin Moran Chief Credit Officer 1880 Bank; Frank Menditch, TIS Treasurer; Richard White Jr, Miles & Stockbridge P.C.

The original permit was awarded on June 29, 2014 by the Board of Zoning Appeals (BOZA) in Easton. The decision was appealed to Talbot County Circuit Court, where it was upheld on April 16th, 2015. The permit was further appealed to the Maryland Court of Special Appeals, who upheld the BOZA and Circuit Court decisions on September 15th of this year.

During the appeal process, TIS moved forward with determination, and has assisted 112 people, including 18 families with 36 children. They are currently hosting 13 individuals, including 7 children who range in age from two weeks to nine years old. The timing of the purchase is fortuitous, having occurred on the second day of Homelessness Awareness Month.

“We are relieved to have possession of Easton’s Promise, and to finally be able to focus 100% of our energy on working with our partners and supporters to prevent homelessness on the Eastern Shore,” said Gail Benjamin, Vice President of the shelter’s board, who signed on behalf of TIS at the closing.

“We are so grateful to Carla and Pete Howell for their incredible patience, and for allowing us the opportunity to help so many people while we awaited the end of the appeal process. No one could have predicted that it would go on for more than two years, and they are wonderful for standing by us and letting us make Easton’s Promise our home in the interim. We could not have done any of this without them.”

“Our pro bono attorneys have been amazing throughout all of this, as well,” added TIS Executive Director Julie Lowe. “Mike Kopen worked tirelessly for two years making sure that our permit was upheld, and Dick White has been with us for many years providing sound advice and assistance and working with us through the process of purchasing Easton’s Promise. Thanks also to Kevin Moran and 1880 Bank for making this happen so quickly.“

Lowe went on to express gratitude for the outpouring of support the shelter has received from the community. “We received an incredible offer from our anonymous donors over two years ago, and it was the catalyst for what we have built at Easton’s Promise. There are no words to express how thankful we are, not only for their financial support, but for the confidence they had that we would rise to the occasion. And we have an army of big-hearted volunteers and donors. What they may not realize is that, when they donate, or cook dinner, or organize an event to support us, or simply treat our guests with dignity and respect, what they are really doing is changing lives. They are giving our neighbors the stability, support and confidence they need to move forward and regain their independence.

“Now that we own Easton’s Promise, our journey is just beginning. We will need their help and support now, more than ever, to fulfill our mission.”

To learn more about Talbot Interfaith Shelter and how you can help, visit www.talbotinterfaithshelter.org or contact Julie Lowe at 410-310-2316.

Yoga Fundraiser For Talbot Interfaith Shelter

Students and teachers at The Studio in St. Michaels will stretch, bend and hold yoga poses on Saturday, September 13th, with open hearts and minds toward those men, women and children in Talbot County who are homeless.

According to The Studio’s Paulette Florio, “We teach yoga of and from the heart. On September 13th, we turn our hearts and attention to those in our community who are need of safe shelter. We will be holding a series of gentle yoga classes in support of this effort. You can take one or all three classes or make a contribution. All classes are gentle enough for the beginner student and relaxing and renewing enough for everyone.”

Julie Lowe, Executive Director of the Talbot Interfaith Shelter said “Rural homelessness often is a hidden problem. A vast geographic area can complicate identifying community members without shelter, but rural communities face similar economic struggles to urban areas. Here’s what we know about homelessness in Talbot County: In 2012-13, Talbot County Schools reported 98 homeless students, which translates to approximately 60 homeless families in Talbot County. At least 50 more of our neighbors lack adequate housing. On average, TIS has fielded 45 calls per month during our winter operations, and much of this need is temporary.”

Founded in 2008, TIS currently operates as a winter shelter, rotating among faith community host sites. Today, 19 partner congregations participate, and last year over 400 volunteers donated 3,571 hours. The organization also currently houses three families in off-site apartments. With the recent Board of Zoning Appeals approval to operate the Shelter at Easton’s Promise at 107 Goldsborough St., the organization expects to offer shelter in its new setting starting this winter.

