BINGHAMTON, N.Y. — Directors of non-profits in the region are saddened by the numbers.

“In 1976 when CHOW started, we were very proud of the fact that we were able to distribute 30,000 pounds of food,” said Joseph Sellepack, Broome County Council of Churches executive director.

But times have changed.

“Last year we distributed 1.2 million, this year we’re slated to be about 1.5 million,” he said.

About 50 percent of children in the city of Binghamton live in poverty, according to United States Census data,

“It’s a sobering statistic. My feeling is that what we as a community need to do is that we need to be involved in other projects outside of just throwing food at something,” said Sellepack.

With the organization’s program CHOW (Community Hunger Outreach Warehouse), they help people gain employment skills. And they’re not the only ones seeking a more long-term solution. United Way of Broome County received $100,000 in state aid for an anti-poverty initiative.

“With this $100,000 that allows us to bring folks together from across the community that represent businesses, the education community, other elected officials to help identify what are those real issues or road blocks that are keeping them from being fiscally stable,” said United Way of Broome County Executive Director Alan Hertel.

Road blocks similar to a working single mother put in a worse situation as a result of a 50 cent raise.

“That 50 cent an hour raise puts her above the guidelines and the limits and she loses that childcare subsidy so she’s really worse off for working hard and trying to better herself,” said Hertel.

Those who spoke at the hearing voiced how happy they are to have a public hearing like this one as they say it’s through talking about the issue and working together that can really bring about change.

This public hearing was the second of three meetings Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo is expected to hold with Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi on childhood poverty.

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