Often with fixed incomes and limited resources, many seniors find themselves unable to keep a stocked kitchen. The Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) provides USDA-donated food to low-income seniors through monthly CSFP/senior boxes.
The program works to improve the health of elderly people of at least 60 years of age by supplementing their diets with nutritious USDA commodity foods.
Philabundance packs and distributes boxes to strategically chosen locations throughout Delaware County, ensuring that more seniors have access to shelf-stable foods to last throughout the month.
“A senior would register at a particular location and they would know what day they will be able to pick up their box,” said Kelly Hile, director of direct services of Philabundance. “After they receive that information seniors are then able to pick up their boxes on that same day every month. Even though there are various locations throughout Delaware County, our hope is that everyone will be able to find a location that is closest to them. We are doing our best to get this information out to them as well as make sure this process is easy for them as possible.”
Boxes for the program contain approximately 30 lbs of canned and boxed food including vegetables, fruit, juice, pasta, milk, cereal, canned meat and a non-meat protein. Each box is also accompanied by fresh cheese. A nutritional newsletter containing recipes and information is included in each box.
“A certain amount of these boxes have been designated specifically for Delaware County,” Hile said. “We just want seniors to be aware that a program like this exists. This program also does not prevent seniors from getting other benefits, making this program very beneficial for them.”
Philabundance is able to provide more than 9,100 CSFP/senior food boxes each month to eligible seniors. Philabundance partners with the Share Food program of Pennsylvania to build monthly CSFP/senior boxes.
“Over the last year, