Co-founder of Millennia Ministries, Concern for Neighbors Food Bank to be honored during Dr. King Tribute event Jan. 17

Leilani Miller

Edmonds resident Leilani Miller, executive director of Millennia Ministries in Everett, and Mountlake Terrace Concern for Neighbors Food Bank have been selected as the 2022 recipients of the Lift Every Voice Legacy Beloved Community Awards for advancing values that lift the standard of well-being among marginalized citizens throughout Snohomish County. The awards will be presented by the Lift Every Voice Legacy (LEVL) at the 4rd annual Tribute to Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. — Inspiring a Beloved Community in Song, Spoken Words and Dance program at the Edmonds Center for the Arts on Jan. 17.

General admission tickets for the evening program are $15; $5 for students; and reduced from $18 to $15 day of the event. For tickets and information, contact the ECA Box Office at 425-275-9595 or online at ec4arts.org

Note that ECA requires masks and proof of vaccination or proof of negative COVID-19 PCR test for entry to all performances andevents. Those unable to be fully vaccinated, including all children under 12, must provide proof of a timely negative COVID-19 PCR test (taken within 72 hours of performance). This policy applies to all patrons of all ages, no exceptions.

Miller is the co-founder of Millennia Ministries, a Snohomish County-based organization dedicated to securing the stability of children. She has worked to expand her reach to women in need by serving as a pastor, as well as ministering in communities in parts of Canada, Africa and throughout the United States.

She is driven by the belief that to stabilize the well-being of children, you must stabilize families and the work she does through her non-profit has housed over 400 women and families since 2005.

“It makes it really difficult for the children when the mom is overworked and can’t meet needs,” she said. “We need to be able to take care of those children in an equitable way with other competitive members of our society, meaning men, because a lot of times single moms are the only support for their children. These programs help support women in becomingcompetitive candidates in the job market.”

Miller’s work in the community provides services to clients throughout Snohomish County including Edmonds, Montlake Terrace, Lynnwood, Mill Creek and Lake Stevens, and is rooted in her life experiences. Since January 2021, Millennia Ministries has provided 15 housing referrals; delivered groceries to 2,120 seniors; supplied 8,480 meals and provided emergency hotel stays for 114 community members in need.

Mountlake Terrace Concern for Neighbors Food Bank, the other award recipient, has served residents of Brier, Mountlake Terrace and south Lynnwood for 50 years, is one of the oldest continuously operating food banks in Snohomish County.

Even in late February 2021, when thieves stole the food bank’s computers, a van and several thousand dollars in gift cards, the community was quick to rally around this tragic incident to help keep the food bank operational — eventually restoring it to full service, said Mike Begeman, its executive director. Eleven local State Farm agents made personal donations with a company matching gift totaling $14,700. Andy’s Auto Repair, Maaco Shoreline, and O’Reilly Signs donated their time to rehab the van. ICS Support donated refurbished computers and software. Kim Maguire and Maguire Voice had an online benefit concert in March 2021.

Churches in South Snohomish County began Concern for Neighbors Food Bank in 1971 in a basement of a home adjacent to the current location, where five volunteers served 18 clients. Today, the organization serves an average of 110 households per week with over 60 volunteers per month. Begeman said the food bank has seen a 25% increase in need since the beginning of the pandemic. Volunteers make grocery pickups and deliveries to clients in the food bank van five days a week, he added.

Both awards will be presented on Jan. 17, during the 7:30 p.m. program at the Edmonds Center for the Arts on the national holiday commemorating the birth of the iconic civil rights leaders.

During the “If I Can Help Somebody”-themed program, the featured storyteller is Sean Goode, executive director of Choose 180, a restorative justice non-profit in King County. Choose 180 has turned around the lives of thousands of juvenile and young adult offenders to become purposeful and productive citizens in their community.

Returning performances by Pacific Northwest renowned gospel, R&B and jazz vocalist Josephine Howell and her Band and Barclay Shelton Dance Centre will be additional highlights to the evening program. Dr. Brian Bantum, a Seattle theologian who holds the Fisher endowed chair at the Garrett Theological Seminary in Evanston, Ill., will help set the stage with the story of Dr. King’s sermon on Feb. 4, 1968, at Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church – exactly two months before his death. The Greater Everett MLK Celebration Ensemble also will be featured in the program for the first time.

Due to the surge in COVID cases, LEVL’s Morning Program for children and families honoring Dr. King will be reduced to a free vaccination distribution site. It will take place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Jan. 17 at the Edmonds Waterfront Center, 220 Railroad Ave. Vaccines will be available for the following ages:

5-11 Pfizer only

12-18 Pfizer only

18-plus Pfizer, Moderna or J&J

Walk-in visits welcome and you can also register at:

The link for age 12: prepmod.doh.wa.gov//appointment/en/reg/1042993607

The link for ages 5-11: prepmod.doh.wa.gov//appointment/en/reg/0419262790

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Real first and last names — as well as city of residence — are required for all commenters.
This is so we can verify your identity before approving your comment.