Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Nearly 30,000 Lehigh Valley Children Are Hungry

It's been a tough year for me physically. A troublesome Achilles tendon forced a 2-month layoff this Winter. After building myself back to where I was able to ride my bike to work, for just one week, I pulled my back installing a new air conditioner. Another six weeks off. Now that it is 10,000 degrees outside, I can finally return to "training," which at this time of year mostly consists of short walks, late at night or early in the morning.

Yesterday, while hoofing it up Main Street at around 7:30 AM, I was shocked by the number of people lined up at the Nazareth Food Bank, waiting for it to open. At least thirty people were patiently waiting. As I continued up the hill, three more people made their way down with little food carts.

One of them is my next door neighbor.

Lehigh County Exec candidate Scott Ott complained last year about spending federal grant money to feed 85 year old women. Although I respect his desire to reduce the federal deficit, he's not the one starving to death.

In my post about that topic, several readers accused me of hyperbole, although that is pretty much what Ott said. But others among you flatly deny that hunger is a problem.

If that were true, there would be no line at the Nazareth Food Bank.

Now I don't really give a shit about the urbanistas who want little City gardens for their Summer salads. But I do care about people who are hungry. I imagine that even Scott Ott cares, too. According to a 2011  FeedAmerica report, "food insecurity" affected 34,670 people in Northampton County and 45,190 people in Lehigh County. Nearly 30,000 of these were children.

If you would like to find a food bank in your area, you can enter your zip code in the Second Harvest webpage. 

37 comments:

Anonymous said...

I can believe the numbers reported. Those lucky enough to have a job aren't seeing raises that keep up with the rising cost of... everything. Many haven't seen a raise in pay for years. After spending money to pay basic bills such as rent, utilities, gasoline, etc., there is little left for food. Food of quality, that is. While we're bombarded with Public Service Announcements about eating healthy it is the healthy foods that are the most expensive and least affordable. Children are fed McDonalds and unhealthy boxed meals, such as macaroni & cheese, because it's cheaper than buying real meat and vegetables.
What surprises me is that the Nazareth Food Bank has food available. I've read a number of stories that food banks are often in need of donations and don't have food available because those who used to donate can no longer afford to do so.

Bill said...

Bernie,

In Lehigh County, planning on how money that may go into these programs (and most other Human Service Programs) through the Human Services Block Grant are going through something called the Planning Team.

This planning team excludes external stakeholder groups,and from what I can tell mostly consists of County employees and lay people. External stakeholder groups familiar with how social services are provided have been excluded, despite the DPW application that calls for their participation. Additionally, even though this team will be making key decisions on how social service programming will be measured and allocated, you or I or anyone else who are mere interested citizens are not permitted to attend or know what has transpired.

I am being told in writing that Lehigh County does not believe that this meeting falls under the Sunshine Act and so public business will be conducted in secrecy, out of the eyes of the public. From what I can see, other counties have come to the opposite conclusion and are adhering to the Sunshine Act. So much for open Government.

Contact me if you want the details.

Bill

Anonymous said...

Check out this related article.

http://www.realclearmarkets.com/articles/2013/07/10/the_astonishing_collapse_of_work_in_america_100465.html

Scott Armstrong

Bill said...

Scott,

This article refers to a study that shows that "high skill" jobs are decreasing, which means that workers are taking lower skill, lower paid work on down the skill level continuum and then those at the bottom get pushed out. It seems to fit with some of the data in your article as well.

http://therationalpessimist.com/tag/the-great-reversal-in-the-demand-for-skill-and-cognitive-tasks/

Anonymous said...

Bernie, you've supported almost every politician and policy that has lead to our prolonged economic mess and the lengthening of that line. Perhaps it's time for a different approach. You champion politicians and policies that create increased misery and then complain that we're not doing enough for those in misery. Orwell would proud of your double-speak. You who throw inefficient and insidious programs at the poor (using others' money to satisfy your need to give charity, of course) are responsible for the misery. Why should taxpayers let those who've caused poverty waste still more money to address the problem they've caused. Scott Ott is a good family man and a guy of tremendous personal character. No, he hasn't gotten bombed and nearly killed his spouse in front of the children. No, he hasn't used anti-Semitic slurs. No, he hasn't engaged prostitutes and covered up shady city financial dealings.

That's why he's not Bernie's type of guy. Seriously flawed himself, Bernie prefers those politicians who make him feel better about his own indiscretions. Good for one's psyche. Not good politics or policy.

Bernie pontificating on morality is funnier than the whole West Easton saga. Seriously.

Anonymous said...

The economic health of our nation is FAR worse than depicted in the agenda-driven media. Just ask REAL people on the street.

The employment situation is the worst it's been in many years. the concept of "career" is over. Inflation of the costs for daily necessities is rampant. Tax increases are being disguised as "fees." Attendance at ticketed entertainment and sporting events is way down.

