MCC is delighted to honor Donna Yellen, Board Member and long time parishioner of Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church, Portland. Donna is the Director of the Maine Hunger Initiative and Advocacy at Preble Street, a social service agency whose mission is to provide services to empower people experiencing problems with homelessness, housing, hunger and poverty and to advocate for solutions to these problems.
Donna first became associated with MCC on Christmas Eve, 1998. Preble Street had learned that the federal department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) planned to cut all funding to homeless services in Maine. Donna and others at Preble Street quickly responded by gathering together homeless service providers, community members, civic, political and religious leaders. MCC assisted in Preble Street’s "Don’t Freeze Out the Homeless in Maine" press conference and subsequent protest at HUD’s regional headquarters in Boston. That freezing day, bishops, rabbis, ministers and other clergy stood by the homeless in solidarity with other civic and political leaders, successfully insisting that HUD renew its funding to Maine.
Years later, after many collaborations including the MCC sponsorship of the Maine Coalition for the Homeless, the MCC drama project on homelessness, "Hear our Stories, Know our Names," and many years of Preble Street testifying on the same issues as MCC at the legislature, Donna was invited to join MCC’s Board. Donna says "when asked to join the Board, I knew it was something I wanted to do. Being on the Board of the Maine Council of Churches has not only allowed me to work with an incredibly dedicated, smart and inspiring staff, or to serve with wonderful fellow Board members whom I’ve learned from and admire, but it has also given me the opportunity to work with other people of faith toward a life of justice, compassion and peace."
Also honored are Immanuel Baptist Church in Portland and Maine Equal Justice Partners.