Poverty's Edge

The Community Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley's take on poverty, how it affects our communities, and what we're doing about it.

02 Oct

CACLV: Our Past, Present, and Future (Part One of Three)

Written by Jessica R. Dreistadt, Planner for Lehigh Valley Community Land Trust, Rising Tide Community Loan Fund, West Ward Neighborhood Partnership, and Renew Lehigh Valley. Our Past I was recently given the arduous task of piecing together CACLV’s early history, a time we unfortunately about which we don’t know very much. With the help of one box of records which had survived multiple moves and transitions, the Internet, and our friends at the Bethlehem Area Public...

11 Feb

U.S Representative Charlie Dent on LV Discourse Thursday

U.S. Representative Charlie Dent has catapulted to the national political stage because he has tried to bring some moderation to his caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives.  The so-called Tea Party conservatives’ strident rhetoric and extremist tactics such as forcing a government shut-down placed many Republican Members of Congress at risk of losing the off-year elections in 2014.  Congressman Dent will be Alan Jennings’ guest on Lehigh Valley Discourse on WDIY...

14 Nov

SAY IT AIN’T SO

Many of us have been victimized by people who spread misinformation about us.  It is particularly frustrating when the perpetrator is actually the one violating the rules, whether they be stated or just understood.  They launch a campaign of rumors, half-truths and flat-out lies in order to distract attention from their own misdeeds.  The Second Harvest Food Bank is being targeted currently and we think that campaign has gone on long enough and deserves a response. The Second Harvest Food Bank...

04 Nov

PROUD OF OUR RECORD

Esther Guzmán, Director of CACLV’s West Ward Neighborhood Partnership,  has been an activist for many years, working with Bethlehem’s Police Department, assisting many other non-profits and training the community in cultural sensitivity. As National Hispanic Heritage Month wraps up, Esther submits the following post: National Hispanic Heritage Month is observed from September 15 to October 15 to celebrate the histories, cultures and contributions of persons whose ancestors came from Spain, the Caribbean, Central and South America. The observation started in 1968...

17 Oct

Tonight on WDIY Lehigh Valley Discourse: Congressman Cartwright joins Alan Jennings!

Matt Cartwright is nearing the end of his first year representing a gerrymandered congressional district that includes Easton and the Slate Belt. His voting record is as Democratic as the other congressman who represents the region, Charlie Dent, is Republican. Listen in tonight as CACLV’s Alan Jennings welcomes Congressman Matt Cartwright on Lehigh Valley Discourse.  They will be discussing the government shutdown and other issues of our time, his impressions of Congress as an institution, and what makes him tick. Click here to...

07 Jan

Audio – Philanthropy on Lehigh Valley Discourse

Alan Jennings with special guests, Laurie Gostley Hackett, Charles Marcon, and Marlene Fowler discuss Philanthropy in the Lehigh Valley, December 10th, 2012 on the WDIY  – Lehigh Valley Discourse radio show.   [ca_audio url=”http://blog.caclv.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Philanthropy.mp3″ width=”500″ height=”27″ css_class=”codeart-google-mp3-player”] ...

15 Aug

Lehigh Valley Discourse – 2012-08-09

Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski has a problem. Actually, like all mayors trying to make their cities viable in Pennsylvania, the mayor has big problems. Having cut city spending to the bone, he still has major obligations such as meeting its pension obligations for retired city workers. So Mayor Pawlowski is proposing some bold measures, including unloading some major operations to private and/or outside interests. ...

14 Feb

A TALE OF STRENGTH AND THE POWER OF COMMUNITY ORGANIZING

On February 14, 2010, Nikki W.  found herself keeling over in pain.  After months of testing, she was diagnosed with gastroparesis (paralysis of the stomach).  Gastroparesis (GP) is a chronic illness without a cure.  Treatment options are limited. There are few medications available, mostly geared towards symptom control rather than dealing with the underlying problem. For this reason, they are often ineffective.  Nikki is an artist and has used her passion for photography to raise awareness about her illness...

27 Jan

Becoming Poor…Is It A Choice?

We welcome back Esther Y. Guzman, director of the West Ward Neighborhood Partnership.  Thanks for sharing again!  In 1992 I arrived in Bethlehem from Puerto Rico with two boys and a suitcase full of dreams.  We were considered upper-middle class on the Island and came to the United States due to my husband’s illness, which was followed by his death. All of a sudden I found myself with a low-paying  job, (at least I was hired one week after I arrived), living in...

13 Jan

CORBETT BUDGET FREEZE TO BE TARGET OF PRESS CONFERENCE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                          CONTACT:    Alan L. Jennings                          610-248-9900                                                               Coalition Sees Irony in Increased Corrections Budget Coinciding With More Cuts in Programs That Develop Pennsylvania’s Human Resources A coalition of groups that serve residents of the Lehigh Valley will hold a briefing on Tuesday, January 17, at 11 AM, to stress their objections to Governor Tom Corbett’s budget “freeze.”  The event will take place near...

