As you celebrate Thanksgiving, our annual national celebration of Food and Football, and as you remember the things for which you are Thankful, please know how much we are thankful for this community of folks in Marion County who support this ministry through their generosity of time, talent and treasure, and we are thankful for our tireless Volunteers who make this ministry happen.
On Thursday, October 5, 2017, the Sequachee Valley Electric Cooperative (SVEC) spent the day at MCCM painting the interior and beautifying the exterior. This amazing group of Hunger Heroes, led by Vice-President Shelby Potterfield and CEO and President, Mike Partin arrived early in the morning armed with string trimmers, paint rollers, chainsaws, paint brushes, paint, cleaning supplies and the group of folks ready for a day of hard work.
SVEC, as part of the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Day of Service, spent the day at food banks in Grundy and Sequatchie Counties. Later this month SVEC will send a team to Bledsoe County for a Day-of-Service there as well.
Why food banks? “We have a mission to improve everyday life in the communities we serve, and that mission goes far beyond simply keeping the lights on,” says Mike Partin, president/CEO of SVEC. “Our area food banks are an asset to our community, and we are proud to partner with them.”
Long time faithful volunteer and one of the main developers of the Good Neighbors Program, Mary Jo Walker, has decided to retire. Mary Jo volunteered for many years at Metropolitan Ministries (Met-Min) in Chattanooga before coming to us at MCCM.
In 2008, when we decided to attempt to create the Good Neighbors Program at MCCM, we wanted to model it on the best practices of Met-Min and the Good Neighbors Program in Maryville, TN. We met initially with Rebecca Whelchel, the Executive Director at Met-Min, and the Rev. Lou Garcia, who began the programs of Met-Min and with Elizabeth Kabalka from Good Neighbors in Maryville.
When we learned that Mary Jo, a member at Christ Church Episcopal in South Pittsburg, volunteered at Met-Min, we asked Becky and Lou if we could “borrow” her for a while in order to ensure a smooth start to Good Neighbors.
For the last nine years, nearly every Tuesday, Mary Jo was in her office greeting, counseling, and being the face and hands and heart of Jesus Christ to our neighbors who need help.
Thank you hardly seems sufficient to express what you have meant to me and to all of us at MCCM and to our clients.
Mary Jo, we love you and we will miss you greatly. We hope you will drop in and check on us from time-to-time to see how we are doing.
Although related, food insecurity and poverty are not the same. Poverty in the United States is only one of many factors associated with food insecurity. In fact, higher unemployment, lower household assets, and certain demographic characteristics also lead to a lack of access to adequate, nutritious food. Read on for national hunger and poverty facts and statistics, or visit Map the Meal Gap for state-specific information.
Poverty Statistics in the United States[i]
43.1 million people (13.5 percent) were in poverty.
24.4 million (12.4 percent) of people ages 18-64 were in poverty.
14.5 million (19.7 percent) children under the age of 18 were in poverty.
4.2 million (8.8 percent) seniors 65 and older were in poverty.
The overall poverty rate according to the Supplemental Poverty Measure is 14.3 percent, significantly higher than the official poverty rate of 13.5 percent.[ii]
Under the Supplemental Poverty Measure, there are 45.7 million people living in poverty, 2.6 million more than are represented by the official poverty measure (43.1 million).[iii]
Food Insecurity and Very Low Food Security[iv]
42.2 million Americans lived in food insecure households, including 29.1 million adults and 13.1 million children.
13 percent of households (15.8 million households) were food insecure.
5 percent of households (6.3 million households) experienced very low food security.
Households with children reported food insecurity at a significantly higher rate than those without children, 17 percent compared to 11 percent.
Households that had higher rates of food insecurity than the national average included households with children (17%), especially households with children headed by single women (30%) or single men (22%), Black non-Hispanic households (22%) and Hispanic households (19%).
In 2014, 5.4million seniors (over age 60), or 9 percent of all seniors were food insecure.[v]
Food insecurity exists in every county in America, ranging from a low of 4 percent in Loudoun County, VA to a high of 38 percent in Jefferson County, MS.[vi]
Twelve states exhibited statistically significantly higher household food-insecurity rates than the U.S. national average 2013-2015 (13.7%)[vii]:
“Pennsylvania synagogue delivers cereal to Whitwell Middle School” is the title of an article by Kathie Tierney in the February 1 edition of the Sequatchie Valley Independent.
The Har Zion Temple is located in Pennsylvania about 10 miles from Philadelphia and about 772 miles from Whitwell Middle School. Norman Einhorn, co-principal of the Har Zion Temple high school, and Rabbi Shawn SimonHazani drove all night to bring a van load, 569 boxes of cereal, to WMS.
As most of our volunteers know, we have a cereal shortage at the Food Bank and the students at WMS wanted to do something about it. Har Zion Temple, has a long term relationship with WMS because of the Children’s Holocaust Memorial and the Paper Clips Project started by WMS in 1998 when Linda Hooper was the WMS Principal. When Har Zion heard of the student’s project they decided to help. An anonymous member of the congregation also pledged $5.00 for each box of cereal collected during a specified period during the project. As a result, Har Zion also presented the food bank with a check for $2,100.
In the Jewish tradition a mitzvot derives from the Law, mitzvah, found in the Hebrew Scriptures and refers to an obligation under the law and is generally applied to any good deed.
A more detailed description of the event can be found in Kathie Tierney’s article.
Principal Einhorn, Rabbi SimonHazani, thank you for your blessed mitzvot.