Nov. 30, 2015
Dear SICM Friend,
Rev. Phil writes piece for Times Union
Yield Ideas to Fight Hunger.
Every Thanksgiving, the media are filled with stories of generosity toward those in need in this season. And we are a generous people. The Equinox Thanksgiving meal program serves many in Albany and beyond, one of the largest around. The Concerned for the Hungry Thanksgiving program serves thousands in one county alone. There are many more stories of sharing at this time. Many of us are reminded that this is the season to give. I am also reminded of the hope for another gift — the recommendations and report of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Anti-Hunger Task Force. To help hungry people in our communities means the involvement not only of caring individuals but also the public sector; namely, how we set public policies. The Anti-Hunger Task Force was formed in December 2013 and was greeted with enthusiasm. According to the release at the time, the task force would develop strategies to
• “Maximize resources to fight hunger in New York state by increasing participation in federally funded programs like SNAP, school breakfast and school lunch;
• “Use public/private partnerships to increase outreach and leverage the power of government, businesses, and the nonprofit sectors working together” and
• “Improve access to quality, healthy food through the use of NY farm products and locally produced goods to combat hunger while creating jobs and supporting economic development.”
The task force was composed of nearly 30 members from across the state and key members of the governor’s cabinet. I crossed paths with a number of them at various times and in meetings, and they had a number of meetings. Given the depth and experiences they brought, I am confident they have produced a range of useful recommendations. When the National Commission on Hunger came into Albany in May, I thought that might be the time for this Anti-Hunger Task Force to report. However, the commission came and went and there was no report at that time from the task force. I am simply puzzled why this task force has not given recommendations. The original mandate references the challenge of hunger and poverty in New York since the Great Recession of 2008. While some areas are improved, as many who work every day in hunger-fighting activities have begun to see, other areas are not. In Schenectady, for example, we have still too many children who live in child poverty (more than half, by the latest census). The economic recovery is uneven throughout the state. There is, of course, the danger for every task force and commission that the recommendations just “sit on the shelf.” But I doubt it with this task force. I hope that our community and state can have the gift of the governor’s Anti-Hunger Task Force’s report and recommendations so we can go further in this state to work toward that day when no child will go to bed hungry.
November 24, 2015
Last night the Schenectady Damien Center experienced a fire, which was responded to quickly by the Schenectady Fire Department. No one was in the building at the time.
The building is in good shape, but has experienced smoke and water damage, which we anticipate being remedied over the next few weeks. The fire was electrical and contained on the second floor.
Thus, we will be closing the Schenectady Damien Center from now through the month of December and will reopen in January.
Please let members know to call Barb at 518-449-7119 x108 or Lindsey at 518-449-7119 x111 as we will work to ensure our members who use the Schenectady Damien Center have services as well as transportation to the Albany Damien Center during this time.
Our many thanks to the Schenectady Fire Department for their quick response, which saved the building. More information will be provided on our website at www.AlbanyDamienCenter.org as we have it.
Perry Junjulas, Executive Director