The Ohio Benefit Bank Newsletter February 2010
hostOASHF Recruiting AmeriCorps*VISTA Host Sites
Applications due March 12th
AmeriCorps*VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) is a federally funded program that places VISTA members in community-based agencies to achieve goals and objectives identified by the community and sponsoring agency.  The Ohio Association of Second Harvest Foodbanks serves as the sponsor, and mentor agency, for various VISTA projects statewide, providing technical assistance to partner agencies who are awarded AmeriCorps*VISTA members.
OASHF is currently looking for non-profits to host one or more full-time AmeriCorps*VISTA members for one year.  These members may be assigned to the following types of projects:
The Ohio Benefit Bank: The VISTA member can work to recruit and coordinate volunteer counselors and solicit donations of equipment.
Anti-Hunger Projects: The VISTA member may work to establish community gardens; increase the capacity of innovative programs such as the Back Pack program, Kid's Cafes, etc. They may also develop and implement nutrition education classes and develop partnerships between local retailers and emergency food providers.
Resource Development: The VISTA member can research and identify local, state, federal, and private resources to increase the capacity of the organization to fight poverty.
Volunteerism: The VISTA member may recruit, train and coordinate volunteers to further the anti-poverty work of the organization.
Details are included in the application:
You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader version 8 or newer to open and complete the form. This free software can be downloaded here:
If you have questions after reviewing the application, please contact Dustin Speakman at or Amanda Cowgill at

conf2010 Covering Kids and Families Conference: Tools You Can Use to Get Health Care to Ohio's 111,000 Uninsured Children
March 10-11th

This year's Covering Kids and Families Conference, sponsored by Voices for Ohio's Children, will focus on improving access to health care for Ohio's uninsured children.  Attendees will learn about healthcare for Ohio's children and information on how to enroll eligible children in Medicaid programs from the best experts in the fields at local, state and national level.

Cindy Mann, Director of the Center for Medicaid and State Operations, will be the keynote speaker.  Cindy has decades of experience in health care financing at the federal and state level, and vast knowledge of health care policy.

Click here to download the conference brochure.  Register for the conference online at:

cfbFirst Cleveland Foodbank Tax Clinic a Great Success

A huge thank you to the AmeriCorps VISTA members and the eight community volunteers who made this tax clinic a great success!  Twenty-two clients filed state and federal tax returns and spent not a single cent. Their refunds total 63,618 dollars!  The tax services offered would not have been possible without the great support of the Cleveland Foodbank, the Ohio Association of Second Harvest Foodbanks and new partner the Earned Income Tax Coalition of Cuyahoga County.
NatalieClient Spotlight: Natalie, the Nursing Student
Charles Stough, OBB counselor, City Heart, Dayton

The Rev. John Paddock, pastor of Christ Episcopal Church in Dayton, knocked one over the fence on one of his first sessions as an Ohio Benefit Bank counselor. After his client Natalie, 25, a nursing student with two children, brought in her W2s, her federal refund was to be more than $9,600, plus more than $200 from Ohio.

Natalie, a single mother, worked as a nurse aid in 2009 and was eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit. On top of that, she was a college student with a full course load -- and eligible for generous education credits. Thanks to her stunning refund, Natalie said she is devoting herself full time to her college studies. She anticipates getting her LPN diploma in a few months.

And thanks to the help from OBB, Natalie found a way to complete her education while dealing with her personal responsibilities. That much sooner, she will become a professional nurse, helping other people in Ohio.
dougClient Spotlight: Douglas, the Veteran
Lacey Elliott, OBB Counselor, PICCA

Today, I e-filed my very first OBB application!  Douglas came into Pickaway County Community Action (PICCA) this morning in order to see if he was able to receive energy assistance. PICCA satisfied his need for HEAP and then sent him my way to help him check for other available benefits. Douglas is a disabled veteran whose only form of income is Veterans' Disability. He has never received, nor applied, for any type of benefits. He was in desperate need for assistance, but felt that there were other families out in the community that needed it more than him. I informed him that there is a large amount of money that state gives to us in order to help people like him who are eligible for assistance. I finally convinced him to let me perform a Quick Check just to see what he could possibly be eligible for.
Once Douglas saw that he could be receiving various benefits, he let me move further into the application process. It took me approximately an hour to complete his application, but the end result was exciting!  In just one day, Douglas received HEAP, which will help pay for his energy bill and we started the process for food assistance, cash assistance, and medical assistance. When Douglas went to leave, I told him to have a good day. He replied, "It's not even noon and I am already having a great day," as he left with a smile!
comicEvan and Wyatt and the Magical, Dessert-Enlarging Pennywhistle
a comic strip by Charles Stough

Have you ever wished you could magically double the size of a great dessert? In Charley Stough's comic strip, a couple of kids use magical pennywhistles to do just that. Stough was a VISTA with OASHF in 2007-08 and now serves as an OBB Counselor for City Heart in Dayton.

Evan & Wyatt

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