Summer shouldn’t mean hunger for our nation’s children

Written by admin on April 15th, 2014

By Kevin Concannon, USDA Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services

As a child, I always looked forward to the carefree joy of summertime. I remember the long days of playing outside at a nearby park until I needed to come home for lunch.  Unfortunately, many of our nation’s children do not experience the simple joys of summer.  In fact, far too many are left worrying where their next breakfast or lunch will come from when schools are dismissed for summer break.

During the school year, about 31 million American children receive school meals through the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program every day. About 21 million of those children receive meals at a discounted rate or for free, based on their family’s income.  When summer rolls around, though, only about 3.5 million of these children participate in USDA’s summer meals programs.

That means millions of eligible low-income children are at risk of going hungry during the summer months. And we know that to thrive and reach their highest potential, children need good nutrition all year long.

USDA’s Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) is working to fill this hunger gap for children who qualify for free and reduced price meals during the school year. The program serves free healthy meals to eligible children ages 18 and under, and is made possible through the efforts of national, state, and local partners, including a cadre of energized volunteers.

While USDA has worked to increase access to summer meals for low-income children for many years, SFSP began receiving priority attention in 2013.  Last summer, USDA employed a new tactic of working with partners to deliver intensive, targeted technical assistance on SFSP in five states.  The result was a historic increase in the number of meals served, nationwide—7 million more than the previous year!  We hope to continue building on last year’s successes with our state and local partners in 2014, and move closer to closing the summer hunger gap.

The key to success this year will be expanding the number of sites open for summer meals. We must spread the word to schools, parks and recreation departments, libraries, and faith and other community organizations across the nation; their participation is critical for the continued success of SFSP. The deadlines to become Summer Food Service Program sponsors vary by State, and begin as early as April 15. Program sponsors oversee and provide meals to summer sites.  In return, USDA, through the States, reimburses program sponsors for the meals served to children.

I’m sure it comes as no surprise when I say that galvanizing hundreds of faith-based groups, civic groups, recreation centers, food banks, schools, other non-profit organizations, and volunteers takes time, effort and commitment on all sides.  For any community that treasures its youth (and I haven’t met one that doesn’t), we must organize now to fight hunger this summer.

If you or your organization is interested in helping us reduce the risk of hunger among our nation’s youth, visit our website,www.summerfood.usda.gov. The summer meals outreach toolkit includes sample outreach plans, templates, customizable flyers, door hangers, letters to parents, examples of site activities, best practices, and more.  State representatives are also available to answer questions and facilitate sponsor enrollment and site registration.

This year, let’s work together to make sure every child in our great nation has a hunger-free summer.

April 26 thousands will rally on Boston Common, calling for “Jobs Not Jails”!

Written by admin on April 15th, 2014
Jobs NOT Jails
End Mass Incarceration, Fund Job Creation
 

April 26th Thousands Will Rally on Boston Common, Calling for Jobs Not Jails

WHAT: On April 26th, an estimated 4,000 voters will gather at the Boston Common Bandstand to call for an end to prison expansion in Massachusetts. The Jobs Not Jails coalition, including over 100 organizations from across the Commonwealth, are demanding that $2 billion be put into creating meaningful, long-term, living wage jobs. The coalition is bringing together organizations of formerly incarcerated people, organized labor, faith-based communities, LGBT organizations and youth groups among others.

WHY: The Patrick Administration estimates that if current criminal justice policies are not changed dramatically, Massachusetts will spend $2 billion in the next seven years to build 10,000 new prison and jail units and $150 million more each year to fill them.

Massachusetts is behind most of the nation on pushing forward criminal justice reforms.  According to a recent report published by MassINC , the incarceration rate in Massachusetts has tripled since the 1980’s and the impact of racism within the Massachusetts system is even worse than in other states.  According to the report, “The most recent data, published in 2005, revealed that incarceration rates for African-Americans in Massachusetts were eight times higher than for white residents. For Latino/a residents, the state’s incarceration rate was six times higher than for whites”.

Here are details of the event

Go to: www.JobsNotJails.org  and  #JobsNotJails for more information
WHEN: Saturday, April 26, 1:00pm – 4:00pm

WHO: Speakers will include: Warren Tolman, candidate for Attorney General; Rev. Paul Robeson Ford, Union Baptist Church; CeCe McdonaldManny Gines, Carpenters’ Local 107.  Musicians will include: Revolutionary Snake Ensemble; Second Line Brass Band; Local Hip Hop artists TBA.

