Introducing “Change Matters” program.
Next time you’re at the checkout we hope you’ll consider “rounding-up” and donating your change to our chosen local organization. These small contributions can add up to a sizable donation for our local recipient.
For the month of April, we are partnering with the Eau Claire Area Hmong Mutual Assistance Association (ECAHMAA), an organization that is helping to put an end to food insecurity in the Chippewa Valley.
With your generous support, we can ensure that valuable organizations like these continue to work and grow in our community.
Learn more about the programs your donations will contribute to:
Kajsiab Project: With a population that has in recent years grown to over 3,500, the Hmong American community in Eau Claire is the largest minority group in the area. Yet many of these individuals face great challenges in obtaining basic services. This is a problem especially for the elderly Hmong community (50+ years), 93% of whom are limited in English proficiency. This limitation is exacerbated by traumatic experiences as refugees of war and compounded by a lack of financial resources. This often results in keeping the Hmong elders linguistically and culturally isolated, leading to a growing group of Hmong elders who suffer from isolation, depression, anxiety, and other health conditions that may manifest in chronic physical health ailments. Furthermore, the vast cultural gap between Western and Hmong understandings of health and illness makes it difficult for Hmong elders to receive effective medical treatment. Through the Kajsiab project, ECAHMAA is battling to counteract these tendencies by giving this segment of the population tools to operate more independently in the mainstream community. This project, which runs on Fridays, incorporates social time, exercise, lunch, health education, and educational field trips. In the summer months, the Hmong elders tend to our community garden. ECAHMAA provides transportation, since most of the participants do not drive.
Building Bridges: Building Bridges Youth Program is a holistic afterschool program that helps to promote positive self-identities, resilience, revitalization of Hmong and Latino cultures and healthy relationships. This program is not just a “tutoring program” but a safe place for youth to come and engage in healthy group formation. It is here that we work on developing positive social relationships. This is also the program that would have the most impact around teen dating violence through the Safe Dates program. We teach gender equality and healthy relationships in our youth programming to prevent the cycle of violence and gender violence and inequality. Other notable issues of concern for the youth involved were that youth are being forced into marriages and youth that are struggling with bi-cultural identity and discrimination.
Rice Pantry: The Rice Pantry is a basic needs service that provides rice to families and seniors whose income is at or below 200% of the federal poverty guideline. Qualifying families are allocated either a 25 or 50 pound bag of rice based on their family size. A family of four will be able to pick up a 25 pound bag of rice once a month. The Eau Claire Area Hmong Mutual Assistance Association (ECAHMAA) collaborates with the St. Francis Food Pantry to provide income certified families with additional foods not available at the Rice Pantry. Rice provides a staple for many meals. Eau Claire Hmong Mutual provides the only Rice Pantry in the Greater Chippewa Valley. Additional items are available at our food pantry, including produce, when available.
The Community Garden: Eau Claire Area Hmong Mutual (ECAHMAA) has a community garden, which is tended by the elders and the youth program (Building Bridges). The Community Garden produces fresh food for the elders’ lunches during Kajsiab and for the food pantry at ECAHMAA. The community garden, located at the Jeffers Road Community Garden, was made possible through funding from the UW-Extension and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). The NRCS has a mission of ‘Helping People Help the Land’. By gardening in the spring and summer months, we were able to address the needs of Hmong elders while also addressing food insecurity and the elders were taught about soil conservation among other lessons! Our elders get exercise and enjoyment. This year our elders hope to learn more about hoop gardens.
To learn more: https://www.ecahmaa.org