As we approach the middle of July (and the middle of the summer season) it is amazing to see how hard JFCS continues to work to achieve our collective and departmental goals. The energy in the offices continues to be palpable, radiating from a commitment to making the world a better place.
In light of last week’s article in the Philadelphia Inquirer about Soups and Sweets, several exciting outcomes have occurred. Of special note is that one of our Special Needs clients was offered a job at the Iron Hill Brewery. The brewery originally had said that they had no further openings but fortunately that changed soon after the appearance of the article. In addition, we received numerous calls from potential volunteers and prospective parents who hope that their children might be included among the next Soups and Sweets class.
- During the upcoming 2 weeks, a team of JFCS colleagues is working diligently with our partners at the JFED to amend our proposals for the Saltzman Foundation as we are seeking new and enhanced funds for several populations. Additionally, the board will be convening on July 25th for a think tank regarding the agency’s development program with a goal of building upon the tremendous success of the past decade and moving our strategies forward in new and enhanced ways.
- We are re-exploring our relationship with the Clinton New Jersey JFCS, the supporting body of Project SARAH in the state of New Jersey. Their professional, Esther East, is a wonderful colleague who has much to offer our team. In fact, she invited us to participate in a Mikvah (Jewish ritual bath) attendees’ training focused on recognizing domestic violence within the observant community. Hilary Platt attended and had rave reviews about the program and its many take-aways. Project SARAH of Clinton has also offered us copies of their PR as we work to reinvent our local Project SARAH brochure/publicity for FY14.
- Last Friday, a group of our staff and lay leaders eagerly drove out to the JCC camp in Medford to greet hundreds of campers as they got off their buses with food in hand for our pantry. Two carloads were collected providing much needed goods for the Route 70 office. Our longstanding partnership with the JCC Camps at Medford is evident, not only through this important annual endeavor, but also in the numerous consulting and workshop requests that occur each year. Our wonderful social workers are seen as an integral partner to the camp’s management team and are called upon frequently to aid in numerous critical situations.
- Enhanced use of our Maple Shade office is beginning. Many thanks to the Special Needs Department for using the office for a training session and also to our Senior Department for encouraging use by JFED’s Aleph program.
- Our COA (Council on Accreditation) year-long re-accreditation is in full swing with data collection in the works. Your participation in this effort is integral. As you are asked to provide information, please make every effort to respond in a timely fashion.
Tweet of the Week
What Ever Happened to the Myth of the Welfare Queen?
Perhaps it was that I was feeling patriotic last week due to the July 4th holiday, but for some reason, images of the mid-eighties and my first opportunity to vote for the President of our country were ruminating in my mind. Depending on your age you may remember that Ronald Reagan was up for reelection against Democrat Michael Dukakis. I was just old enough to vote and recalled the surge of pro Reagan PR and the glimpses of something that I would learn much more about when I entered an MSW program in 1989. One of the platforms that Reagan promoted was that of the Welfare Queen. Reagan was a proponent of the idea that welfare was an easy way for the poor to coast through life with food stamps and social services and that, in fact, many would have more children just for the simple reason that they would be entitled to additional governmental dollars. The platform was built on a few outlandish situations where fraud of the SSI system had occurred allowing individuals to drive Cadillacs and live handsomely while receiving welfare. When I began to study Social Work at Rutgers this subject came to the forefront. As a young idealist, I found the notion to be absurd. Why would anyone want to live on public assistance when all information points to the fact that it provides you with barely enough to survive? Why would anyone want to wait in long lines for food stamps that, when used at the local grocery, will point to one’s strife and lack of independence? Interesting and unfortunate is the fact that this stigmatizing did an incredible amount of harm to women (the mothers, the Queens) in particular who became the focus of the impoverished, the drain on society. Thankfully, I am still an idealist, albeit not so young, and I still see the inherent absurdity in the idea that anyone would want to be on welfare.
Even though we don’t hear much about this subject in these specific terms anymore . . . I was wondering what ever happened to the myth. Rest assured and as many of you already know, it still exists. This is easily evidenced in the fact that Obama is referred to as the ‘Food Stamp President’. But as I ‘googled’ around I came across something else very interesting that I wanted to share. It has been publicized that the new Welfare Queen in America is actually Corporate America. Isn’t that a fascinating turn of the tables.
The critiques of corporate America, clearly written by backers of liberal circles who want to make bold statements to society, include the following bits of information: Many of America’s giant corporations are entitled by law to receive additional tax deductions and numerous corporations who receive governmental business subsides rack up profits in the trillions without having to pay back those subsidies. Another form of corporate welfare involves those corporations who use loopholes in the tax laws to either pay minimal or no federal income taxes. Then there are those giant corporations who outsource jobs to overseas nations and eliminate American jobs or those who import the lion’s share of their products from overseas nations rather than from American manufacturers produced by American workers in order to create cost savings. The list goes on and on . . . but one question remains, has the plight of the poor in America really gotten any better or is it simply just called something else?
– Marla Meyers, Executive Director of JFCS