|The Ohio Benefit Bank Newsletter
|Poverty Simulation: The Value of one Hour in Poverty
Participant after participant used the phrase
"eye-opening" when speaking about their Poverty Simulation experience. After spending an hour living the simulated
life of an individual in poverty, this group of Knox County residents had
gained a greater sense of empathy with their struggling neighbors and came to a
clearer realization of the barriers facing those in poverty.
As part of its Financial Stability Initiative, United Way
of Knox County served as host for this second Poverty Simulation held in Mount
Vernon. Following a successful event
last November, United Way planned to offer a second simulation in May,
targeting participation by elected officials, as well as local businesses,
schools, and social service agencies. Over fifty people were present at the May 14 simulation, including the
local mayor and two county commissioners (the third participated in November). In addition to the simulation, participants
learned about Knox County poverty and the resources available in their
community. Much positive feedback deems
the event a success, but true success will come with the changes these
participants can make at their workplaces and in their lives to better serve
those in poverty.
Mayor Richard Mavis
struggles to sell his
possessions to pawn shop manager Terri Brown,
United Way Volunteer. Knox County Commissioner Bob
finds himself in jail for vagrancy.
|OASHF Summer VISTA Program
This summer, the AmeriCorps*VISTA program at OASHF will be
the few VISTA programs in the state of Ohio to offer a Summer Associate
This program is an intensive 8-week service opportunity at a local
summer feeding program. Those who complete their term successfully will receive
$1,000 towards a college education. We are proud to announce that we will be
placing 57 Summer VISTAs at 12 summer feeding sites all over the state of Ohio.
Our summer feeding sites are community places that help feed the 500,000 kids
who depend on the school meal program every year in Ohio. They provide kids
with a place to get a healthy meal and enjoy activities to help them learn and
develop during the summer months. Our VISTAs will be helping to coordinate and
serve the meals, conduct the activities, and promote the site as a community
resource to area residents.
If you have further questions about the summer
program, please contact Amanda Cowgill at (614) 221-4336.
|OASHF AmeriCorps*VISTA Amy Swart Honored For Her Service
On May 9th, OASHF AmeriCorps*VISTA member Amy Swart had the privilege
of representing VISTA at the AmeriCorps week dedication held at the Great
American Ballpark in Cincinnati. The dedication was held prior to a
Cincinnati Reds baseball game, where the crowd was over 40,000. Of the seven AmeriCorps members
honored, Amy was the only VISTA in the
group. "I really felt honored," She remarked proudly, "this is a once in a lifetime event. It was all very structured - we even needed field
clearance - but it was fun."
Amy even got to walk through the famous tunnel leading to
the field. Once on the field, Amy was instructed on where to stand, then given
instructions to listen for her name and wave
at the crowd when it was called. What they didn't tell her was that when they announced her name, her picture would
show up on the video screen.
Amy recalled "It was so great!
This is another VISTA memory that I will cherish for the rest of my life."
Program Begins July 1
2009 summer crisis program is fast approaching. This year the program will run
from July 1st through August 31st. In order to receive
assistance through this program for help with air conditioning costs, the
applicant must be income eligible with a household member who has an illness and would benefit from assistance, verified by physician documentation.
If the applicant is 60 or older, no physician documentation is needed.
year, the SCP will pay a maximum benefit of $175 to eligible clients to be used
towards payment of a client's bill, the purchase of an air conditioner, and/or
assistance in purchasing a fan. Clients should contact their local
Community Action Agency to apply for the summer crisis program. http://www.oacaa.org/directory.html
|Committee Increases OASHF & OBB Internet Presence
Throughout the month of May, the Ohio Association of
Second Harvest Foodbanks' newly formed Social Networking Committee has worked
tirelessly to increase the Association's Internet presence.
The Committee, which features representatives from
the Ohio Benefit Bank, the AmeriCorps*VISTA program, and the foodbank side of
the operation, has moved forward with a strategy of creating new media that is
informative and easily accessible to the general public.
The first step in this strategy was to create interesting
blogs that detailed what OASHF was focused on at any given time. Two of those
sites are already public. Second Harvest's blog can be found at www.oashf.blogspot.com.