More people receive government assistance than ever before. Safety nets, like Social Security, are near collapse.

People who actually pay for heath insurance are seeing their premiums rise 20-30%.

Yes, America has been "fundamentally changed," and relief is at least 3 years away, if at all.

Anonymous said...

The employment situation is the worst it's been in many years.

Agreed. The government loves to play with the numbers. People who have used up their unemployment benefits are dropped from the accounting and are no longer counted as one of the unemployed. We'll probably see the "official" unemployment percentage continue to decline ever so slightly only because of the people who have come to end of their benefits.

Few realize the inflation rate is also skewed. The government picks and chooses what sectors (fuel, food, housing, etc.) to use in figuring inflation. They'll omit the worst sectors to give the appearance that inflation isn't out of control.

We can buy less because the U.S. Dollar is worth less. Meanwhile, corporations increase prices to maintain their desired percentage of profit over their costs to produce and deliver product.

Anonymous said...

Most American adults no longer go to work each day. The previous comment about the loss of career aspirations are painfully true. The only lowering in the unemployment rate is a result of the dropping participation rate, people giving up and falling off the stats after exhausting benefits. We're creating a greater dependency class that includes many who uses to be industrious contributors. It's all about jobs. Jobs will cure a host of our ills. Artificial attempts to create them haven't worked. Perhaps we're at our end and the new new is a shared misery. No easy answers but the current program isn't working.

Bernie O'Hare said...

6:46, So as i understand it, Scott Ott would shut down public support to ridiculous programs like food banks, and dudes like Ron Angle are too liberal. Got it.

Anonymous said...

I always tell people if you want to see poor and hungry children, you don't need to go to Africa, we have tons right here in Allentown, PA. And don't get me started on the homeless situation we supposedly don't have....

Alfonso Todd

Anonymous said...

poor people are old news - besides the JG/TM saga is much more interestin

Resident of Allentown said...

Say what you like, Things have really gone steadily downhill since Reagen demonized the unions.

Anonymous said...

Elections have consequences. America has voted for the current state of affairs twice.

Anonymous said...

what a pathetic piece from a pathetic puke with a penchant for tear-jerking

shared misery is about right and it IS what you constantly campaign for

fuck you

Anonymous said...

Liberal propaganda. Total fiction.

Anonymous said...

Bernie -

Thank you for looking into (what you've identified as) the Valley-Wide hunger problem and identifying the real culprit - Scott Ott.

Here I thought it might be related to a federal government that has wasted trillions of dollars on a failed war on poverty. Or school programs that have expanded from lunch to breakfast and sometimes dinner, yet have somehow resulted in a greater childhood obesity problem than ever. Or a First Lady who is somehow such an expert on nutrition that she has designed school lunch menus that kids won't eat.

I'm glad that it's none of those reasons and it's all because of a $25,000 grant that was APPROVED and ultimately went to pad a local non-profit's already generous balance sheet.

Is this the best the Muller camp can come up with? Why do they feel the need to smear their opponent, instead of talking positively about their own candidate and his record?

Peter J. Cochran said...

Well , no one would want to see a child not have enough food he in this valley.However I have front line knowledge of properties that have BIG SCREEN TV and other cell phone crap and they will be in line at the hand outs. Just so you know Brenie ,I an cheaper than Mr Ott. We do not have an air conditioned house,you get one at the housing author though and WE do not have HBO or a BIG SCREEN, and I pay for our phones, school lunch and sports at school. Mr.Ott is correct get the recipients to use their funds for the proper priority.

Anonymous said...

Bill,

Not sure you read the same article.


This is from the link I posted, it explains the current employment picture.

Scott Armstrong

Anonymous said...

Sorry, here is the copy.

When we look at these numbers, we get a very different picture of labor market conditions in America. By these numbers, there has been no "recovery" whatever in the jobs market since the Great Recession. Quite the contrary: the employment ratio today appears to be stuck at the same awful level recorded in early 2010-the worst level for more than a generation.

Today just under 12 million men and women are officially classified as unemployed, roughly twice as many as in early 2000. But if our national employment ratio today were as high as in early 2000, when this measure reached its zenith, about 15 million more Americans would be working today. And remember: over 10 million of today's men and women with jobs are working fewer hours than they want to-well over twice as many as in early 2000. When we look at the jobs problem this way, we see it is vastly bigger than the official unemployment rate implies.

And bad as all of this sounds, the true situation is if possible even worse-for the civilian employment ratio conflate trends for men and women. Broadly speaking, paid employment has been on the rise for women ever since Washington started keeping detailed numbers on the phenomenon back in the late 1940s-a reflection, and in turn a driver, of the big changes in the status of women underway in the postwar era. When we look at the employment ratio for men alone over the postwar era, we witness a radical, almost gut-wrenching drop.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Thank you for looking into (what you've identified as) the Valley-Wide hunger problem and identifying the real culprit - Scott Ott."

