Archive for September 30, 2013

Capitol All Stars Softball Game

Sponsored by PLS and PCN, the Capitol All Stars Softball game will be held this evening at 5:30PM at Metro Bank Park, City Island, Harrisburg.


Joining together both sides of the aisle and across chamber halls, the softball game directly benefits Feeding Pennsylvania and Hunger Free-Pennsylvania.  This coalition of food security groups cover all 67 counties within the Commonwealth.


Read More on the Capitol All Stars Game Here!

Gleaning at the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank

How the Ancient Practice of Gleaning is Still Getting Food to the Needy

By Margaret Krauss

 ….Seeing Where the Food Goes

Food bank volunteers gleaning on Greenawalt Farms is exactly the kind of local involvement Pennsylvania Rep. Dave Reed has in mind when he talks about addressing poverty in Pennsylvania through his Empowering Opportunities Initiative.

“It’s not like you’re sending your tax dollars to Washington or Harrisburg, hoping something comes back to your community,” Reed said. “You’re actually seeing the people in your community you’re helping. You’re seeing where that food goes.”

Reed, chairman of the House Majority Policy Committee, said direct involvement is one way to make tax dollars go further as budgets continue to tighten.

“I think people are more aware of the people in their communities that are struggling,” he said. “When folks have that awareness they’re a little more conscientious of the decisions they’re making and more willing to help shift resources around to help other folks.”


To read the rest of the article…Click Here

PathWaysPA on Delaware County Community College Meeting with Policy Committee

Last week, PathWays PA participated in the Gateways Out of Poverty Roundtable held at the Delaware County Community College. The conversation was extremely rewarding, especially when we had the opportunity to hear from women who participated directly in the New Choices, New Options and KEYS programs.IMGL8678

As Senior Director of Public Policy and Media Relations at PathWays PA, I was able to share data regarding the needs of families in Delaware County in addition to stories from PathWays PA clients. Among the issues we discussed were topics that would help expand the economy for everyone, including access to education and training, earned sick days, and affordable child care.

Creating family sustaining jobs is critical to promoting economic well-being for all families, and the need for economic security is something we could all agree on at the Roundtable. I am looking forward to continuing conversations with Representative Reed, the House Majority Policy Committee, and all legislators who are concerned with the needs of low-income families in Pennsylvania.

New Choices Career Development Program at Delaware County Community College

IMGL8653Delaware County Community College was pleased to host a productive roundtable discussion with Chairman Reed and members of the House Majority Policy Committee, the college’s Keys Program and New Choices Career Development Program, and Pathways PA, focused on the needs of low income families and individuals in transition.  Chairman Reed spoke eloquently about his personal experience growing up in a family that at times struggled economically and how that has impacted his understanding of what it means to be “poor”. 

As Director of the New Choices Career Development Program I was able to share information about the needs of the individuals we serve who are grappling with job loss, protracted unemployment,  loss of self-esteem and self-worth, feelings of isolation, and a host of other concerns facing participants as they seek employment opportunities and improved economic self-sufficiency.   Although the economy is slowly recovering, job opportunities continue to be limited.  Women in particular often face unique challenges in finding employment that provides family-sustaining wages.  As a result of time spent out of the workforce caring for children or other family members many women have limited education/training or sporadic work experience. 

Committee members were receptive to hearing about the barriers facing the individuals we serve, as well as strategies to support participants in identifying career goals, developing realistic career plans and successfully entering the workforce.  Education is often the key to individuals rising out of entry-level jobs into positions that pay family-sustaining wages, and community colleges are gateways to programs and services that provide specific training and support.

I appreciate the Committee’s willingness to examine the issue of poverty across the state and to seek effective solutions to the challenges facing many Pennsylvanians. 


Sandy Gera
Director, New Choices Career Development Program
Delaware County Community College

Delaware County Community College’s KEYS Program

We at the KEYS Program at Delaware County Community College appreciate the opportunity presented to us last Thursday when we met with Rep. Reed and other legislators to discuss our efforts to assist welfare recipients in transitioning to work.

IMGL8644It is important that we help TANF recipients achieve self- sufficiency and not just secure a job. KEYS  believes that this can best be accomplished by a combination of education and skills training. ‘Job first should not be ‘job only’. To truly be independent of the welfare system, a participant must be on a career path with possibility of advancement. Thank you again for the chance to tell our story.


Susan Bennett
KEYS Program
Delaware County Community College

Urban Institute Live Tweet Session

Last week, the House Majority Policy Committee participated in a live tweet session with various national stakeholders in regards to the current war on poverty.

Other stakeholders included Zach McDade, Susan Popkin, Margery Turner, Austin Nichols, Greg Kaufmann, Scott Winship, MDRC, Jared Bernstein, Elizabeth Kneebone, and Melissa Boteach. 

To read the entire conversation and the policy committee’s responses…Click Here.

Rep. Donna Oberlander on Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank


It was a pleasure to join my colleagues in Duquesne at the Pittsburgh Food Bank.  It was an opportunity to see first hand the lead organization in coordinating the food purchases and deliver/pick-up of food for many of the food pantries in the surrounding 11 counties.  This is a massive operation requiring 100s of volunteers every week, from churchReed082713HungerRoundTablePittsburgh08 groups, rotary clubs, community service groups and hundreds of others.


The tour of the facility provided by Dora Wamsley was informative and enlightening.  She described the food purchase process and the changing technology that allows the freshest, healthiest food options to get out the door to the food banks as quickly as possible.  

After the tour we had a roundtable discussion with some of the other organizations that work hand-in-hand with the Pittsburgh Food Bank.  They brought it home in describing that the hungry do not necessarily match the stereotypical poverty stricken picture often depicted on television.  The hungry may look like the 80 year old woman, recently widowed that has spent her life savings to provide care for her ailing husband or the middle-class family that finds themselves laid-off indefinitely with bills that are now beyond their ability to pay.  Hunger does not reserve itself to the drug-addicted and the lazy.  It touches the single mom working two jobs while Food Bank- Group Shotattending school to provide a better life for her children and young family working hard to make ends meet with a new baby to feed.  These are all people that are helped by the food provided by the generosity of our communities, local food banks, business donations, the Pittsburgh Food Bank and the tax payers.


Through this series of policy tours and hearings the goal is to find real solutions to the continuing epidemic of poverty in this Commonwealth and in this nation. I believe that the information we have heard so far has been helpful in bringing to light a more accurate picture of the scope of issue.  I know that there have also been overarching problems identified and I am hopeful that we will find workable solutions that will help to provide empowerment out of poverty for those desiring it.Food Bank- Stacks of Food


I greatly appreciate the leadership of Policy Chairman, Dave Reed and the work of the legislators and agencies putting these informational meetings together.


-Rep. Donna Oberlander, 63rd Legislative District