Friday, September 26, 2008

Food Stamp Numbers on the Rise...

New data from the PA Department of Public Welfare shows as of August 2008, 1,214,802 people receive food stamps in PA. This is the highest total in 13 years, and is the 13th consecutive monthly increase. In Allegheny County, we've reached the highest total since the mid-1990's, and there are 116,972 people who currently receive food stamps.

According to FRAC (The Food Research and Action Center) president, Jim Weill, food costs for low-income families jumped 8.5% from June 2007-June 2008. As it gets harder for families to buy food, the demand for assistance escalates, and we need more from the Food Stamp Program. We need more relief for the increasing number of people who can no longer provide food for their families.

HOW YOU CAN HELP: Just Harvest needs your help labeling our Food Stamp brochures so we can distribute them to places that need them: schools, doctor's offices and other organizations. Join our efforts to help people who can't afford to put food on the table.
Call us at : 412 . 431 . 8960 to volunteer.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Just Harvest's 20th Anniversary Celebration Dinner

Come celebrate our 20th Anniversary Harvest Celebration Dinner with us on Tuesday evening, October 28th, 2008 at the Omni William Penn, Downtown Pittsburgh.

This year, we proudly honor Senator Jim Ferlo with our 6th Seeds of Justice Award for his long time activism and advocacy for the poor and working people.

Our Guest Speaker, Robert Kuttner, is co-editor of The American Prospect magazine, co-founder of the Economic Policy Institute, anchor, journalist, and frequent commentator on economic policy issues. His most recent book, Obama's Challenge: America's Economic Crisis and the Power of a Transformative Presidency, delves into what a President Obama "must do to solve America's economic crisis--the gravest since the Great Depression--and, in the process, become a truly transformative leader." (Chelsea Green Press) For more about Mr. Kuttner, click on his name above to be redirected to his official website; to read his blog, click here.

Tickets cost $45 each or $400 for a table of 10.
Purchase tickets online at : or contact us by phone at : 412 . 431 . 8960 for more information.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Upcoming Events

So many interesting things happening in the next few weeks....

Saturday evening, Sept. 13, 2008 – Club Cafe, Southside
CD Release Party – The Point of Pittsburgh – Happy Birthday to Pittsburgh and all Those who built it -1758- 2008
- featuring Mike Stout and the Human Union, the Newlanders, and Charles McCollester, author and historian who will be there to autograph his book, The Point of Pittsburgh
Doors open @ 6, show @7- tickets $15
Saturday September 20 and Sunday September 21, 2008
Conference - Say No to Torture: “Talking About Torture”
412-371-3607 or for more information
Monday evening, September 22, 2008- 7PM
Epiphany Catholic Church, 1018 Centre Ave (across from Chatham Center)

Labor and Religion Coalition of Western Pa and Just Harvest invite you to:
- Learn about local grassroots labor struggles around the region
- Hear Guest Speaker Steven Greenhouse, New York Times labor reporter, talk about
his award winning book, "The Big Squeeze: Tough Times for the American Worker." Greenhouse will talk about stagnating wages, declining health and pension benefits, the loss of manufacturing jobs and the importance of working-class voters in this fall's elections.
- Discussion will follow
No charge
Friday evening- September 26 -Debate Party
Join Just Harvest, the Consumer Health Coalition and other community organizations
Watch the first presidential debate – on domestic issues.
Shadow Lounge, 5972 Baum Blvd, East Liberty
8 pm- gather and network 9-10:30pm – debate -No charge
Friday, October 17th, 2008
Join Just Harvest at Pittsburgh’s first Sleep-in for the Homeless beginning at 6:30 pm until the morning of Saturday at 6:30 am.
First floor and portico of the City County Building downtown. This is a homeless awareness fundraiser for Community Human Services. Similar to a charity walk, participants are asked to raise a minimum of $25 in support of Community Human Services. To learn more or to register, go to
Just Harvest's 20th Anuual Harvest Celebration Dinner
October 28, 2008
Featuring Guest Speaker, Robert Kuttner, Co-Editor of The American Prospect.
Seeds of Justice Awardee: Senator Jim Ferlo
Dinner and Silent Auction at the Omni William Penn Hotel.
For more information, see

Sunday, September 7, 2008

A Letter to the Editor elicits response from Sen. Arlen Specter

Published on Tuesday, August 26 with the Pittsburgh Post Gazette's Letters to the Editor on the Web.

Tax credit priority
Kudos for your editorial rebuking the Steelers' effort to put the taxpayers on the hook for one-third of the $12 million entertainment complex price tag and the reminder that two of Pittsburgh's major sports franchises have already shared more than $350 million in taxpayer subsidies ("Stage North: The Ampitheater Needs No Public Subsidy," Aug. 19 editorial).

In these hard economic times, we need to prioritize struggling families over sports franchises. What we really need is for the U.S. Senate to pass an expanded child tax credit (S. 3335). Right now hard-working Pennsylvania families with earnings less than $12,050 don't qualify for the
tax credit.

Already this year Sen. Arlen Specter has passed up four chances to help those earning between $8,500 and $12,050 get more from the credit so that parents engaged in back-breaking but noble work in nursing homes, child-care centers, hotels and agricultural fields might have a little extra cash to lighten the load.

In September, the Senate should pass the expanded child tax credit so that more than 91,000 Pennsylvania children would become eligible for the tax credit and another nearly 317,000 children would receive a larger credit. It's long past time for the U.S. Senate to step up to the
plate and go to bat for the children of the hard-working, struggling
low-income families.

Tax Credit Campaign Organizer
Just Harvest
South Side

A representative from Sen. Arlen Specter's office responded on Friday, September 05, 2008.

Specter and taxes
A recent letter by Kristie Weiland calls on Sen. Arlen Specter to support adjustments to the child tax credit that will enable more families to qualify who have little or no income tax liability ("Tax Credit Priority," Aug. 26 letters). Ms. Weiland should be pleased to know that Sen. Specter has been a supporter of efforts to reduce the tax liability of families with children, including legislation that doubled the amount of tax relief that families may qualify for under the child tax credit from $500 up to $1,000 per child.

In her comments on the senator's voting record, Ms. Weiland fails to mention that the specific provision she discusses is part of a much broader package that provides for the extension of expired and expiring tax provisions, including the research and development tax credit, alternative minimum tax relief and incentives for investment in alternative energy production. These provisions are broadly supported but have been held hostage by disagreements over revenue offsets and the length of extensions. The majority leader has chosen to skip the customary committee process and to instead draft a bill in a back room. Sen. Specter has stated his preference to see this package passed with the opportunity for input and amendments from the minority party, without using a mere extension of benefits we already enjoy as an excuse to raise taxes elsewhere, and with longer extensions so that the yearly tax extender fight can be avoided.

When the Senate returns this month, passage of a tax extenders package will be a top priority for Sen. Specter.

Press Sectretary
U.S. Senator Arlen Specter
Washington, D.C.