Looking back

In the beginning of the semester I was very excited to jump in and report on hunger in NEPA. By doing research and interviews with locals it was amazing to learn from these sources. I was amazed at how much information was out there, but none of it really worked together. It seems like there is a compilation of sources being put together so that is a MAJOR plus for those that need assistance.

 

I would say the most valuable thing I learned from reporting was the needs of the aid organizations. I was going in to the interview with the mind-set of, why don’t you provide enough food for the people!!?? However, my naivety slapped me in the face, when I heard that even these aid organization did not always have its own resources. Also, I believe that stepping outside of my comfort zone and interviewing people I really knew nothing about has stretched me to be a better journalist.

 

Going forward, I believe that I will be more aware of factors that go into someone being hungry. And also, more aware of the volunteer opportunities that are out there.

 

This semester has been a world-wind of knowledge and growing. Through this class I was able to realize what kind of topics make me want to work my hardest. I really hope that there is a change that can be brought up from this course, rather it be in my own life or by someone who has been a part of the classes research. Moving forward, I hope to make reporting on these types of social injustice issues something that I can personally work with to maybe further my career.

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Dollar Store Drama

Pictured above is a portion of the meal the Meals on Wheels delivers

to their clients. Bread, butter, orange, desert, and milk.

I was able to travel around with Shannon Cooper, Coordinator of volunteers from Meals on Wheels to experience what it is like to be a volunteer. We delivered the meals in the West side area of Scranton. The majority of the home were all very close to each other, which makes it easier for the volunteer to navigate. Cooper told me that Meals on Wheels serves nearly 800 meals a day! To me, that seems like a lot!

So, with senior hunger fresh in my brain, I had an experience yesterday that was interesting. I stopped by the Dollar General to pick something up and as I was waiting in line to check out there was an elderly couple in front of me.

I didn’t see what they were getting but I had to wait for them to sort out who was paying for what and where the money was coming from. As the man kept tapping his pockets and checking his wallet, the women kept telling the man that he spent his “allowance” all on lunch. Now, he was definitely too old to be like doing chores or something for money, but what did I know.

Then, they finally paid the employee. And under that mans breath he said something like: See, that’s what happens when you are on Social Security.

So, this made me think that something so simple as enjoy a meal  with your wife or friend would cause you to have to choose between buying things for the home or eating for the day.

That really just stuck with me. I think it brought me back to reality because I was a frazzled with my hard day and rushing around. But this man had to be aware of how much he was spending because he only gets an allowance.

See, the things you can hear or notice when you take a chance to be observant. Hunger issues are all over.

If you want to read more of what I did with Shannon Cooper from Meals on Wheels look for it in my final article!


Branching out to other Organizations

All of the hype over the incredibly popular movie “The Hunger Games” has really brought some inspiration for the article I want to create. Luckily, in Northeast, PA we don’t have to send our children into the woods to fight till the death for food. But that leads me to my question, how do families find food when they are out of work or needing to pay for heating before food? How do organization find food for their clients when they are running low on resources?

I previously mentioned that I was sitting down for an interview with Michael Hanley, Executive Director of United Neighborhood Center in Scranton. He was immensely helpful and really justified what we have spent the last couple of months focusing our time on.

He spoke about what UNC directly does to help the hungry families in Lackawanna County. The have a food pantry, summer programs for children, programs for children during the school year, and senior centers; all of which involve providing food to their clients.

Something that he said made me think of a different angle I could take on my article which would be: How do aid organizations get their access to food? donations, government, food drives?

I recently spoke with Major Bea Connell from the Salvation Army in Scranton. This organinzation gets some of their aid from the government. But with aid from the government comes stipulations.

On the other hand, UNC seems to primarily get their resources from donations from the community.

So, with all that being said, as of right now I am slightly shifting my research to access in reference to aid organizations.


Light Bulb!

Silly me, the only organization I thought was major in Scranton was St. Francis soup kitchen! (Not knocking the soup kitchen.) I have been so zeroed in on what I knew that I never ventured outside of my comfort zone to explore other organizations.

Through making some calls and e-mails, I have learned that there is more to Scranton than the soup kitchen. This, I think, makes my point about awareness more poignant. When thinking about what I would do if I was hungry, I directly thought Scranton Rescue Mission or St. Francis of Assisi. –WRONG! There are many options out there for our community members feeling the hurt of hunger.

If only I was aware of these willing helpful organization I would have been able to make a better plan for myself and all the readers of this blog.

