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.
Lodge Cast Iron recently celebrated 120 years of producing quality cookware right here in South Pittsburg.
As part of their Anniversary Celebration Lodge produced 120 120th Anniversary Edition skillets, and auctioned them to the highest bidder. The money raised via the auction was divided equally between their three favorite Marion County Charities: Marion County Children’s Fund, Marion County Food Bank, and Marion County Good Neighbors.
The auction raised in excess of $25,300.00. On September 26, 2016, at the Lodge Factory Store in South Pittsburg, Henry Lodge, Lodge CEO, shown in the picture above, presented two checks, each in the amount of $8,435.63, to Derrald Beck, MCCM Board President, Gary England, MCCM Board Vice-President, and Ginger England, MCCM Operations Manager.
Lodge is an amazing corporate citizen of Marion County. We are honored that they value our work at MCCM and we are grateful for their generosity.
Thank you Henry Lodge, Bob Kellermann, and all of the wonderful employees of Lodge Cast Iron.
According to the US Department of Labor website: “Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.”
Many of us celebrate Labor Day with parades and picnics and cookouts. For many of our neighbors in Marion County, Labor Day is just another work day. Many of our neighbors whom we serve are the “working poor” who have little to celebrate on this day. They have to decide daily whether to buy food, gasoline to get to work, pay the rent, buy medicine, or keep the lights on, and because they are working they make too much money to qualify for food stamps.
MCCM relies on YOU to help us make their burden a little easier buy providing food and utility assistance.
The volunteers and Board of Directors of MCCM wish for you and your family a very Holy, Healthy and Happy Christmas.
As we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ may we remember the words of Jesus:
Matthew 25:37-40 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
37 Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? 38 And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? 39 And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ 40 And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’
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.