News Release

Lifeline for the Empowerment and Development of Consumers, Inc.
PO Box 496, Painesville, OH 44077
Contact: Carrie Dotson | (440) 354-2148 | carried@lclifeline.org

Lifeline, Inc. Honors Lake County Residents, Organizations at 2015 Annual Awards Dinner

June 23, 2015
PAINESVILLE, Ohio— Lifeline, Inc., Lake County’s Community Action Agency, is pleased to announce its 2015 award winners and to recognize agency volunteers and community partners for their commitment to Lake County’s low-income citizens. The awards were presented at Lifeline’s Annual Dinner held on May 20 at the Quail Hollow Resort in Concord.

“We gave out three different awards this year,” said Carrie Dotson, Executive Director of Lifeline. “We are so excited to be able to recognize those who support Lifeline and its programs, and our community.”

The 11th Annual Mildred P. Wilson Award was presented to Elaine Waytes, who has demonstrated outstanding service and dedication to Lifeline. The Mildred P. Wilson Award is named for the late Mildred Wilson, a dedicated Lifeline employee for many years. Mildred’s commitment and service to both Lifeline and Lake County’s low-income community were remarkable. This award was established in 2004 to honor an individual who goes above and beyond the call of duty in working to benefit Lifeline and the consumers we serve.

Previous recipients have included William Margalis, past Lifeline Board member; Barb Crabtree, fiscal consultant; Janet Gockel, Lifeline volunteer; Rita C. McMahon, Lifeline Board member; Donna Zabarsky, past Lifeline Board member and community partner; Bob Zaluski, past Lifeline Board member; Mark Alderman, Ohio Development Services Agency Field Representative; Gwen Corban, former Lifeline Executive Director; Cate Hearn, former Lifeline staff member; and Jeremy & Vanessa Iosue, past Lifeline Board member and volunteers.

Elaine has been a volunteer for Lifeline’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program every year since the program started in 2010. Elaine has been a driving force behind the VITA Program. She has a reputation within the community of generosity, integrity, and volunteering her talents to help others. VITA has been the beneficiary of those characteristics for several years and she has played a role as a mentor as well as a tax preparer.

During the preparation of the VITA Program, Elaine connects with local community members to recruit them to be volunteers. She also assists the Site Coordinator with the preparation of marketing, scheduling, and overall program management. As a tax preparer, Elaine is patient and uses her enhanced communication skills to adapt to client’s different needs.

Elaine has become a foundation of the VITA Program and Lifeline is proud to have her as a partner serving those living in poverty. Elaine has donated hundreds of hours to the VITA program over the last five years and is very passionate about helping our clients to achieve self-sufficiency.

The Outstanding Community Spirit Award was given to St. Mary’s Church in Painesville for their commitment to Lifeline, Inc.’s mission and the clients that we serve, as well as their support of the community, as they voluntarily operate the winter warming shelter. The Community Spirit Award is bestowed upon a local business or organization who displays outstanding dedication and service to improving the quality of life for Lake County’s low-income families.

The St. Mary’s Church volunteers have opened a warming center on the coldest nights of the winter for those who have no other overnight shelter options. Some are folks who are typically living on the streets and others are those who simply can’t get into Project Hope because it is full.

The St. Mary’s Warming Center is unique because it is totally volunteer driven. Church members volunteer to stay the nights, running the center out of their passion to serve others. This is truly an example of improving the quality of life for the most vulnerable of our population.

The Outstanding Community Partnership Award was presented to two collaborations this year. The awards were given to the 2-1-1 Marketing Team and Leadership Lake County and to the Lake County Emergency Management Agency, Tri County CARE and the Lake County Citizens Corps for their collaboration following the July 2013 Lake County floods. The Outstanding Community Partnership Award recognizes a program or collaboration that shows both innovation and results in helping low-income families achieve self-sufficiency.

Lake County’s local food pantries have been doing a great job trying to meet the demands that their clients face due to this poor economy. Incoming calls to 2-1-1 for food needs were up considerably from 2013 to 2014.

While we cannot honor them all, there are a few stand outs that go above and beyond and the pantry at Old South Church in Kirtland is one of them.

Chuck Huey, the coordinator for the pantry, and his volunteers go above and beyond to serve the community— they serve all of Lake County. They stay after closing to wait for the tardy client to show up; they will go in on a day they aren’t open so that client can still get food; they changed their service hours so they could help more often and, when a client is infirmed, without hesitation, they will deliver food to them.

This year Lifeline’s Annual Dinner and Awards Presentation were held in conjunction with National Community Action Awareness Month and featured remarks by both Lifeline Board President, Pam Morse and by Dotson.

Dotson says that because Lifeline, Inc. is such a locally-based organization, they work to recognize those who have made an impact locally with these awards.

“As a Community Action Agency, we are obviously a community-based organization. Last year we served over 7,000 households from nearly every community in Lake County with our community services programs and answered nearly 40,000 calls for information and referrals through 2-1-1,” said Dotson. “We’ve strived to continue that effort by recognizing local individuals, organizations and program participants who have been successful in the past year.”

Lifeline for the Empowerment and Development of Consumers was founded in 1973 with the mission of helping Lake County residents by providing them assistance and life skills programming that is designed to increase self-sufficiency. In 1980 Lifeline became a participating agency of the United Way of Lake County, UWLC, and in 1987 was designated a community action agency by the Ohio Development Services Agency, ODSA. In 2008, Lifeline was designated as a mental health agency by the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services.

Today Lifeline continues with the same mission of helping Lake County’s low-income residents break the cycle of poverty and make the transition from agency-dependency to self-sufficiency. Lifeline’s current programming includes services in the healthcare, housing & energy assistance, information & referral services and consumer education & job training areas. Our motto is ‘helping people, changing lives.’ Lifeline is currently funded by the UWLC and by grants through the ODSA, the Lake County Board of Commissioners, the Lake County ADAMHS Board, Lake County Department of Job & Family Services, the City of Mentor, the Western Reserve Junior Service League and through private donors.

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