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In this month's edition:
Hunger News Network
AmeriCorps*VISTA Members to Support Ohio Foodbanks
Client Choice Pantry Conversion Guide, Video in Production
Report Details Potential Impact of a Higher Ohio Minimum Wage
ODJFS Posts 2006 Program Guide
Center for Community Solutions Shows Ohio Lost 204,308 Jobs Over the Last Five Years
OASHF Spotlight: St. Mary’s Choice Pantry in Lorain, Ohio
Ohio Events Calendar
Save the Date: “Hunger Hurts” — OASHF Hunger Education Day 2006
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LETTER FROM OUR DIRECTOR
Dear Member Charities,
Allow me to begin by extending my sincerest gratitude to you, as readers of Hunger News Network. Each month, we take pleasure in providing you with updates of activity both inside the Ohio Association of Second Harvest Foodbanks and in the Great State of Ohio. Thank you for your loyal readership!
The coming of Spring last month brought with it the buzz of energy and activity within the Association. Along the project forefront comes the institution of 12 AmeriCorps*VISTA members within our member foodbanks (page 2), individuals who will offer their services to implement The Benefit Bank — a free, online tool for public benefit eligibility screening — among a diverse array of other capacity-building functions. This exciting project is the result of vibrant partnerships recently forged with the National Council of Churches and the Corporation for National and Community Service.
The engagement of VISTAs, to begin in July, comes on the heels of our recent selection of five “traditional” Ohio pantries to receive $1,000 towards conversion to the client-preferred “client choice” system, in addition to new computers and Internet access for offering The Benefit Bank on-site to their clients (page 4). As strong advocates for the client choice pantry model, we also completed and printed a conversion guide for making the switch to the new system (page 2). It is available at no cost from our website (www.oashf.org) and as a full-color, printed manual which you can request simply by contacting us. Production of a complementary educational video has also begun, with interviews and footage being filmed around Ohio (page 2).
As the leaves appear on trees, we can anticipate both milder temperatures and a heated political climate. With the primary elections approaching in this most crucial of election years, heightened interest has lent itself to the key issue of increasing Ohio’s minimum wage (page 4). Campaigns for U.S. Congress, governor, half of the Ohio Senate, and the entire Ohio House intensify as the My Medicare Matters campaign to enroll seniors into Medicare Part D plans rolls to an end with the May 15 enrollment deadline (page 3). Spring has just begun and OASHF anticipates it to be a very active season!
Lisa Hamler-Fugitt, Executive Director
Over a Half-Million New Ohio Direction Cards Activated
The conversion from the offline SmartCard-based Ohio Direction Card to an online-based card occurred at the end of March, and a large majority of the newly issued blue and silver cards have been activated. So far:
On the Food Stamp card conversion, Jeanne Carroll, Deputy Director of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services Office of Family Stability, stated: “We are pleased with how the conversion went. Activating 500,000 cards at one time was a massive undertaking but the conversion to the new system occurred on schedule, thanks to the cooperation of retailers, foodbanks, advocates, the media, and others who helped get the word out about the change. We recognize that some recipients who didn’t receive their cards may have encountered long waits on the phone in ordering new cards, but those issues have been addressed and recipients can now enjoy the benefits of the new system including being able to use the same readers as credit and debit card consumers.”