For many Americans, one constant in the holiday season is food. We have food at parties, food at the office, and at social events. During this time of the year, food is often so abundant that one of the common complaints that is heard from people is how much weight they have gained. We’ve all heard it.
It is important that we try and remember that many in our country will have limited or no food at this time of the year. And that this time is just like most other times in their lives- one of hunger and need. This is real hunger, not the growling stomach that you may experience between meals. This is the type of hunger where parents worry if they or their children will eat at all that day, or if what they can afford will be enough. It’s the kind of hunger that negatively impacts health.
According to a recent U.S. Department of Agriculture state-by-state report on national “food insecurity,” a term that means hunger or susceptibility to it, paints a bleak picture. During the recent recession, many U.S. households suffered job losses, declining incomes, home foreclosures, and diminished net worth. Food security means having dependable access to enough food for active, healthy living-is vulnerable to these financial challenges. In 2009, 14.7 percent of U.S. households (17.4 million) were food insecure, meaning that at some time during the year, they had difficulty providing enough food for all members of their family due to insufficient resources. Although essentially unchanged from 2008 (14.6 percent), food insecurity remains at the highest level observed since food security surveys were initiated in 1995.
According to the national news, food pantries across the country have experienced record high levels of requests for assistance. As a volunteer at a local poverty program that provides food assistance, I have seen the record level requests for assistance first hand. As a result, the food pantry shelves were nearly bare. These feeding agencies can’t do it alone. As you prepare for holiday celebrations, please keep in mind those who are most in need in our communities and donate to a nonprofit agency serving the most vulnerable members of our society. There is so much that needs to be done to help those caught in the vicious cycle of poverty. Together, we can help the poorest women as well as men, and their families, live, learn, earn, survive — and thrive — in the new year and beyond! With an equal amount of conscience, mind, heart, and collective action –we can improve the human condition.
Sources: United States Department of Agriculture/Economic Research Service, Household Food Security in the United States, 2008 and 2009; Cook, John. Feeding America. Child Food Insecurity in the United States: 2006-2008; http://www.share.org; http://www.feedamerica.org; and Food Research and Action Center.
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The “2012 ISHEID: International Symposium on HIV & Emerging Infectious Diseases” will take place on May 23rd through the 25th of 2012 in Marseille, France.
According to Conference Alerts, “ISHEID will focus on finding a cure against HIV, but also: Human Rights, Prevention of HIV Transmission, Access to Care. ISHEID is the opportunity to meet international Key Opinion Leaders in a friendly atmosphere, and share ideas.” For more information, please contact Alain Lafeuillade or visit their website. Information Source: Conference Alerts. Photo Credit: Microsoft Clip Art
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) launched the first findings from The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS) on December 14th, 2011 and is available online. The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS) is an ongoing, nationally representative survey that assesses experiences of sexual violence, stalking, and intimate partner violence among adult women and men in the United States. It measures lifetime victimization for these types of violence as well as victimization in the 12 months prior to the survey. The survey goes beyond counting acts of sexual violence, stalking, and intimate partner violence by assessing the range of violence experienced by victims and the impact of that victimization. The report also includes the first ever simultaneous national and state-level prevalence estimates of these forms of violence for all states.
Source: Prevent Connect. CDC.
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It was recently reported by NBC Washington that today the US House of Representatives and Senate approved a two-month renewal of the payroll tax cut extension for 160 million Americans and unemployment benefits for millions thus ending a long-standing deadlock that threatened the financial health and well-being of millions of Americans.
Complete details are available from NBC Washington: http://www.nbcwashington.com/blogs/us-world/#Congress%20Passes%20Payroll%20Tax%20Cut.
Source: NBC Washington.
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Today, the Democratic Party sent out an action alert concerning the payroll tax cut extension. Minutes ago, the Tea Party Republicans blocked a bipartisan bill to extend President Obama’s payroll tax cut. As a result, middle class Americans could see their taxes increase by $1,000 on January 1st UNLESS Speaker Boehner, Eric Cantor and House Republicans back down from their extreme stance on extending the President’s payroll tax cuts.
“The issue right now is this, the clock is ticking. Time is running out […] I saw today that one of the House Republicans referred to what they’re doing as, quote, high stakes poker. He’s right about the stakes — but this is not poker. This is not a game.” – President Obama’s remarks from the White House this afternoon.
It is up to each of us to ensure that voters in our district are aware of the damage that US House Republicans are wreaking on behalf of the Tea Party fringe and the top 1%. Act now. This Republican Tea Party tax increase will hurt the middle class and obstruct the economic recovery. And they know it. Help the Democratic Party hold them accountable.
Source: Democratic Party.
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As winter festivities continue across the country for many, there are others who are sitting at home right now, waiting to hear if they will have basic needs such as food and shelter next month. The National Association of Working Women remind us that, “…Nearly 8 million workers and their families have been kept afloat by the extension of the federal unemployment insurance program while they search for work in this tough economy. Unemployment is at a historic high of 9.6%, and jobless workers across the country are doing all they can to meet their families’ basic needs. Long-term unemployment is at a level not seen since the Great Depression– over 42% of all unemployed (6.1 million workers) have been without a job for over 6 months, and 30% (4.4 million workers) have been out of work for over a year.” The National Association of Working Women asks that we help give struggling families something to be grateful for by telling Congress to extend long-term unemployment benefits.
“The unemployment benefits these struggling families receive kept at least 3.3 million Americans from falling into poverty in 2009 alone, including 1.5 million children.” Until the national unemployment rate shows measurable signs of improvement and the economy begins generating meaningful numbers of jobs, the program of federal jobless benefits should be continued by Congress. With overwhelming bipartisan support, the Senate recently passed a bill which temporarily extends federal unemployment insurance programs that expire on December 31. But now, the US House Republican leaders are threatening to kill the bill, cutting off this vital support for millions of struggling families across our nation.
With that said, it is time for each of us to tell our Representative in Washington to ensure that ALL Americans can celebrate this season. To accomplish said goal, call 1-888-245-3381 NOW and ask your Representative to extend federal unemployment insurance benefits.
9 to 5 prepared this script to assist us in placing this very necessary call to our members of congress. It reads as follows: “When connected to your Representative’s office, please tell him or her: Your name, where you are from, and that you are a constituent. Please tell _____________ that I’m counting on [him or her] to pass the Senate bill to extend federal unemployment insurance benefits. Thank you.”
The Senate bill extends unemployment insurance for two (2) months. We know in two (2) months we will still be fighting to extend unemployment benefits, but right now is the time to stop stalling this very necessary assistance to needed families and support them during the holiday season. It is now up to the US House of Representatives to pass the bill to ensure that unemployed Americans are not left in the cold this holiday season.
“What is at stake if these benefits are allowed to expire? Over two (2) million women stand to lose this critical lifeline in 2012. More than a quarter of a million of these women are single parents. For many of them, federal unemployment benefits may be the difference between staying afloat and falling into poverty.”
You can make the difference in the lives of countless families in your state by calling Washington and urging your Representative to extend unemployment benefits. Again, please call 1-888-245-3381 today and ask your Representatives in Washington and urge them to act NOW to pass the Senate bill to prevent federal unemployment insurance benefits from being cut off this holiday season.
Source: The National Association of Working Women.
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