Remarks from CEO Jean Austin For the 19th Annual Book and Author Luncheon


19th Annual Book and Author Luncheon

March 5, 2016 ~ Chesapeake Bay Beach Club Stevensville

When I greeted the audience of the book and Author Luncheon in 2014 I thanked Sister Patricia for introducing me. Today I bring you her greetings from Kansas – she sent me an email last night asking that I share her loving thoughts across the miles and said, this past week the luncheon committee and all who work to make this event happen have been very present with her. She says, God Bless you and thank you for supporting SMM. (Sister Patricia has the same email. Her postal address is Mount Saint Scholastica 801 S 8th Street, Atchison, KS 66002.)

I must add my own thanks to Sister Patricia’s, – I want to acknowledge all who work to make this a great event — the committee, today’s authors who have given their time to be here, the individuals and businesses who provided generous sponsorships, the many individuals and businesses that donated to the silent auction, and the churches, businesses and organizations that have shown their support in today’s program. But the thing that seemed most amazing is that not only is this the 19th anniversary of this event, BUT also that many of you have been coming out to support SMM for all of those 19 years.

The goal of my remarks is to provide a brief review of the state of the Ministries – to tell you what we have accomplished, what we have been up to, and what we are thinking about.  So, what has happened at Saint Martin’s since I took over the leadership?  I told you last year there would be a ” Life after SMH program.”  There is.  I said we needed stronger case management to help Saint Martin’s House residents focus on their goals. We have a well-qualified and supportive case manager, with experience working with clients whose lives include the trauma that we see at Saint Martin’s House. I said that I feared that the monthly food pantry numbers would reach 325 per month.  They did; and we somehow managed to have enough food.  I said we planned to include more outreach education for food pantry clients.   There’s a great picture of one of those efforts on our big red banner – healthy foods tastings from the Good and Cheap cookbook.  I said in 2011 that we needed new volunteers with different skills and interests. Sitting  with me today is a wonderful woman, Charlotte Hawes. who volunteered for a year and gave myself and the staff and especially SMH children  energy and support in dealing with the day to day,  One of the things the Board and the staff know is that more people need to know about SMM. We are working hard on that as evidenced by our most recent video, the yellow brochure, geared toward new or returning donors, our FB page, and the variety of events thru out the year located around the mid shore.

What are we up to right now?

There are 8 women and 7 children at SMH right now – the children range in age from 6 weeks to 16 years. Four of the women are older, in an experiment we unfortunately call ‘the mature woman’s program’  — women who in midlife find themselves without a home, perhaps for some of the very reasons that Donna Jackson Nakazawa will talk about a bit later in our program. Three of those women came to SMH from the local winter shelter, a move that provides them with more support and increases their ability to find the resources they need to start to heal.

Last month we added a new event, following a national prototype called Empty Bowls. This is an event meant to raise awareness of hunger and to raise money to support those who work to end it. Program Director Kim Hopkins and all of the staff did a great job.  SMM’s Empty Bowls was special.  We used soup recipes from the Good and Cheap cookbook, bowls from the Thrift store and guests ate in the food pantry. We didn’t raise a great deal of money – it was our first year. But those of you who live here on the mid shore probably know that Talbot county raised more than $20,000 for their event in its 8th year. My spies, staff and volunteer who attended the Talbot event, believe SMM can do just as well, with your help.

SMM is a small group of very dedicated staff and volunteers helping between 350 and 500 people each month.  We offer help with the most basic of needs – food, clothing and having a roof over your head.             We are always thinking about how to meet that challenge. We do this work because we believe in the mission of helping people who live in poverty, because we know that poverty has multiple effects on a family’s ability to care for themselves.

We need your help to continue doing this work. Sixty percent of our operating revenue comes from fundraising events and individual donations, your financial support is critical.  As our new appeal this year says, write a page in Saint Martin’s book,  helps us  to help a family write their own happily ever after.





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