Just Harvest

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

Transit in Allegheny County should be equitable, connected to affordable housing, a conduit for economic opportunity and a means to improve regional air quality, said riders and a coalition of organizations who presented a new mission for transit this week.

Official Congressional Portrait

On Friday Congressman Keith Rothfus, a conservative Republican from Sewickley, joined Democrats in voting down a farm bill that would have imposed new limits on food benefits.

John Hamilton / PublicSource

At Markeya Lowery’s last case management job, she filled a similar role to the one she has now – helping people address all the distractions and hardships that make going to school and holding down a steady job really difficult.

Joaquin Gonzalez / 90.5 WESA

On a sidewalk in the South Side, Aubrey Plesh is serving a hot, home-cooked meal off a folding table. It's covered with loaded mashed potatoes, chicken and gravy, and chicken marsala.

More than a dozen people have showed up on this chilly Sunday night for the outdoor meal. They're often referred to in a way that Plesh rejects.

"Homelessness, or homeless, is a very confining term," said Plesh.

She prefers to use a different term.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Tuesday’s voter turn out of 17.2 percent in Allegheny County was slightly down from four years ago and about 6 percentage points down from eight years ago. 

Helping SNAP Recipients Keep Their Benefits

Feb 19, 2016
Nick Saltmarsh / flickr

Beginning June 1st, nearly 10,000 residents of Allegheny County will see their Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits taken away. SNAP provides food stamps for unemployed or underemployed adults across the country. The loss of benefits has Rochelle Jackson, public policy advocate for the Southside based Just Harvest, concerned. She spoke with Essential Pittsburgh’s Paul Guggenheimer about this issue.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Many people are eager to give back during the holiday season, collecting toys for children in low-income families or serving Christmas dinner at a soup kitchen.

via Flickr

While hunger rates remain high in Pennsylvania, Governor Tom Wolf has issued an executive order to re-commit to the fight against hunger.

Emily Cleath, communications coordinator for Just Harvest, a non-profit advocacy group aimed at ending hunger, said hunger rates in Pennsylvania have not decreased for too long.

UPDATE: 4/1/14 11:09 am

The Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare has announced that it will continue to offer services in East Liberty.  It is in the process of looking for a new permanent home for the office.

ORIGINAL STORY:

A Department of Public Welfare office in Pittsburgh is closing, and Just Harvest is taking a stand for the workers and families that will be affected.

Local Impact of Budget Cuts to Supplemental Food Programs

Dec 13, 2013
Ian Britton / flickr

SNAP Loses Funding for the Poor

Last month, for the first time in its history, cuts were made across America to the food-stamp program known as SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program).

Pennsylvania's program has lost $183 million; for families and food banks, the impact can be felt most around the holidays.

Catherine Buhrig, Division Director in the Bureau of Policy for the PA Department of Public Welfare and Ken Regal, executive director of Just Harvest, educate people and help them apply for SNAP benefits. 

Buhrig sees firsthand the significance of these cuts to those families that live under the poverty line. 

Representatives of more than a dozen local food banks and other public service organizations made their annual plea to Pittsburgh City Council for Community Development Block Grant funding on Tuesday.

The Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank asked for $200,000, which is consistent with what they received in years past.

When the 1.8 million Pennsylvanians on food stamps wake up on November 1, they will have less money for their breakfast.

A nationwide cut will reduce the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps, by $183 million in Pennsylvania and $5 billion nationwide.

Ken Regal, executive director of Just Harvest, said the reduction will average $29 a month for a family of three.

Farmers markets are opening all over the region with fresh, wholesome and affordable produce, and there are efforts to make sure everyone is able to share in the bounty.  

Ken Regal, Executive Director of Just Harvest, said the 160,000 residents of Allegheny County on Food Stamps have often been unable to use them at farmers markets because vendors usually only accept cash. 

This year, however, Just Harvest will staff kiosks at two Citiparks farmers markets where Food Stamps, as well as commercial debit and credit cards, can be used to buy tokens.