15 Dec

CACLV CONDEMNS DISINTEGRATION OF LEHIGH VALLEY CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT, Move Will Weaken Region for “Someone’s Political Gain”

The Community Action Committee of theLehighValleyhastily issued a statement tonight criticizing the proposed “disintegration” of theLehighValley’s political power and cultural, social and economic unity by a state commission with either an errant understanding of theLehighValley, a disregard for the region or some sinister political agenda.  The statement by CACLV Board President Alicia Karner follows in its entirety:  After months of speculation and weeks of rumors, the public finally got to see the latest Congressional redistricting maps done every ten years, as required...

24 Oct

Observations From a Latino Community Organizer

We welcome our Deputy Director, Manuel Ayala to Poverty’s Edge.  Thanks for contributing! Manuel is not foreign to the price of change, diversity and hard work!  During his time with the YMCA he has turned around challenged facilities, created programs, reached fundraising goals and helped in the oversight of the construction of a $13.5 million, 45,000 square foot facility. I’m a displaced Boricua from Chicago, Humboldt Park to be exact.  Humboldt Park is a Chicago barrio which has the highest concentration of...

30 Sep

Hunger Study Generates Passionate Remarks From Jennings

Yesterday, September 29th, Second Harvest Food Bank held a press conference to announce the results of the hunger study conducted in the beginning of the year (Click here to view our Executive Summary).   Speakers at the press briefing included Barbara Bigelow, Chair of the Advisory Board of Second Harvest, Elisa Zaehringer, Planner, CACLV, Alan Jennings, Executive Director of CACLV, Terry Ryan-Mitlyng, Steering Committee Chair of Christ Church Lowhill...

30 Sep

PRESS RELEASE: SUSTAINED UNEMPLOYMENT CAUSING PEOPLE TO SEEK FOOD ASSISTANCE FOR FIRST TIME

                            Second Harvest Survey Details Problems Faced by People Seeking Help at Emergency Food Assistance Sites             Since “The Great Recession” began in 2007, 76% of those seeking assistance at food pantries and meal centers commonly called “soup kitchens” sought help for the first time.  The Second Harvest Food Bank of LehighValley and Northeast Pennsylvania released the results of a survey of 500 people who have sought assistance at a press briefing today.  The briefing took place at the warehouse...

26 Sep

Harrisburg Rally to Restore HEMAP: Mortgage Aid in PA Ends on September 30

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Sponsored by the PA Save Our Homes Coalition, made up of housing, labor and religious groups from around the state.  www.PASaveOurHomes.org Join the cause at the Harrisburg Rally to restore HEMAP, a program which has helped many to save their home.   Date: 9/27/2011 Time: 1:00 P.M. Location: Capitol Rotunda, Harrisburg, PA Contact:  John Dodds, Philadelphia Unemployment Project 267-975-4706 or Cindy Daley,  Housing Alliance of PA 1-717-909-2006 With the September 30 conclusion of the federal Emergency Homeowner Loan Program (EHLP), Pennsylvania homeowners will have no direct mortgage...

07 Sep

We Are Participating in Hunger Action Month, And You Can, Too

You cannot recognize the face of hunger because it hides from you.  It does not discriminate against age, gender, creed, educational attainment, or hometown.  Right here in the Lehigh Valley and Northeast Pennsylvania, more than 63,000 people struggle with hunger each month. That’s a 27% increase over the past three years.  The problem is closer than you think, but so is the solution.  September is Hunger Action Month and the Second Harvest Food...

24 Jun

Save the Allentown Boxing Gym

State Boxing Champion, Hector Bayanilla The Allentown Boxing Gym is a program that provides a safe and fun environment for local youth, keeping them off the streets, out of trouble, and excited about using their energy and free time to work toward personal goals. The Boxing Program has taken many of its young boxers to highly regarded tournaments in the past few months. The team took second place at the Golden Gloves competition where 6 out of...

26 May

Featured Valley Nonprofit

The following article was submitted to the Express Times and featured in their online Non-Profit Spotlight. It will be printed next Tuesday, May 31, so make sure to keep an eye out! CACLV – Strengthening the Resolve of People to Succeed Improve the quality of life in the LehighValley by building a community in which all people have access to economic opportunity, the ability to pursue that opportunity, and a voice in the decisions that affect their lives....