VISUALS: 4,000 people, banners, signs, speakers. musicians

WHERE: Parkman Bandstand, Boston Common

On remembering … and the greatest newspaper on earth – The New York Times – wins photography Pulitzer for images of Boston Marathon bombing survivor’s recovery

Written by admin on April 15th, 2014

We want to remember … we want to honor … we want to mourn together … we want to heal together … People need rituals, people need anniversaries … to re-remember, re-honor, re-mourn and heal, recover. Look around you. There are churches galore, photos of your parents or husband/wife, mementos, talismans. My apartment is filled with sacred statues … not sacred because they depict Jesus or St. Theresa – sacred because they remind me EVERY DAY of my late mom, whom I miss EVERY DAY. Sometimes when I am low, I will pray to her Infant of Prague statue (below) that I have – believe it or not! – in my kitchen. It is huge! When I pray to the statue, I don’t pray: God, please give me strength. I pray: Ma, please give me strength.

The Old Injun Fighter lost his beloved wife of 28 years to adrenal cancer – she died in 11 days. He still has her clogs in his bathroom – sturdy and strong, just like the love of his life was. He has her wrist watch, slender and pretty, on his bureau, next to – touching – his wristwatch. I know he did this on purpose.

You move on, you adapt, your recover, you love again … but the crisis/the passing/the recovery has changed you. NEVER FORGET. We must NEVER FORGET what happened at the Boston Marathon one year ago.    - R. Tirella

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Jeff Bauman rested during occupational therapy at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston less than a month after having his lower legs amputated because of injuries sustained in the first of two pressure-cooker bombs that exploded at the Boston Marathon.   JOSH HANER/THE NEW YORK TIMES

By James Estrin

April 14, 2014

The New York Times has swept the 2014 Pulitzer Prizes for photography. The staff photographer Tyler Hicks won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize in breaking news photography for his coverage of a terrorist attack at an upscale mall in Nairobi, Kenya, that left more than 60 people dead. Josh Haner was awarded the Pulitzer in feature photography for his images of the slow and painful recovery process for asurvivor of the Boston Marathon bombing. …

To read entire story, click here!

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To see more photos – The NYT also won a Pulitzer for Tyler Hicks’ coverage of a terrorist attack - click here.

Excellent column for Passover …

Written by admin on April 15th, 2014

… for any time. From The New York Times’ David Brooks.  - R. T.

A Long Obedience

By DAVID BROOKS

April 14, 2014

Monday night was the start of Passover, the period when Jews celebrate the liberation of the Israelites from slavery into freedom.

This is the part of the Exodus story that sits most easily with modern culture. We like stories of people who shake off the yoke of oppression and taste the first bliss of liberty. We like it when masses of freedom-yearning people gather in city squares in Beijing, Tehran, Cairo or Kiev.

But that’s not all the Exodus story is, or not even mainly what it is. When John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin wanted to put Moses as a central figure on the Great Seal of the United States, they were not celebrating him as a liberator, but as a re-binder. It wasn’t just that he led the Israelites out of one set of unjust laws. It was that he re-bound them with another set of laws. Liberating to freedom is the easy part. Re-binding with just order and accepted compulsion is the hard part.

America’s founders understood that when you are creating a social order, the first people who need to be bound down are the leaders themselves.

To read entire column, click here!

 

I am keeping Easter Week in my fashion …

Written by admin on April 14th, 2014

Listened to GODSPELL this morning. Not as intense as JESUS CHRIST SUPER STAR. Still, I really like the song I’m sharing with you, “By My Side.” Not the same one as on the lp. (I could not find the version anywhere … .) This take very soulful. The lp’s version (which I think I like a bit more) is soft, tentative, kinda haunting …  - R. Tirella

Worcester County District Attorney Joe Early Jr.’s investigative division moves to Green Island’s Lafayette Street! (Hooray!)

Written by admin on April 14th, 2014

By Ron O’Clair

It has been 36 years since Green Island had a permanent police presence in the neighborhood once the City of Worcester finally opened the new headquarters building at Lincoln Square after nearly four years of construction and several years of discussion on the 14th of August, 1978. The move closed the Lamartine Street Station that was formerly in the Green Island neighborhood at 39 Lamartine Street which was used to house the Motor Patrol, and the Impact Division of the Worcester Police Department, consolidating operations of the department in the new location.

The former station was sold, and now houses Worcester Electrical Associates.

From that time to this, the only police presence in the neighborhood was via patrol route cars, or if someone summoned the police to respond to an emergency.

