Archive for the ‘Making A Difference’ Category

What’s on your plate?

Monday, April 22nd, 2013

Temple Beth-El Earth Day Community Conversation Connects Local Food, Anti-Hunger Efforts

photoOn Saturday, I had the pleasure of joining Little Savannah Co-Owner Maureen Holt, a slow food advocate, for an Earth Day community conversation with Temple Beth-El (TBE) members about local food and anti-hunger efforts in Birmingham.

Alabama has the second highest rate of hunger in the country, and Birmingham has the 12th highest rate of food hardship amongst major metro areas. It is also nationally known for its local food scene.

Thus, I was challenged to connect eating local and fighting hunger. As I followed along with the day’s Torah readings, a passage from Leviticus Chapter 19 jumped out at me: “you shall not favor the poor and you shall not honor the great.”

Exactly, I said to myself. Locally grown produce and farmers markets should not just be for the affluent; in a just society, there should be choices available to all of us, regardless of income.

In order to build food justice, we need many different kinds of people, organizations and businesses within a community to work together to increase access to healthy, affordable, fresh food produced and processed locally.

While many Birmingham residents are familiar with the Pepper Place Farmers Market, WE Gardens and the Eastlake Farmers Market also host regular markets. Eastlake accepts SNAP/EBT and Senior Nutrition Coupons. To find a farmers market near you (or in a community you would like to explore), check out this list from the Year of Alabama Food and this one from the Greater Birmingham Community Food Partners.

Many thanks to TBE Community Conversation Co-Chair and APP Board Chair Joyce Spielberger for inviting me to speak to her congregation. Thank you also to her Community Conversation Co-Chair Toby Siegel and TBE Executive Director Bob Greenberg for coordinating the program.

We are especially grateful to have TBE join our faith partnership with a monetary donation.  TBE’s Earth Day program was sponsored by Dalia & Keith Abrams, Suzanne & Howard Bearman, Chico Bomchel Memorial Social Action Fund, Barbara Bonfield, Barbara & Scott Brande, Cherie & Bob Greenberg, Sheri & Jimmy Krell, Vicki & Art Lewis, Esther Schuster & Allen Shealy, Gail & Abe Schuster, and Joyce Spielberger.

For information about APP’s anti-hunger work, or how your faith community can join APP’s Faith Partnership, please contact me at 205.939.1408 or kscott@alabamapossible.org

Above: TBE Community Conversation Co-Chair and APP Board Chair Joyce Spielberger, APP ED Kristina Scott, and TBE Community Conversation Co-Chair Toby Siegel outside Temple Beth-El.

 

Do You Need Money for College?

Thursday, March 28th, 2013

APP’s Blueprints College Access Initiative sponsoring FAFSA completion events in Chilton, Franklin, Perry, and Shelby Counties. 
University of Montevallo Financial Aid Officers Kim Miller and Maria Parker, Blueprints Mentor Ashley Humphrey, AmeriCorps*VISTA Courtney Bennett, Blueprints Mentor Darlena Garner, Blueprints Program Coordinator Hannah Selles, and Blueprints Volunteer Jay Causey at a FAFSA completion event in Montevallo.

University of Montevallo Financial Aid Officers Kim Miller and Maria Parker, Blueprints Mentor Ashley Humphrey, AmeriCorps*VISTA Courtney Bennett, Blueprints Mentor Darlena Garner, Blueprints Program Coordinator Hannah Selles, and Blueprints Volunteer Jay Causey at a FAFSA completion event in Montevallo.

Through a collaboration with the Alabama Department of Education, members of its higher education alliance, and local school districts, APP’s Blueprints College Access Initiative is aiming to boost Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) completion by 20 percent in Chilton, Franklin, Perry, and Shelby Counties.

FAFSA completion helps students and their families access federal and most state financial support, including grants, scholarships, the lowest-cost student loans and work-study opportunities.  Studies show that 9 out of 10 students who complete the FAFSA go on to postsecondary education.

Blueprints held FAFSA completion events in February in Birmingham, Marion, Montevallo, and Phil Campbell. We are working with Judson College, Northwest-Shoals Community College and the University of Montevallo on intensive efforts in Chilton, Franklin, Perry, and Shelby Counties.  Over the next month we will host additional FAFSA completion events, provide individual assistance, and host FAFSA follow- up events where professionals and volunteers will help students and their families interpret financial aid packages offered by postsecondary institutions.

Blueprints works to increase educational attainment and create a college-going culture in the state.  Alabama ranks 44th in educational attainment, which is closely liked to personal and economic well-being.

If you are an educator, parent or student at a public high school in Chilton, Franklin, Perry or Shelby Counties and would like to host a FAFSA completion event or need assistance with completing the FAFSA or interpreting aid awards please contact us at 205.939.1408.

Further resources can be found  at www.blueprintsalabama.org and http://studentaid.ed.gov/.

The Gift of Hope: APP’s 2012 Holiday Membership Premium

Thursday, December 6th, 2012

As supporters of Alabama Possible-Alabama Poverty Project, you hope that together we can reduce, and one day end, poverty in Alabama.

That hope comes from the conviction, despite all evidence to the contrary, that something better awaits us if we have the courage to reach, work, and fight for it.

You can give the gift of hope with our 2012 gift membership premium.

This year, we teamed up with Camden’s BlackBelt Treasures and Lowndes County Artist Andrew McCall, who works with wisteria, Kudzu and grape vines he harvests from the backwoods of the Black Belt to make unique wreaths.  No two are alike.

For your donation of $50 or more, we’ll mail your honoree a gift box with artisan-made wreath adorned with burlap flowers (natural or Alabama Possible Blue) along with a special note acknowledging your gift and their membership in APP supporting of our work engaging, educating, and advocating to reduce poverty in Alabama. 

Order here by midnight on Wednesday, December 19, to make sure your gift arrives on time. Payment accepted via Paypal only. Call 205-939-1408 with any questions.