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.

09 Oct

CACLV: Our Past, Present, and Future (Part Two 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 Present This year, we are commemorating CACLV’s 50th anniversary. As I mentioned in last week’s post, the organization was formed in 1965 to “eliminate the paradox of poverty in the midst of plenty.” Despite our best efforts, millions of carefully invested dollars, and an iron will, poverty persists in the...

30 Oct

Personal growth through the realm of poverty

By: Delia Marrero I have grown as a person living in poverty, watching a system that creates a cycle of dependency with very few passages for escape. This system promotes stereotypes and generalizations. The conditions that are associated with poverty vary. It is set up in such a manner that children living in poverty receive a second-rate education based on their geographic location and eating sub-standard meals with little or no nutritional value. Neighborhoods lack resources, education rates are low and escape...

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...

05 Jun

Audio: June 6th on WDIY’s Lehigh Valley Discourse: Lincoln Leadership Academy at 6 PM

     Tomorrow morning, the Lincoln Leadership Academy, a charter school founded by former public school principal Sandra Figueroa, will hold its first-ever commencement exercises on Thursday morning.  Tomorrow evening at 6 PM, Ms. Figueroa will be my guest on Lehigh Valley Discourse.  She will be joined by two of her graduates, Karina Lovera and Abraham Delacruz. Lincoln Leadership Academy’s students are almost exclusively Latino, many attending to seek an alternative to urban public schools.  Charter schools are...

28 Mar

United Way Forum on The State Budget: Alan Jennings Offers Comments on the Governor’s Proposed Budget

The United Way held a forum on the state budget today. CACLV Executive Director Alan Jennings was one of the panelists who offered comments on the governor’s proposed budget. His comments are posted below. For more information on the state budget, we suggest you go to http://pennbpc.org/2013-14-budget. You know, when you look down through history at those who inspire us, those we quote, those to whom we erect statues, it is always those who stand in...

07 Feb

Audio: February 7th on WDIY’s Lehigh Valley Discourse: Alan Jennings Talks with former leader of the “Nuns on the Bus” Sister Simone Campbell and Maryann Haytmanek, director of the NCC’s New Choice program

    Sister Simone Campbell was the leader of the “Nuns on the Bus,” the group of activist Roman Catholic nuns who followed U.S. House Budget Committee Chairman and vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan on his election-year campaign stops, challenging his proposal to dramatically reduce spending for anti-poverty programs while cutting taxes for Americans in the highest income brackets.  She is the executive director of NETWORK and, in that position, has challenged America as well as church...

11 Oct

October 11th On WDIY’s Lehigh Valley Discourse: Discussing Children’s issues with Marci Ronald and Gregg Dowty.

If, indeed, children are our future, as so many like to say, what might that future look like, given the many challenges our children face: declining resources for education, for intervention when they are victimized by predators, for nutrition programs, limited ability of their parents to save money for their educations or to leave something behind for them, neighborhoods that are unsafe and so much more.  With an election just a few weeks away, the public policy debate...

23 Aug

Neighborliness – a Nation that Cares

We welcome back Janet Ney, former Associate Executive Director of CACLV.  Janet currently serves as the Coordinator of Advocacy and Outreach for the Second Harvest Food Bank  of Lehigh Valley and Northeast Pennsylvania. My sixth grade teacher used to accuse (yes, accuse) us of being rugged individualists when we failed to do what was best for the community.  She did not tolerate those who went their own way with no regard for...

08 Aug

THANKS TO THE NEW MAJORITY ON LEHIGH COUNTY’S BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS, THE AGENDA IS GETTING CLEARER

The new majority on the Lehigh County Board of Commissioners wants to kill the decades-long campaign to extend critical public health services to all residents in our two counties.  I won’t go into a long account of the many merits of making sure people have access to immunizations, that restaurants be inspected so we are reasonably safe from cutting corners that can lead to ugly little diseases like salmonella or even being prepared for a terrorist attack on, say, our...

23 Mar

It Was Like Riding in the Victory Parade for a Basketball Championship. . .

We welcome Terry Pernsley to Poverty’s Edge.  Terry is a warehouse worker/driver at Second Harvest Food Bank.  Twice a month he works shoulder to shoulder with the many volunteers who assist with packing bags for Backpack Buddies and Boxes for the food bank’s senior program.  He enjoys giving back to the community through his work and his own volunteer efforts. It Was Like Riding in the Victory Parade for a Basketball Championship. . . Sunday, March 18, dawned foggy and gray. ...

