Don’t forget our Annual Volunteer Appreciation Event

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Don’t Forget the CHOW Hunger Walk this weekend

The Walk is coming together nicely! We’ll have music, food, games, the ZooMobile, a Team mascot or two — and of course, The Hunger Walk itself! Very family friendly…

Don’t forget: This coming Sunday (September 20th): Registration at 1 pm, the Walk starts at 2. Binghamton University, East Gym – follow the signs. Pre-event donations at http://broomecouncil.net/chow/hunger-walk/

HungerWalk

State Assembly holds second upstate hearing on poverty

Almost a quarter of New York children live in poverty, and in the city of Binghamton, that figure is near 50 percent. State legislators and community leaders gathered in Binghamton Tuesday to discuss the problem.

Assemblymembers Donna Lupardo (D-Binghamton) and Andrew Hevesi (D-Queens) said some current laws hinder services for low-income people. Joe Sellepack of the Broome County Council of Churches says one of those laws affects people who recently left prison. Inmates can’t apply for social services. So when they’re released, there’s often a gap before they start getting help.

“They end up having a big recidivism issue that’s really preventable,” Sellepack says. “If that gap weren’t there, we would be able to help people a lot more smoothly than what we’re currently doing.”

The United Way of Broome County received a $100,000 grant earlier this year to fight poverty in the area. They will use the money to gather neighborhood-level data on poverty and plan programs.

Johnson City Schools Superintendent Mary Kay Frys says many of her district’s parents can’t make ends meet.

“Food is always an issue,” she says. “There is never enough. Staff in all our buildings keep food in their rooms to feed students and send food home with them. Coaches often feed students before practices and games.”

The United Way plans to build on a similar campaign started in Rochester earlier this year. That city’s child poverty levels are also around 50 percent. The state also funded an anti-poverty task force for Rochester earlier this year.

To see the full article, go to:  http://wrvo.org/post/state-assembly-holds-second-upstate-hearing-poverty

Conklin Fairgoers to Have Opportunity to “Fill the CHOWbus” with Food Donations

CHOW Seeks Donations of Non-Perishable Food for the Lean Summer Months

(July 1, 2015)    The CHOWbus — the brightly painted mobile farmers market run by CHOW (Community Hunger Outreach Warehouse) – will be on the grounds of the Conklin Fair from Thursday, July 16 through Saturday, July 18 to accept donations of non-perishable food items. This opportunity to replenish CHOW’s food supply comes thanks to the Conklin Fair Committee, Inc., sponsor of “Fill the Bus for CHOW at the Conklin Fair.”

The CHOWbus will be at the Fair, located at 942 Conklin Road, during the hours of Fair operations:  Thursday and Friday, July 16 and 17, from 5:00-10:00 PM and on Saturday, July 18, from noon to 10:00 PM. Admission to the fair is free, but fairgoers are asked to bring a food item to donate. Suggestions include peanut butter, instant potatoes, mac & cheese, canned fruit, tuna, soup and canned meats.

CHOW, a program of the Broome County Council of Churches, feeds the hungry of Broome County through its network of over 30 food pantries and 35 soup kitchens and community meal programs. It distributes approximately 115,000 pounds of food every month – more than 1.3 million pounds of food each year. The need for food is especially great over the summer months, when donations tend to fall off. “Fill the Bus for CHOW at the Conklin Fair” will help restock the shelves during this lean time of year.

For more information, call Jack Seman, Manager of Agency Relations, at CHOW (724-9130, ext.329) or Bill Krasowsky of the Conklin Fair (238-7554).

Four Outstanding Volunteers Honored Thursday Morning at “Lives of Commitment” Breakfast

Broome County Council of Churches                Contact:  Donna Hill (Dev. Dir.)
3 Otseningo St.
Binghamton, NY 13903                                             E-Mail: DHILL@broomecouncil.net
www.broomecouncil.net                                          Phone:  607.724.9130  x-306

 

May 7, 2015                                                                                                                          For Immediate Release

 

Four Outstanding Volunteers Honored Thursday Morning at “Lives of Commitment” Breakfast

Faith in Action Volunteers of the Broome County Council of Churches Presented
17th Annual Awards Breakfast

 

Four long-time volunteers in the Greater Binghamton community were honored Thursday morning at the 17th Annual Lives of Commitment Awards Breakfast, presented by the Faith in Action Volunteers program of the Broome County Council of Churches and held at Doubletree by Hilton Binghamton.

Frank and Dianne Emick were the Faith in Action Volunteers Honorees, receiving the award in recognition of their many years of committed volunteering, especially in service to seniors in need. Providing transportation and friendly visits through Faith in Action, they have also been actively involved in Meals on Wheels through the Broome County Office for Aging, as well as participation at St. Andrew’s and St. John’s. Prior to retirement, both were employees of UHS. Married for 47 years, they have lived in the Binghamton area for more than 50 years.

David Alexander was the Broome County Council of Churches Volunteer Honoree. A long-standing volunteer with the Council, Alexander participates in Faith in Action’s Ramp It Up youth mentoring/wheelchair ramp initiative; often hosts the “Encounter” TV program; and assists with the CHOWbus. A life-long resident of Broome County, Alexander retired as Superintendent of Parks and Recreation for the Town of Union and as Program Coordinator at Binghamton University.

Community Honoree was Gail Goldberg, who has served in countless volunteer capacities throughout Greater Binghamton, including Lourdes Hospice; the Caring Community Committee (co-chair) of Temple Concord; and president of the Foundation for Improving Lives of Developmentally Challenged Individuals. She is also a leader of Osteoporosis strength training and arthritis exercises, and Self-Management of Chronic Disease/Diabetes for older adults. A trained instructor in Tai Chi, Ms. Goldberg has led over 400 participants to better health through Broome County’s Falls Prevention CDCP program. Before retiring in 2001 she worked for the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities.

Faith in Action Volunteers is a program of the Broome County Council of Churches. Its volunteers represent a cross-section of age, race, gender and religious traditions and coordinate more than 10,000 hours of volunteer service per year through Ramp It Up, the Senior Living Ministry, Grocery Days, Social Connections groups, and its volunteer matching service for transportation, visits, shopping and more for seniors.

 

BUY THE SUNDAY PRESS & SUN-BULLETIN AT WEIS MARKETS AND BENEFIT CHOW

The support of the Press & Sun-Bulletin and Weis Markets is making it possible for you to help CHOW, the hunger relief program of the Broome County Council of Churches, by purchasing the Sunday edition of the Press & Sun-Bulletin at your neighborhood Weis Market in the Binghamton area. The newspaper will donate to CHOW each time a Sunday paper is sold at the store during the period from November 23rd through December 14th.

CHOW is very grateful for this support; there is an increased need for food at this time of year and this example of community concern and generosity is appreciated. We urge you to take advantage of this offer. Nearly 40% of the recipients are children who should not have to worry about the availability of such a basic need.

STEM in Action: 4-H Tech Wizards Build Wheelchair Ramp

The 4-H Tech Wizards engineered some magic this summer when they built a wheelchair ramp for a disabled Broome County resident. The Tech Wizards club at the George F. Johnson Dream Center in Johnson City, NY hosted the project, where six youth volunteered over three days to build a 37 foot-long ramp for a homebound senior.  Each young person was paired with an adult mentor from either Cornell Cooperative Extension of Broome County, Sarah Jane Johnson United Methodist Memorial Church, or the Broome County Council of Churches.

Youth and mentors were led by Ron Wenzinger of the Broome County Council of Churches “Ramp It Up” program. Wenzinger, an experienced carpenter, made sure that the youth not only learned carpentry skills, but understood the engineering principles that go into construction. While the youth and their adult mentors spent the mornings and afternoons measuring, drilling, and building, lunchtimes and breaks were used to ask and answer questions about slope, weight bearing, turning radiuses, and more.

Check out the full article in the 4H Newsletter.

CV students help build ramp for Harpursville woman

To date, the Ramp It Up program run through the Broome County Council of Churches has built 78 ramps in six years. Saturday’s work at a Harpursville woman’s home will make it 79. 

To view the full article, enter here.

Steve Degnan’s mom is a superhero, in his eyes. The woman who raised him, his brother and two sisters has always been “sharp as a tack,” he said.

But old age and a one-year-old broken hip started taking away her ability to move around. Degnan and another person had to support 85-year-old Jeanne Marie Degnan down the four or five steps from the front porch of their shared Harpursville home to the driveway.

“She’s not very stable on a walker, and she needs the wheelchair more,” he said.

A group of Chenango Valley Central School District students and other charity organizations got together Saturday to offer Degnan and his family a helping hand in the form of a wheelchair ramp that is becoming more and more critical for Degnan’s mom getting out and about.

About a dozen members of the district’s Interact Club, a student volunteer group sponsored by the Hillcrest Rotary, dug in the dirt together to construct the 79th ramp in the six-year history of the Ramp It Up program. More than a dozen students, plus adults from the club and the high school staff, had completed much of the wooden ramp by noon, but would stay until about 4 or 5 p.m. to finish it off.

The Broome County Council of Churches started the program following the 2006 and 2011 floods that devastated the Southern Tier, said program coordinator Ron Wenzinger. This year, volunteers have built ramps for people in Whitney Point, Windsor and Vestal, among other locations.

An application process vets potential ramp recipients, factoring in medical or physical conditions, financial aid and whether an applicant uses a wheelchair or walker, Wenzinger said.

The closest Sonja Jensen has gotten to building a wheelchair ramp was constructing theater sets for the high school drama club. But the 16-year-old Chenango Valley senior and co-president of the Interact Club knows how difficult it can be to maneuver in a wheelchair.

“I worked at a summer camp for adults with physical and mental disabilities. A lot of them were in wheelchairs, and it was really hilly where we were,” she said. “I’m just happy to make it a little easier for someone.”

When Degnan’s father passed away three years ago, Degnan said his dad’s dying wish was for him to take care of his mom. Saturday’s work, he said, helped with that.

“We grew up on the south side of Binghamton, helping our neighbors,” he said. “My dad used to tell me it’ll pay off someday. These kids are proving that.”

Sara Tracey, stracey@pressconnects.com | @PSBTracey

Ministering to Broome’s congregation living behind bars

Rev. Cris H. Mogenson’s “church’ doesn’t have stained glass windows or a steeple. And his congregants wear orange jump suits instead of their Sunday best.

For the past 14 years the Free Methodist minister has been coordinating chaplain at the Broome County Sheriff’s Correctional Facility ministering through the Broome County Council of Churches to people whom, he knows, some in the larger society would just as soon forget.

The 53-year-old Mogenson considers it a theological calling. He points to Jesus’ commandment in Matthew 25:36 to care for the sick and visit those in prison. “It’s the disenfranchised who are in here, and Jesus would be visiting the fringe,” he said.

Mogenson works alongside Rev. Stanley Gerlock who has been part-time Catholic chaplain for 25 years. The minister also supervises some 90 volunteers also who provide a range of services from Bible studies to rosary groups to Arabic classes.

Mogenson compares jail ministry to working in a hospital emergency room. You catch people in a time of crisis and offer hope. “We’re not proselytizing, we’re interceding. We’re intervening to try and stop a problem before it becomes worse,” he said.

Realistically, however, discouragement comes with the job. “You have to be geared to the prospect of recidivism'” Mogenson said. He knows two-thirds of inmates will wind up back in jail. He also knows, while some people deserve to be behind bars, poverty and drug addiction play a role in this pattern.

But “once in awhile something clicks, something changes, and you get to see that,’ Mogenson emphasized.

Mogenson came to the jail ministry after having what he calls “an epiphany ” during a board meeting at a church where he was a pastor. The board was arguing about the color of the church’s carpet, “majoring in the minor” is how he puts it. “I decided I had had it. I was going back to the front lines.”

For his part, Gerlock really was reluctant to take the job as Catholic chaplain after being asked by the late Msgr. Peter Owens. That reluctance is now long gone. He has become so attached to the job that he asked to continue at the jail even after retiring as a parish priest 10 years ago.

The best part is when inmates take small steps to begin getting their lives back together, Gerlock said. For example, he remembers one inmate who told him “thank you” as the man was leaving the jail. The man then asked for a blessing to help deal with the difficulties of his life.

“You could have given me $1,000, and it wouldn’t have meant as much,” Gerlock said.

Read the complete article at:  http://www.pressconnects.com/story/news/local/2014/09/04/jail-ministry-broome-connections/15031773/

TICKETS AVAILABLE FOR THE JOHNNY HART MEMORIAL CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP BREAKFAST

TICKETS AVAILABLE FOR

THE JOHNNY HART MEMORIAL CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP BREAKFAST

 

The Johnny Hart Memorial Christian Fellowship Breakfast is scheduled for 7:30 a.m., Thursday, August 14, at the Kalurah Building at 625 Dickson Street, Endicott.

A panel of Champions Tour professional golfers will be moderated by Fred Funk, winner of eight PGA Tour and nine Champions Tour events in his career. He also was a member of two Presidents Cup and one Ryder Cup teams for the U.S. The breakfast is hosted by Bobby Hart.

Tickets are $10 and can be purchased in advance at the offices of the Broome County Council of Churches, the DICK’s Sporting Goods Open office and many area churches. The ticket price also includes admission to the Thursday Pro-Am tournament.

Free parking is available at the site all day with free shuttle service to the golf course.

For more information, you can call the Tournament Office at (607) 205-1500 or email Keli Cooper at breakfast@dsgopen.com.