The OASHF site features a newsfeed that updates whenever OASHF is in the news,
as well as announcements alerting readers to OASHF events (such as the rally on
June 4). We are also able to post up-to-the-date unemployment and poverty
statistics to highlight the growing need for food.
The second public site focuses on the The Ohio Benefit Bank Mobile
Express and can be found at www.obbmobileexpress.blogspot.com.
This blog will focus on the day-to-day travels of the Mobile Enrollment
Specialists as they see firsthand the need in different areas of the state.
This blog already features multimedia such as a television interview with
Mobile Enrollment Specialist Erin Sprouse.
The third blog is still in development. It will
focus on the VISTA program and the ins-and-outs of service at OASHF. Hopefully
this site will increase awareness of the VISTA program and all of the benefits
The Social Networking Committee is also utilizing
popular web programs like Facebook and Twitter to create an interactive environment
for those interested in The OBB to get the scoop on the goings on of our
offices. You can follow our Facebook page at this link.
For constant updates, the Social Networking
Committee suggests checking out the OASHF/OBB Twitter account at this link.
While our Twitter account will feature many of the same updates as the Facebook
page and the three blogs, Twitter provides us a way to release that information
efficiently under one umbrella site.
Despite only being in existence for one month, the
Social Networking Committee has made great strides to elevate OASHF from one
excellent website to a community of sites that can educate and entertain. By
following these sites, we hope that one can get a better understanding of all
the good work that's done by OASHF.
|OASHF National Service Team Partners with Local Theater During AmeriCorps Week
AmeriCorps Week, May 9-16th, is an opportunity to recognize
Americorps members and alumni and spread the word about national service.
This year the OASHF National Service Team partnered
with Studio 35 Cinema in Columbus to provide a free screening of Wolverine for
any AmeriCorps members and alumni who showed up wearing Americorps gear. Americorps members who attended enjoyed ice
cream provided by Jeni's and saw a free movie in appreciation of their service.
|Client Spotlight: Milton, the artist
Charles Stough, OBB Counseor, City Heart, Dayton
commercial artist with a thick portfolio of posters, brochures and other
artworks, Milton's work has been admired by his many clients for years. He has
a professional studio in his home with the latest in computerized graphics
management tools and software. His wife Shelly works at a large chain
department store and has risen in the corporate ladder. They have 10 children, two of them in college.
It was a blow when the economy went bad. Milton's
business-to-business clientele reduced their graphics budgets, and some of his
oldest clients went out of business or couldn't pay the bills. Shelly's employer
closed the store, and offered a job at another site if she would be willing to
commute. She does that, but the expense is higher.
Milton had not considered food assistance since the birth of
his third child, 15 years ago, and then used the help only temporarily. But
present-day circumstances drove him to ask for temporary aid from his
neighborhood church, where church staffers had attended an Ohio Benefit Bank
demonstration less than a week before.
The results: A referral to a Benefit Bank site at another
church, a food assistance application and a HEAP application too. And Milton's
neighborhood church is recruiting volunteers to take OBB training to help
"It was my personal record application," said
Milton's OBB counselor. "The family is getting more than $800 a
Client Spotlight: Dennis, the Visitor who Stayed in Ohio
OBB Counselor, City Heart, Dayton
Dennis took a break from his work in the kitchen of a thriving California
restaurant to come to Ohio and visit his daughter Marilyn. While enjoying the
long-term reunion he joined the staff at a Dayton ethnic dining spot
specializing in haute-cuisine Spanish dishes. Before he knew it, three years
Then his daughter moved from the state, the Ohio restaurant
found itself in a tough economy and cut back his hours, and he learned that his
former California employer wasn't hiring.
"I was stranded here," Dennis laughed. It wasn't a
bad place to be stranded, but there are fewer restaurants demanding knowledge
of paella and gazpacho. He was hospitalized for a time. Taxes and expenses
Dennis visited an Ohio Benefit Bank site, where his
application for food assistance revealed he was eligible for about $200 a
month. During the process he saw the other services that the OBB can do for
"Oh, you do taxes?" he asked. "I haven't
filed in about four years."
Instantly he had an appointment for a tax session at the
same OBB site -- a very long session, and probably fairly profitable.