Monday, November 23, 2009

A letter to the editor

Anne Wachtel, our social work intern at Just Harvest, submitted this letter to the editor which appeared on Friday, November 20th, 2009 in the editorial section of the Post-Gazette.

A mayor for them

Under Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, Pittsburgh has gained much media attention as "America's most livable city." He also claims to have made great strides in Pittsburgh's economic growth. If we listened only to him, Pittsburgh might seem to be a paradise. But this is not the case. Regardless of these so-called strides, we have thousands of residents in dire poverty. Even basic human necessities such as food are not a sure thing in "America's most livable city."

As a social work intern at Just Harvest, a South Side-based nonprofit that helps people apply for food stamps, I have seen this firsthand. Our applications for food stamps have more than doubled in the past year. According to the Department of Public Welfare, in September, Allegheny County food stamp participation went up for the 26th consecutive month. In Allegheny County alone, more than 134,000 people rely on food stamps to fill their pantries and refrigerators.

I challenge you, Mr. Ravenstahl, to serve your first full term as mayor for these people. Serve for the residents who cannot afford to pay for food and housing in the country's "most livable city." Serve for the elderly, the single mothers, the working families who must decide between food and rent. Serve for the homeless who can afford neither. You have claimed your dedication to Pittsburgh. Now, prove your dedication to Pittsburgh's most important resource: its residents.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Guest Blog: "Robbing Peter?" by Ray Murphy

How Pennsylvania's largest city spends its extra CDBG (Community Development Block Grant) money sets a bad example for how Pittsburgh City Council spends ours. Click here to check out former Just Harvest intern Ray Murphy's blog post, "Robbing Peter?", which discusses the controversial decision in Philadelphia to spend federal anti-poverty money on non-direct assistance to people struggling in the economy.

And visit our website at for more information about joining Just Harvest at the Pittsburgh City Council Budget Hearing on November 30th, to ask City Council for funding from the CDBG to expand the Pittsburgh Hunger Fund in the 2010 City Budget, and prioritize safety net initiatives.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Take Action!

Last week, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) introduced legislation that would improve young children’s access to nutritious meals in child care centers, family child care homes, and Head Start and Early Head Start programs. Many children are spending more hours in care as their parents need to work more and more hours to make ends meet. This bill will help to ensure that they will get nutritious food while away from home. Ask Senators Specter and Casey to co-sponsor the Access to Nutritious Meals for Young Children Act of 2009 (S. 2749) today! Congress will be working on these and other Childhood Nutrition bills over the next six months.

Click here for more details and a link to send an email to your Senators from the National Women’s Law Center.