02 May

Lehigh Valley Residents Speak Out On Proposed State Budget

  Last Thursday, April 28th, the Lehigh Valley held a “Forum to Promote the General Welfare,” a public forum during which residents spoke directly with four PA State Representatives, shared their stories, and expressed their concerns over Gov. Tom Corbett’s proposed state budget.  In attendance were State Reps Doug Reichley, Steve Samuelson, Bob Freeman, and Joe Brennan. In spite of tornado warnings and pouring down rain, the event was standing room only as over 120...

14 Apr

Developing Microbusinesses Strengthens Communities

Special thanks to Ellen Larmer, Director of the Community Action Development Corporation of Bethlehem, for this op-ed piece that was featured in the Morning Call. Back in the 1960s, when I was a kid, fathers went to work. That is, it seemed, every father except mine. He called himself a self-employed marketing consultant and he worked from home. Nobody understood why my dad didn’t go to a job each day. I guess if you didn’t work for somebody...

21 Mar

Where Are Our Priorities?

Tom Ulrich of We the People of the Lehigh Valley organized a “Take Back Democracy” rally in West Bethlehem on Saturday, March 19, 2011. At least 50 Lehigh Valley residents gathered to show support for a responsible budget in Harrisburg that will foster economic growth and education. Elisa Zaehringer, Advocacy Coordinator, spoke on behalf of Community Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley. Here are her remarks: Common Good is under attack on multiple fronts. First, let’s...

18 Mar

Three More Weeks of Uncertainty

When the first short-term funding stopgap was passed two weeks ago to keep the federal government running in the midst of ongoing budget negotiations, we tried to see the positive side: two more weeks for the divided Congress to argue over what and how much to cut meant two more weeks for us to try to convince our representatives to consider the detrimental impact that excessive cuts would have on communities all over the country.  It is March 18....

08 Mar

Who can defend me now? – Y Ahora quien podrá defenderme?

Thanks to Esther Guzman, Program Manager of the West Ward Neighborhood Partnership, for submitting this post! We have a fictional hero called el Chapulín Colorado who dresses up like Superman, but does not have super powers. His favorite phrase is, “Y ¿Ahora Quién Podra Defenderme?” to which he answers, “el Chapulín Colorado.”   If you have had an opportunity to watch his program you’ll know that he does not depend on super powers to help people, but rather on his instincts, his...

28 Feb

ARRA Supported Program Creates and Saves Nearly 100 Local Jobs

Thanks to Kim Stout, Business Development Coordinator of Community Action Development Corporation of Bethlehem, for this post! In order to cope with the emerging needs of small businesses in Lehigh and Northampton counties, CACLV and Lehigh Valley SCORE partnered in 2010 in hopes of keeping small businesses in the Lehigh Valley open while maintaining the jobs that go with them.  A joint effort created the Small Business Assistance Program.  The Small Business Assistance Program...

18 Feb

Save Community Action

Poverty is everyone’s problem.  Some try to act like poverty is just a problem for poor people.  But wasted labor affects us all.  Ghettos affect us all.  Jails affect us all.  Surely you see that.  If you don’t, keep reading.  The Community Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley has been targeted for deep, deep federal budget cuts. (In case you missed it, I responded to these cuts in a post earlier this week.) This is the...

15 Feb

Mr. President, We Don’t Appreciate the Irony

Mr. President, in the Shakespearean tragedy that is politics in this century, you have introduced irony.  You have abandoned the network of anti-poverty programs that were the vehicle for the implementation of the War on Poverty, spawned by the same civil rights movement that kicked open the doors that were closed to so many.  Among those doors were the doors to the White House into which you so gallantly strode.  It was an honor to be seated near to the...

24 Jan

The End of the Fairness Doctrine and the Rise of Meanness

When I started doing this work in December, 1980, the Federal Communication Commission had a very powerful tool for regulating comment on the airwaves called the Fairness Doctrine.  The rationale was that nobody can own the airwaves and, therefore, those airwaves are in the public domain.  An FCC issuing licenses to use those airwaves has, it was argued, the right to insist on, in exchange for those licenses, an obligation to be truly “fair and balanced.”  So, if opinion was...

20 Jan

Roots: Why we do what we do

While working on a grant application to help fund Second Harvest Food Bank’s advocacy efforts, a question about key activities reminded me yet again why we do what we do.  The application asked what our expected outcomes are and what key activities will help us attain those outcomes.  The Food Bank, of course, exists to serve people who have difficulty obtaining an adequate amount of food for themselves and their families.  This is the direct service...

17 Jan

On King, Cynicism, and the Challenge

The color issue has moved me since I was a kid. One of my heroes was Frank Robinson, an outfielder with the Baltimore Orioles, my favorite team (I was born in Hagerstown, Maryland). I never understood why guys that looked like my father were beating up guys who looked like my hero just because of their skin color. It made me mad as hell. Added to the fact that I was a middle child (nothing is fair to a middle...

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