All that changed on the 1st of August 2013, when the District Attorney Joe Early Jr. Investigative Division moved out of its 19 Midstate Drive, Auburn location and came back to the City of Worcester where it had not been since 1990 when the old CPAC (Crime Prevention and Control) unit moved out of 283 Main Street due to having outgrown that space.

The Investigative Division of the Worcester County District Attorney is responsible for investigating all the murders that occur anywhere throughout the 59 Communities that make up Worcester County, with the exception of the City of Worcester itself, where murders happening within the City limits are investigated by the Worcester Police Department.

The unit, headed by State Police Captain Francis D. Leahy, and contains 17 investigators who are responsible to investigate drug trafficking and other major crimes within the Worcester County, and are available to assist other departments upon request.

The Midstate Drive facility which contains 5,732 square feet proved to be insufficient space for the ever growing unit, and the lease had expired, so a search for a new facility began early in the year. It had gotten so cramped in the Auburn space that some evidence had to be stored in the attic of the Holden State Police Barracks building, which was hardly ideal. Click to continue »

Cool! Opening night at the Mendon Twin drive-in!

Written by admin on April 14th, 2014

We love it when good people rescue the American Experience!!!!!      - R. T.

Opening Night at the Mendon Twin Drive-In

Phantom Gourmet kicks off first drive-in season on April 18

On April 18, Phantom Gourmet’s Andelman brothers – Dan, Dave and Michael – will kick off their first season as owners of the beloved Mendon Twin Drive-In. To celebrate the 60th season of the Mendon Twin Drive-In providing the best family-friendly entertainment in the region, the trio will host an interactive celebration complete with double, first-run features on the amphitheater’s dueling digital projection screens. On screen one, drive-in aficionados will take in Rio 2 and Mr. Peabody and screen two will show Captain America, followed by Divergent.

White’s Bakery & Café will custom-create a gargantuan, themed confection to feed 1,000 movie-goers in honor the landmark’s storied history and milestone birthday. After the final credits roll, each car will take home a Wicked Whoopie Pie parting gift to further satiate one’s sweet tooth after indulging in the Mendon Twin Drive-In’s fresh popcorn, candy, soft-serve ice cream, raspberry lime rickeys, vanilla Cokes and famous Mexican cuisine.

WHERE: Mendon Twin Drive-In · 35 Milford Street · Mendon

WHEN: Friday, April 18, beginning at 6pm (movies begin at sundown)

COST: $25 per car

ABOUT THE MENDON TWIN DRIVE-IN:

The Mendon Twin Drive-In was built in 1953 and opened on June 14, 1954.

As the area’s premier destination for “first-run” family entertainment at an affordable price, the projection booth is equipped with the latest digital projection & Dolby Digital sound available by AM/FM car stereos or portable stereos, ensuring guests the most pleasant and convenient movie experience.

The snackbar is decorated in nostalgic fashion with an antique Coke machine, a 1950′s working jukebox, a 1953 original projector, and other nostalgic memorabilia.

The Mendon Twin Drive-In features a double feature each visit and is open nightly in the summer and weekends during the spring and fall months.

DO YOU HAVE A FAMILY MEMBER WHO IS ABUSING OPIATES? Resource groups in Central Mass!

Written by admin on April 14th, 2014

Do you have a family member struggling with addiction? Are you seeking resources and support?

The Massachusetts Opioid Abuse Prevention Coalition (MOAPC) is pleased to announce the formation of Family Resource Groups

Open to the public – no registration necessary

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Community Location Time Date

Gardner Gardner Community Health Connections 7:00 pm 1st Thursday of Month

175 Connors Street

Conference Room, 3rd Floor

Fitchburg Fitchburg Community Health Connections 7:00 pm     2nd Tuesday of Month

275 Nichols Street

Conference Room, 1st Floor

Athol Athol Memorial Hospital 7:00 pm             3rd Tuesday of Month

2033 Main Street

Conference Room

Leominster Leominster Community Health Connections 7:00 pm             4th Tuesday of Month

14 Manning Avenue

Conference Room, 5th Floor

For more information, please contact LUK at (978) 829-2433

Sponsored by MOAPC, MPHN and LUK, Inc. with thanks to the Community Health               Connections and Athol Hospital

MASS SUBSTANCE ABUSE INFORMATION HOTLINE 1-800-327-5050

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Nasal Naloxone (Narcan) Training

Overdose Prevention and Reversal   -   You will be instructed on how

to prevent and recognize an opioid overdose and what to do

if one occurs.  Participants will receive nasal narcan and be trained

how to administer it.

Nasal Naloxone blocks the opioids and restores normal breathing when

sprayed in the nose of someone who has overdosed.  It is safe, easy to

administer and has no potential for abuse.