21 Mar

Save the Date: Lehigh Valley Fair Budget Coalition to Hold a Budget Forum

The Lehigh Valley Fair Budget Coalition, a group of non-profits and local government organizations, will hold a Legislative Forum in the 6th floor conference room of Northampton Community College’s Fowler Family Southside Center on East Third Street in Bethlehem on Friday, April 13, at 1:00 PM.   A panel of elected officials will listen and respond to real stories from Lehigh Valley residents about how the proposed cuts will impact their lives.  Governor Corbett’s proposed budget for 2012-2013 turns its back on Pennsylvania’s...

02 Mar

The White Shirt: Is Moral Fiber and Character Defined By a Specific Article of Clothing?

We welcome Dolores Singletary, Director of the Work Ready program to Poverty’s Edge.   Dolores has been serving as the Director of the Work Ready program since 2008 and has worked for CACLV since 2005.   Thank you for contributing! Some years ago I worked in a very busy environment that involved multiple retail establishments and property management.  This particular business had a very high volume of public traffic and the environment in general was hectic and chaotic. One of the part-time employees of...

27 Feb

LVRC’s Annual “State of the Valley” Report Released: Alan Jennings Offers The Closing Comments

 On Wednesday, February 15, RenewLV and the Lehigh Valley Research Consortium teamed up to release LVRC’s annual “State of the Valley” report.  The report offered a sobering assessment of the region that should surprise few people.  The report is full of very interesting data.  Alan Jennings offered the closing comments, imploring the nearly 200 community leaders in attendance to pursue solutions with a sense of urgency.  Many in attendance...

17 Feb

You shouldn’t be lifting those heavy boxes by yourself, dear!

We welcome Lindsay Deemer, Projects Coordinator at Second Harvest Food Bank to Poverty’s Edge.  Lindsay oversees the packing and distribution of nearly 1900 boxes of food that are given to low-income seniors throughout our region each month. She has the opportunity each month to interact with many interesting people, both the recipients and the volunteers who assist with preparing the boxes.  Thanks for sharing your experience!  “You shouldn’t be lifting those heavy boxes by yourself, dear!” This is what I typically hear...

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...

07 Feb

A Tale of a Safety Net in Jeopardy

We welcome Janet Ney, former Associate Executive Director of CACLV.  For over 28 years, Janet has enjoyed working in a variety of positions and currently she serves as the Coordinator of Advocacy and Outreach for the Second Harvest Food Bank of Lehigh Valley and Northeast Pennsylvania.  Janet is a founding member of the Pennsylvania Association of Regional Food Banks, (now called Hunger-Free Pennsylvania), serving at its President for two terms. In the past, she was a longtime member of the Board...

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...

11 Jan

“Passed on the Information Highway”

We welcome Eric Ward to Poverty’s Edge.  Eric is the Family Resource Coordinator AmeriCorps VISTA at the Sixth Street Shelter. He graduated from Kutztown University in May of ’10 with a bachelor’s in Psychology. He has provided assistance to the parents and children at the shelter by offering classes and workshops as well as assisting with making resumes, applying for jobs, and searching for apartments.  Thanks for contributing! I remember, very briefly, when I was in high school, looking for...

22 Dec

Starting Our Own Food Revolution

 We welcome Ann McManus, director of Second Harvest Food Bank of Lehigh Valley and Northeast Pennsylvania to Poverty’s Edge.  Ann is an ardent supporter of access to fresh food. She has been director of Second Harvest Food Bank since 1999.  Thanks for contributing!  Have you ever had a fresh apple? What a silly question, and yet, many children who live in our service area may not have access to fresh fruits and vegetables. This is especially until now, true if...

18 Nov

No Child Left Behind?

We welcome back Elisa Zaehringer to Poverty’s Edge, Elisa is one of the Planners at CACLV and former Advocacy and Outreach Coordinator for the Second Harvest Food Bank of the Lehigh Valley and Northeast Pennsylvania.  Thanks for the post! A perfect storm formed by the combination of a prolonged recession, a national unemployment rate stuck at nine percent, and rising food and fuel costs has left an estimated 49 million Americans living with food insecurity.  Second Harvest has seen a 51% increase...

