Tuesday, October 18, 2011

PathWays PA E-Newsletter - October 17, 2011

JOIN US IN CELEBRATING 33 YEARS OF PATHWAYS PA!

Please join us on November 1 as we celebrate the Adopt-A-Family program and honor the 2011 Trailblazers:

  • Juliet Welker-President, Coldwell Banker Welker Real Estate
  • Kyra McGrath-Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, WHYY
  • Laney Vogt, Adopt-A-Family Advocate
  • QVC
  • The Delaware County Daily Times
  • Yvonne Norris-Former Chairperson, PathWays PA Board of Directors

Enjoy complimentary wine and hors d'oeuvres as well as a live and silent auction.

All proceeds from the event will help over 6,000 low-income families in the Greater Philadelphia Region!

Please consider sponsoring the event or purchasing an ad in our program - click here for more details.

Tickets can be purchased online.

FEDERAL UPDATES
School LunchUSDA SEEKING INPUT ON FREE SCHOOL LUNCH PROGRAM

The USDA is accepting comments on the Direct Certification and Certification of Homeless, Migrant and Runaway Children for Free School Meals. The temporary rules were set in place to streamline the process of enrolling children in the Free School Meals program by making SNAP and TANF eligibility automatically translate to free meal eligibility, as well as simplifying the process for homeless, runaway and migrant children to become enrolled. The USDA will be accepting comments until October 24th.

To submit your comments, please visit this link. For more information, visit the Food Research and Action Center.

HELP SAVE PROGRAMS FOR WORKFORCE TRAINING

At a time when many people are left without work, a series of proposed cuts to federal workforce programs could have a problematic effect on the workforce readiness of many nationwide.

As much as $2.4 billion in cuts to the Workforce Investment Act have been proposed - meaning many will be left without essential workforce development programs. In addition, as much as $44 billion in cuts have been proposed to the Pell Grants, which allow low income students with a record of academic achievement to attend college.

To write your Congressperson via the National Skills Coalition, visit this link.

STATE POLICY UPDATES

A coloured voting boxPROTECT THE VITAL RIGHT TO VOTE

In 2011, many states - including Wisconsin and South Carolina - have passed laws mandating government issued photo IDs in order to vote. In addition, states like Ohio have placed limits on early voting and same day registration.

Pennsylvania is currently considering its own version of these bills. The Pennsylvania House voted in favor of House Bill 934, a bill requiring voters to present photo ID when voting. HB 934, which is awaiting approval by the Pennsylvania Senate and would create new barriers to voting for many eligible voters, especially senior citizens, students, racial minorities, and the working poor.

How can you help:
  • Contact your State Senator and urge him or her to vote no on bills that would limit Pennsylvanian's ability to vote.
  • Join the Protect OUR Vote Coalition for a Press Conference on October 19th in the East Rotunda of the Capitol Building in Harrisburg. To RSVP, click here. They're also gathering stories of encounters with voter suppression here.
  • Join Nonprofit Vote for a webinar on October 27th at 2 p.m. EST featuring Megan Donovan of the Fair Elections Legal Network, who will speak on the impact of these recent laws, and resources to ensure that every citizen's voice is heard. To register, click here.

INFORMATION / EVENTS

PAID SICK DAYS PASSES CITY COUNCIL

Last week Philadelphia City Council voted 15 to 2 to add paid sick days to the 21st Century Minimum Wage and Benefits Standard. Workers that are employed by businesses that receive money from the city will now be able to earn paid sick days. This is a great step forward for workers in Philadelphia.

Thank you to Councilman Goode and all members of Council who voted for this important bill. It will now go to the Mayor - who previously vetoed a paid sick days bill. Please send a message to Mayor Nutter urging him to sign the bill as it is the right thing for the health and well-being of Philadelphia's families and communities.

First food stampsTAKE THE FOOD STAMP CHALLENGE

As part of its "Working Together to End Hunger" campaign for 2011, Fighting Poverty with Faith will be hosting the Food Stamp Challenge from October 27th to November 3rd. The goal is simple - live at the food funding level of most SNAP recipients. This translates to the 2010 average of $133.79 per month, or around $4.50 per day. The total grocery bill for the week should be less than $31.50.

With over 45 million people receiving help from SNAP benefits, they're an important part of preventing American hunger. To learn more about the challenge, visit the page.

THE NATIONAL WOMEN'S LAW CENTER RELEASES NEW REVIEW OF CHILD CARE ASSISTANCE POLICY

The National Women's Law Center recently released its 8th annual state-by-state review of child care assistance policies. The report, State Child Care Assistance Policies 2011: Reduced Support for Families in Challenging Times, discusses the influence of five factors that determine accessibility, affordability, and quality of assistance in each state and the District of Columbia. These factors include waiting lists for assistance, income eligibility, reimbursement rates for child care providers, eligibility for parents searching for a job, and copayments required from parents.

The report finds that under one or more child care assistance policies, families in 2011 are worse off in 37 states than they were in 2010. Furthermore the report reveals that families in 2011 are worse off than they were a decade ago. In contrast to the NWLC's findings from previous reports, families in only eleven states were better off under one or more child care policies than in 2010. Read the full report here.

SPECIAL PATHWAYS PA INFORMATION/EVENTS

Solar-calculatorPATHWAYS IS LOOKING FOR VOLUNTEER INCOME TAX PREPARERS

PathWays PA's Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program offers free tax preparation so low-income filers can access valuable tax refunds and credits.

By volunteering only 3 - 4 hours a week, you can personally help return over $30,000 to local working families.

Training will begin in November, and our tax sites will open in January all over the Philadelphia and Delaware County area.
For more information, contact John Wenz at jwenz@pathwayspa.org. To view our flyer, click here: http://qr.net/fcdg.

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