Thursday, April 17th 3:00 pm                   Community Health Connector

5th Floor Conference Room

14 Manning Ave

Leominster

Thursday, April 24th 7:00 pm                    Community Health Connector

1st Floor Conference Room

275 Nichols Street

Fitchburg

Please call Sue Christensen at (978) 829-2433 or email SChristensen@LUK.org to reserve a seat.

Sponsored by the Massachusetts Opioid Abuse Prevention Coalition (MOAPC) LUK, Inc. and MPHN with AIDS Project  Worcester

Getcha Easter Baskets in Quinsig Village … and some cool food news!

Written by admin on April 14th, 2014

Fear No Art art gallery and studio in Quinsig Village is running Make-Your-Very-Own-Easter-Basket classes, now until Easter.

Here is co-owner Dave, outside the Greenwood Street store. For more info., call 508.527.7306.

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Order your yummy chocolate bunnies!

Vegan Delights Easter Basket

Wanna be kind to critters AND give a loved one a great Easter basket? Order a vegan basket from PETA! A few years ago an ICT reader gave me a vegan chocolate bar! Deelish!! Couldn’t tell there was no milk or other animal products in my candy bar!

When you buy anything from PETA you’re supporting their FANTASTIC efforts to change the world. Save factory farm animals, stop needless animal experimentation, keep wild animals out of travelling shows AND lose weight/get healthy! Support PETA!!!!

Click here to order your yummy Easter baskets!

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Cool development … From The New York Times.

What with the state minimum wage going up and their NEW committment to offering organic produce to customers, I may start shopping at Walmart.

Have only shopped there twice, as they are so regressive when it comes to workers’ rights. That may change. Organic prouduce is SO expensive! I, and lots of working class folks, can’t afford it. Now we may be able to eat better foods – for not a whole lot of $!     – R. Tirella

Wal-Mart Eyes Organic Food

By Melanie Warner

Starting this summer, there will be a lot more organic food on supermarket shelves, and it should cost a lot less.

Michelle Philips and her daughter Madison at a Wal-Mart in Plano, Tex. Wal-Mart has decided that organic food will help modernize its image.

Wal-Mart has asked suppliers to help it offer more organic food.

Most of the nation’s major food producers are hard at work developing organic versions of their best-selling products, likeKellogg’s Rice Krispies and Kraft’s macaroni and cheese.

Why the sudden activity? In large part because Wal-Martwants to sell more organic food — and because of its size and power, Wal-Mart usually gets what it wants.

As the nation’s largest grocery retailer, Wal-Mart has decided that offering more organic food will help modernize its image and broaden its appeal to urban and other upscale consumers. It has asked its large suppliers to help.

Wal-Mart’s interest is expected to change organic food production in substantial ways.

Some organic food advocates applaud the development, saying Wal-Mart’s efforts will help expand the amount of land that is farmed organically and the quantities of organic food available to the public.

But others say the initiative will ultimately hurt organic farmers, will lower standards for the production of organic food and will undercut the environmental benefits of organic farming. And some nutritionists question the health benefits of the new organic products. “It’s better for the planet, but not from a nutritional standpoint,” said Marion Nestle, a professor of nutrition, food studies and public health at New York University. “It’s a ploy to be able to charge more for junk food.”

Shoppers who have been buying organic food in steadily greater quantities consider it healthier and better for the environment. Organic food — whether produce, meat or grain — must be grown without pesticides, chemical fertilizers and antibiotics. Then, before it is sold, the food cannot be treated with artificial preservatives, flavors or colors, among other things. …

To read entire story, click here!

From the NAACP ….

Written by admin on April 14th, 2014

On Wednesday, April 9, 2014, the U.S. Senate failed to get cloture, or end debate, on S. 2199 the “Paycheck Fairness Act,” legislation which would close loopholes in the Equal Pay Act of 1963 that have diluted its effectiveness in combating unfair and unequal pay.
Specifically, the Paycheck Fairness Act would have updated the Equal Pay Act by barring retaliation against all other workers who ask about their employers’ pay practices or inquire about their own wages.
This expands an Executive Order signed by President Obama on April 8, 2014, which bars federal contractors from retaliating against employees who discuss their pay with one another.
While President Obama’s order applies only to companies receiving federal contracts, over which he has jurisdiction, the legislation which failed in the U.S. Senate applies to a broader set of employees, including those who work for private companies as well.
For more information on the situation, and to see how each Member of the Senate voted, please review the target="_blank">attached Issue Update.
Thank you.