Quilts, Crumbles, and Community: Reflections from an ICS Board Member

I love to cook for people. I love the instant feedback, the ability to share that I care, and that look on people’s faces when they close their eyes and think “mmm, that’s good”. So it was natural that when I wanted to start volunteering with ICS, I combined one of my favorite things to do with volunteering – by cooking dinner monthly for the men in recovery!

My husband and I had done this for over a year back in 2017-2018, and I loved the feeling of making something nice that people would love – ribs, meatloaf, bratwurst. And I loved when I got my friends and family to come join us, and adding their faves – homemade mac and cheese, greens, bread from scratch. But more than that, I loved being able to get to know the guys, and for my friends to get to know them too. We got to be there from the first month that some men showed up, and were there when they moved into permanent housing. We were able to share conversations about how life can suck. We shared dreams, shared regrets, and looked to the future. I was able to understand life beyond my own, beyond the lives of my friends, and I am so grateful for that. I got to make a quilt for graduation, and when one of the guys picked it up to keep, it felt so awesome.

We took a hiatus for about a year after we got a kiddo. BUT! Last month, we started it up again. We brought some faves – ribs, greens and sausages, homemade bread, and a crumble… though that didn’t turn out super great. 🙂 This was the first time we got to meet a lot of the new guys in the program, so it was weird to go back to not knowing people as well as we once did – everyone had graduated since we last cooked! But I’m excited to keep going monthly so that we can get to know them, and they can get to know us and our kid.

I would highly encourage finding a way to volunteer at ICS. Think about something you love to do; you can share that with the guests at ICS! From cooking, to painting, to reading, to … whatever! You have a gift that someone would love for you to share with them. Talk with me, a board member, or our Executive Director to let us know you want to share your time or skills and we’ll make it happen! 

Kevin Johnsen 
Board Member

The ICS 2018 Annual Report

Thank you all for believing in our mission. Because of your support and partnership, we provided Food for those who are Hungry, Hygiene for those who are Homeless and Recovery for those who are addicted in 2018. We will continue to carry this mission into 2019 with compassion and kindness.

Read our Annual Report by clicking on the image below.

An ICS Recovery Program Success Story

The success of our program can be seen in the example of a recent graduate of the program who struggled with alcoholism for decades. It ruined his family life and his business life. He had failed at prior treatment programs multiple times and eventually found his way to Matt Talbot. He moved into our Recovery Program Shelter so he would have a safe, clean place to live while he attended Matt Talbot Center for intensive outpatient treatment. Because he had a safe place off the streets, a bed and food on the table, he didn’t have to worry about how he would survive but could focus all of his attention and work on his recovery.


It wasn’t an easy path and after a few months, he relapsed but he immediately decided to get back on track.  He returned to inpatient treatment and when he completed treatment, he returned to ICS…and the rest as they say is history!  When he started regaining his health and embraced the tools needed to maintain recovery, he transitioned into the second phase of his program and returned to school, pursuing a degree in computer science through a local community college.  This career path now promises him a middle-class supporting wage.


Then one day, while on campus, he unexpectedly ran into one of his daughters he had not seen in over a decade. She was so impressed with his complete change of being and sobriety, they have been meeting weekly getting to know one another again.  She also brought one of her brothers along who has started reuniting with him as well. The overwhelming gratitude this individual feels was recently expressed in his comment at his phase 2 graduation when he stated, “someone pinch me because this has to be a dream come true.”

How to set-up a Fundraiser on Facebook

Step 1: Click here to start a fundraiser.

Step 2: Click the blue “Raise Money” bar and when a window pops up, click the box that says “Get Started”.

  • Another window will open and then choose “Nonprofit” from the three options.

Step 3: Search for Immanuel Community Services.

Step 4: Once you have chosen ICS, you will be able to enter your information.

Step 5: Customize your fundraiser!

We’d love for you to add personality to your text and description. Here are the details we want to make sure you include:

  • Please use this format for the Fundraising TitleHelp [your first name] raise $1k to fight homelessness and hunger!
  • Enter December 31, 2017 as the end date for your fundraiser.

Your goal amount is $1,000.

Thank you for your help and support!

Thank You for Joining Us for our 8th Annual Fall Benefit Breakfast!

A huge thank you to everyone who was a part of our 8th Annual ICS Fall Benefit Breakfast! The celebration was a tremendous success and we felt blessed to share with you all what makes ICS’ Programs truly unique. Thanks to your support, we raised over $52,000!

In particular, a huge thank you to Joe McDermott, our Keynote Speaker, for gracing us with his words of wisdom in the midst of this current homeless crisis. He also weighed in on the theme of this year’s Breakfast, “A Season of New Hope.” While acknowledging the seriousness of the homeless crisis, Joe remains “optimistic that we will find a time when people in need will be housed, [a time when] they will have access to healthy and nutritious food” as well as a fundamental sense of “safety and security.”  Immanuel Community Services, as Joe put it in his talk, plays “a key part” in the work being done for those who are without home or shelter.  In the face of this crisis, we pride ourselves on our ability to bring hope and optimism to those who need it most.

Thank you being part of this important work.

If you didn't get a chance to donate at the Breakfast, it's not too late!