He is stuck with his own words, and votes. He refused to vote for a program that would feed the hungry bc we owe too much money to the Commies. If hat is the kind of person you want as Lehigh County Executive, by all means vote for him.

The two of you can have a prayer meeting at the local cemetery when seniors start dropping over.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Liberal propaganda. Total fiction."

I'm really more of an independent than liberal or conservative. You need to talk to you clergy. It is one thing to say that the private sector should deal with poverty, as Ott seems to think. It is quite another to deny that there is a problem. Your head is in the sand.

Peter J. Cochran said...

Private sector can do a real service as not only money but brains to distribute.Sorry for last typo the phone and no glasses ,bad combo for editing. Point being the Scott is a realest and you Bernie already know we don't fix problems by throwing money at it!SOMEBODY has to have a vision and anticipation of problems and obstructions. Wish he was here in this county/ or City of Easton.

Anonymous said...

Ron Angle would swindle the starvings' last few shekels, call them kikes (if applicable - and even if not) and have them thrown in debtors prison, only to be released to slop his pigs if they agree not to steal the pigs' food. He's a true humanitarian and a stark contrast in this regard to Scott Ott.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Interesting how all these personal attacks at me or even Ron Angle are spawned by my simple desire to hold Scott Ott accountable for his own words.

Peter J.Cochran said...

Bernie, when I went off to the U.S.Marine Corps 42 yrs.ago 12 July ,it was then that I realized I was a fortunate being, having TWO PARENTS that loved me and a house with an electric garage door opener !Most of my constituents during the Vietnam War in the INFANTRY were in the Marines because some judge said go away or go to jail.Not the same today ,I assure you!Now you and many here can not relate to this at all ,and have no idea what this was like,but I also assure you life is easier in the housing authority in Allentown/Lehigh County ,that it is or was at on hill 936.or in the artillery being sniped at by Viet- Cong--God bless those that had made this landscape home ,civilians have no idea what soldiers, sailors and Marines have put up with so that some many sorry asses can get a benefit /entitlement without any skin in the game!!Bullshit.

Anonymous said...

Free loaders looking for a handout. Cut the scam artists off!!
VOTE OTT.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Yeah, those 85 yo women are just scammers.

Peter J. Cochran said...

9;31 - you are correct! However if you can't support YOURSELF you don't deserve to procreate and cause working class people to pay your freight. If your poor don't generate more! I can live on welfare and stamps and SAVE money.Poor people must like it that way or they would not consistently revolve in the same track. Scott Ott is a realest .He thinks that the working class guy that pays his bills and mortgage on time and taxes to educate his children should not pay for the dredges, deadbeats that move in here from N.J. and Reading

Bernie O'Hare said...

Peter, Don't know too many 85 yo grannies who are procreating.

Anonymous said...

Agree with P.C. 100%.
The so called poor like it that way. I should listen to those phony liberal clergy? Hungry in the USA is a myth. Get a job. Ott for President!

Bernie O'Hare said...

If you don't want to listen to anyone, even your own clergy, then it's pretty obvious your mind must be closed.

Peter J.Cochran said...

Bernie, before I go to sleep shortly as I go to WORK to pay taxes, early Am ,Let me add this,My grip with the NAACP although I am a member, is that they should be mentoring the young on how NOT TO BE POOR. They should be showing the track example how female o1 gets impregnated and then she can't find work or get it to gather because she is 16 ,well no shit!Problem is the cycle started here, Boyfriend has no job and pays no child support and the gets arrested and put in jail,that costs tax payers $69.00 a day to hold him or more ,hell we can go to college on this rate.But the whole thing goes down the crapper for the taxpayer again.

Peter J.Cochran said...

Bernie , 85, HELL my GRANDMOTHER WAS 103 SHE PAID HER OWN WAY and received no new income since 1957,but she paid here own way . Stop drawing to one case of a 85 yr old.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I am referring specifically to the example used by Scott Ott.

Anonymous said...

There are people who work full time that still don't make enough. How about instead of minimum wage, companies like Walmart pay a living wage. Im tired of subsidizing billion dollar corporations employees.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Companies like Wal-Mart or Target pay more than you might think, bt it is still low. Target pays sales floor people $8.32 per hour. Walmart pays a little more.

These wages are ok for a kid going thru college, but are not enough to support a family. But LC Comm'rs were considering a TIF subsidy that would draw a target.

They got that one right.

Anonymous said...

yet another woe is me sob piece by bo the great champion of enablers

second harvest is a rip off they charge donors a stocking fee. that's why the bsa doesn't deal with them anymore