The yoga studio is offering three special sessions on Saturday, September 13th. From 1:00 – 1:45 Carole Derry will lead a Restorative Yoga class. From 2:00 – 2:45, a Gentle Heart Opening Sequence will be offered by Cindy Browne. From 3:00 to 3:45, Lynda Barrow will lead a Heart opening Guided Meditation Session. The public is invited to take one or all three classes for $25.00 To register, call Paulette at 410-924-2443.

For more information, see the websites of The Studio (www.stmichaelsstudio.com) and the Talbot Interfaith Shelter (www.talbotinterfaithshelter.org).

Shelter Century Fall Foliage Tour Moves To Hog Neck Golf Course Oct. 18

The Talbot Interfaith Shelter announces the move of its signature cycling event to Hog Neck Golf Course. The third annual Shelter Century Fall Foliage Tour will be held on October 18, 2014 with a ‘show and go’ start from 7:00 – 9:00 a.m. The event features four separate rides, a 10 mile ride, a 33 mile fitness ride, a metric century (63 mile) and a full century (100 mile) ride. This year will also feature the new #lovewins 5K walk through the award-winning Hog Neck golf course. Proceeds benefit the Talbot Interfaith Shelter (TIS), a cold weather homeless shelter in Talbot County, MD.

Shelter-Century-2014-LOGO_web_opThe fall foliage ride takes cyclists through picturesque Talbot County, on quiet roads with gentle hills rising through lush farmland and forests with water views of the Choptank River. Starting and ending at the famed Hog Neck Golf Course, cyclists and walkers will be celebrated with an after-party complete with hot food, homemade pie, local brews and the sweet sounds of singer Jayme Ploff.

The event is a ride, not a race. Rest stops will be available for all courses with light food, refreshments and restrooms. The course is just minutes from Easton, offering cyclists and their families shopping, dining and lodging.

Cyclists who wish to support the event by raising funds for the Shelter can do so through the active.com registration system, and special prizes and fashionable new cycling jerseys will be offered to winning fund raisers. Teams are encouraged, as are costumes and slogans. Long sleeved technical shirts and cool shirts for walkers are cornerstones of the event. Teams, sponsors and fund raising cyclists will be supported and promoted on social media.

The Talbot Interfaith Shelter is dedicated both to providing safe, temporary shelter to men, women, and children who lack adequate housing, and to raising awareness of the issues of homelessness in Talbot County. Fourteen faith communities rotate the homeless shelter through their church facilities during the cold weather months. Over 400 volunteers from the faith communities have worked together since 2008 to keep neighbors off the streets and in warm beds during the winter. Sponsors and cyclists participating in the event will directly help provide shelter to our homeless neighbors.

To register to ride or sponsor the event, visit the Shelter Century website (www.sheltercentury.org). For information about the Talbot Interfaith Shelter, see their website (www.talbotinterfaithshelter.org). For additional information or questions, call 443-205-2828 or email sheltercentury@gmail.com.

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Talbot Interfaith Shelter Seeks Zoning Board Approval

The Talbot Interfaith Shelter (TIS) has applied with the Town of Easton for a Special Exception Permit to operate a homeless shelter/transitional home at 107 Goldsborough Street, currently the location of B&B Easton’s Promise.

A hearing is scheduled before the Easton Board of Zoning and Appeals on Tuesday, April 15 at 9:15 a.m. Hearing location is 14 South Harrison Street in Easton.

The proposed shelter location is commercially zoned, outfitted with a fire suppression sprinkler system and is set up to provide accommodations for 12-15 people. It will triple Talbot Interfaith Shelter’s current capacity, at host site churches, and allow shelter for the needy to be open 24 hours a day, year-round. It also will provide space for TIS staff and staff from other Talbot County agencies, creating great efficiency and effectiveness when dealing with the needy.

TIS has requested its supporters to attend the April 15 meeting.