March 7, 2014
If any members of our fractious species could get along, you might expect it to be those who make it their life's work to feed the hungry. And yet the Philadelphia region's food charities find themselves figuratively throwing food at each other. Fortunately, being practiced altruists, they ought to be able to find a way to put aside pride and parochialism for the sake of the needy. The local antihunger giant Philabundance is at the center of the controversy. With a budget of nearly $50 million and a staff of more than 100, Philabundance takes food from supermarkets, food makers, and other large donors and discounters and distributes it to nearly 500 area food pantries serving the needy.
February 28, 2014 |
THERE WERE many news accounts that referred to the latest round of food-stamp reductions out of Washington as only "small cuts. " Don't tell that to Frankford mom Tianna Gaines-Turner when she goes grocery shopping for her family, including her husband and three kids. Gaines-Turner - who's currently out of work from her seasonal rec job and whose husband is only getting part-time hours in food service - said her family already took a hit of roughly $70 a month when the government slashed the food-stamp program last year, and now she's bracing for the impact of the 2014 cuts.
February 6, 2014 |
Food stamps nationwide will be cut by more than $8 billion over the next 10 years, with a significant portion of the decrease borne by Pennsylvania and New Jersey residents - many of whom are disabled, elderly, or children. A Senate vote of 68-32 on Tuesday afternoon sent the so-called Farm Bill to President Obama after three years of wrangling in both houses of Congress. Obama is expected to sign the legislation, which will have the effect of cutting $8.6 billion in food stamps from 850,000 U.S. households in the next decade.
February 4, 2014 |
WHEN THE House of Representatives passed the Farm Bill last Wednesday, they demonstrated that they are blind to the reality of hunger and poverty in America. They fail to account for the human consequences of the massive $8.6 billion cut to SNAP, also known as food stamps. This cut will impact more than 850,000 households nationwide. Every day, we see firsthand the impossible trade-offs that parents make to survive. Our research with Philadelphia families, in their homes and in the emergency room at St. Christopher's Hospital for Children, shows undeniable evidence that families have to choose between paying their rent and utilities or feeding their families.
December 24, 2013 |
BALA CYNWYD The Jewish Relief Agency started in 2000 with three men handing out food to 16 needy families. It has blossomed into a volunteer corps of 15,000, with about 1,000 each month dispensing 3,100 packages to hungry residents of the Philadelphia area. This month, the organization planned to celebrate a milestone: its bar mitzvah. But the Dec. 8 party at the Valley Forge Sheraton that was supposed to mark the charity's 13th birthday - and, in light of major government-funding cuts, help pay for the food it distributes - was canceled because of unexpectedly heavy snow that day. So the fund-raiser went online, where the JRA is raffling off a new car. By March 9, it hopes to sell 1,000 tickets, which cost $100 each or three for $250.
December 13, 2013 |
The number of people needing emergency food from pantries in Philadelphia increased 7 percent over the last year, according to a national report on hunger and homelessness released Wednesday. "This means we're in worse shape than ever," said Steveanna Wynn, executive director of SHARE Food Program, which supplies food to 500 pantries in the city. Wynn provided the research about hunger in Philadelphia for the report, compiled by the U.S. Conference of Mayors, which sent out surveys to 25 cities of various sizes across the country.
December 10, 2013
Demonstrators in 100 cities hit the streets outside fast-food restaurants Thursday to protest the miserly wages some service workers are paid. Too many are trying to support families on the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, and they can't do it. Nor should they have to. Adjusted for inflation, retail workers' wages have fallen 30 percent since 1973. Today's minimum wage would have to be raised to $10.60 an hour to equal the 1968 rate in real dollars. Even the pay of many workers who are lucky enough to earn more than the current minimum falls below the federal poverty line of $19,530 for a household of three.
December 6, 2013
NEWS is defined as a report of recent events presented in a straightforward style without editorial comment. A recent article by John Baer attempts to straddle the lines between news, commentary and a review of state Rep. Dwight Evans' book. Mr. Baer opens up the article by reminding us that Mr. Evans' 30 years in office "hasn't been pretty. " The question becomes: Is running for office a beauty contest? In his second paragraph, Mr. Baer goes on to say that there were "electoral flops for governor and twice for mayor," as if running for office and losing is an evaluative tool for Mr. Evans' 30 years in office as a state legislator.
December 2, 2013 |
It's been a month since food-stamp benefits were cut throughout America for the first time in history. And though it's too soon for official numbers and analyses, the effect of the loss of nearly $300 million in benefits in Pennsylvania and New Jersey is evident across the region. "It's mind boggling how the area has so many people this hungry," said Joanne Castagna, director of the Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry in Prospect Park, Delaware County. "We've seen an increase in people - maybe 20 percent - coming here because their food stamps have been cut and they didn't know where else to turn.
November 27, 2013
IF YOU are so inclined, you can understand what recent cuts to the food stamp program means: Tomorrow, remove one vegetable and all the desserts from your Thanksgiving spread. Or, go to the grocery store, shop for your usual order, then put back $9 worth of items. That's the average weekly cut to the food stamp program that went into effect Nov. 1, which transpired when a temporary hike to cope with the 2008 recession lapsed and Congress neglected to extend it. Most of us could trim $9 from our shopping cart without too much pain, but those receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)