So, my main point is that I fell short of reaching out to other organizations. (Please forgive me.)

I was on the United Neighborhood Centers website and I felt so silly for not knowing the plethora of services they provide. So, I called up the Executive Director and scheduled an appointment. (look back on Wednesday for my commentary on this interview)

This lack of knowledge makes me want to steam forward even more with the issue of AWARENESS because if I am not aware of these organizations as a local of Scranton, just think of the people who are not familiar with the area…

If you have any suggestions for people or places I can/should talk to please leave a comment and let me know! I want your input because in reality, this is for you.


30 Hour Famine

For the past 2 months, I’ve been toying with the idea of putting myself in the position of a food insecure person. Well, this past weekend, February 24- 25, I finally took the first step.

I did a 30 hour famine. Yes, you read that right. I willingly gave up food for 30 hours! My church youth group, where I volunteer, does a 30 hour famine each year to raise awareness and donations for a chosen cause. This year they were raising money to help provide aid in junction with the 410 Bridge for students in Karagoto, Kenya. It was told to me that students in the classroom normally share textbooks between 12 student. Which means not everyone is able to do their homework or study for tests because the book can’t be divided 12 ways.

So, juice and water were my 2 new best friends over  Friday and Saturday. Eating nothing for an extended amount of time was quite an experience, so I thought I would take my readers on the journey with me. The following is a video journal I kept throughout the 30 hours. Luckily, at the end of the time we were all able to eat and enjoy food again. However, the reality is that many people in NEPA don’t get that as an option.

-Enjoy! (please bear with the video, it was my first time making one)

30 Hour Famine video journal
(this will take you to Youtube to view the video)


Finding the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth

  1. Come up with a topic: CHECK
  2. Start a blog: CHECK
  3. Find out what is missing with hunger coverage: CHECK
  4. Think of ways to split up story with classmates: CHECK
  5. Target what hunger issue I want to focus on: CHECK
  6. Find out who there is to interview: STAND BY
  7. Write article and find ways to make it interesting: STAND BY

….Is it reaaally!?

Well, that’s right, I have finalized an area where I want to put my efforts on the topic of hunger. After brainstorming for nearly two weeks, I have more of an idea on what I want to research and report.

Ready?

OK, I want to focus on the in’s and out’s of the truth behind local food organizations in Northeast Pennsylvania (NEPA). I am going to ask the places questions such as:

  • when are people allowed to partake in your service?
  • What are you services?
  • Is there a limit to how many times a week someone is allowed to show up at your door?
  • What is the catch?- (come ‘on you know that saying “nothing is free” *refer to picture above* ) I mean how many pages of paper work do I have to fill out. How many times do I need to prove that yes, I really am hungry and that I won’t misuse the resources. How long do I have to wait!?

I hope to personally go through the process myself. One of the organizations websites, Philabundance, I visited during past research really tipped off this idea.  I am going to make the calls to the organizations, food banks, soup kitchens, churches etc. I am going to start with the mindset of “I AM HUNGRY! Help!” Where does one start to get immediate aid for hunger?

So I still have a lot of questions that I am waiting to have answered. Hopefully as the time goes by these questions will be answered by the different organizations. – Stay tuned to find out!


Start the ball rolling

Post 4

A person has nothing to eat, this makes them hungry. Where do they go to find out if or how they can be assisted!? I find it scary just thinking about what would happen if I were the one that had no food. I can honestly say I don’t know where I would start.

The personal goal for me, throughout these next weeks, is to find out what a person does to get aid for a lack of food and nourishment. Access and Awareness are going to be right in the bulls eye of where I am directing my efforts in this research.

Plans are being made with my classmates to acquire information from numerous sources. Some of the ideas are; food bank director, Sr. John Michelle Southwick (Marywood University), local Bishop Bambera, and more general sources as well.

In the News:

In weeks past, there have been articles in the Scranton Times Tribune about new restrictions for access to food stamps. In the Jan. 11, 2012 issue, the headline was “Critics blast asset test” This seems to be a hot topic with the local hunger aid organizations. Food stamps would be limited to people due to their savings and other assets. The asset test would cause people currently on food stamps to lose their access.

However, in the Feb. 2, 2012 issue of the Scranton Times, is says the gov. Tom Corbett is “relaxing” the guidelines on the asset tests. In this article, Rep. Mike Sturla was quoted saying “This is a bureaucratic nightmare in search of a problem that doesn’t exist” he said.

Over the next week or so, I will be coming up with ideas to make this research on Access and Awareness come to life– Stay Tuned!