March 13, 2014
PERHAPS YOU'VE noticed Gov. Corbett lately lugging his conservative record from the right over toward the center-left. After pulling polling numbers more often equated with pestilence than politicians, Corbett, who is seeking re-election, suddenly is using his office to seek popularity. As you might imagine - given his past positions/proclamations on women, minorities, gays, the unemployed, the needy and, well, everything - this requires some heavy lifting. The guv just underwent hernia surgery.
March 12, 2014 |
In October, the state's public-welfare secretary said she was "rethinking" the food-stamp asset test, a controversial measure tying federal benefits to people's bank accounts and car ownership. Almost five months later, not only is the asset test unchanged, but two state senators are also proposing a bill that would augment it. Pennsylvania is one of just 12 states to institute such a test, seen by advocates and academics as unnecessary red tape that stymies deserving people in accessing benefits.
March 7, 2014 |
In a move that surprised even his most cynical critics, Gov. Corbett on Wednesday night forestalled an estimated $3 billion in cuts to food stamps in the state over the next 10 years. By doing so, Corbett became the first Republican governor in the country to prevent the cuts ordered by Congress, which is looking to slash $8.6 billion over the next decade to the food-stamp program, now called SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program). The governor's decision will preserve benefits for 400,000 Pennsylvania households slated to lose a monthly average of $60 to $65 each in benefits, amounting to $300 million a year, said Kait Gillis, spokeswoman for the state Department of Public Welfare.
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.