09 Nov

If the hunger and poverty statistics don’t move your heart… maybe their role in child development will change your mind.

We welcome back Esther Y. Guzman, director of the West Ward Neighborhood Partnership. Esther who is not a stranger on Poverty’s Edge was born and raised in Puerto Rico and is the proud mother of two sons,  Angel Luis & Francisco Javier.  Over the years she has been involved in the fight against domestic violence, Puerto Rican and immigration rights and cultural affairs.  She is a certified trainer for “Diversity & Sensitivity” classes.   Esther has been serving as the Director of...

28 Oct

Timing Is Everything For The Nearly 90 Families Waiting For Shelter

We welcome back Chris Cassidy to Poverty’s Edge, Chris is one of the Senior Planners at CACLV.  Thanks for the update on the expansion of Sixth Street Shelter! With nearly 90 families on the waiting list to get in, the timing couldn’t be better to expand the Sixth Street Shelter (SSS). CACLV will partner with Habitat for Humanity and First Presbyterian Church of Allentown for this project, which will enable the SSS to serve 35 more families a year. This all started...

03 Oct

The Face Of Poverty

Thanks to Staci Bell,  of  Sixth Street Shelter,  for submitting this post! For just a moment, close your eyes and clear your mind.  Picture yourself in the heart of the city.  It is nearly dark outside; a cold wind whips up from the river and stings your skin.  You look down to find a small child tugging on the threadbare coat you pulled from a dumpster behind an apartment building earlier in the day...

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...

28 Sep

SECOND HARVEST TO RELEASE RESULTS OF SURVEY OF 500 WHO USE EMERGENCY HUNGER RELIEF

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                    Report Indicates Sustained Unemployment Hurting People Unaccustomed to Needing Help The Second Harvest Food Bank of Lehigh Valley and Northeast Pennsylvania will release the results of a survey of 500 people who have sought assistance from the network of food pantries and “soup kitchens” that serve residents of Lehigh and Northampton counties at a press briefing on Thursday, September 29.  The briefing will take place at 2 PM at the warehouse operated by Second Harvest located at 2045 Harvest...

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...

27 Jun

White House And Congressional Leaders Urged To Reduce Deficit Without Increasing Poverty

A recent Facebook post by Half in Ten: The Campaign to Cut Poverty in Half in Ten Years alerted us to a news release put out by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities announcing a collective letter written by “prominent national religious, civil rights, charitable, economic research, and low-income advocacy organizations” to insist that our policy makers reduce the deficit without increasing poverty. The letter cites the precedent of bipartisan budgets that have accomplished...

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....

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...

28 Jan

Families and homelessness

The increase in homelessness amongst families is one of the most troubling legacies of the Great Recession. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s 2009 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress noted that family homelessness nation-wide was up for the second straight year, increasing by 30% between 2007 and 2009. In the Allentown/Northeast PA Continuum of Care, the Point-in-Time Count facilitated by the Regional Homeless Advisory Board and the Lehigh Valley Conference of Church in cooperation with 64...

24 Jan

Entitlements, Politics, and Debt… Oh My!

CACLV Planner and Poverty’s Edge contributor, Ryan Champlin, also publishes his own personal blog Bethlehem By Foot. (A permanent link can be found in our blogroll) Ryan describes his blog as “an author’s journey as a new resident in a city without a car, along with a critical look at urban design and a commentary on the impacts of those designs.” As a Smart Growth enthusiast with a commitment to sustainability – who has also been known to contribute...

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...

19 Jan

The Passing of an Icon

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=r5SMfHhRROg] One early-Spring day several years ago, I headed to Baltimore to be a part of the excitement that comes with Opening Day.  Being the hero-worshipping dork that I am, I got there early enough to hang around hoping for an autograph.  My main target?  The Iron Man of Baseball, Cal Ripken.  I had a program with Cal featured on the cover and staked out a position in the front row (my seats are in the upper deck, where the regular...

18 Jan

Right Here, Right Now, People are Hungry!

The face of hunger is often difficult to recognize.  As Americans living in one of the wealthiest nations in the world, it is all too easy to think that hunger exists “over there” someplace in the distance.  Yet, the sad reality is that hunger exists in our very own community . . . in our own back yard. As many of you know, the Second Harvest Food Bank of the Lehigh Valley and Northeast Pennsylvania provides food assistance by distributing food...

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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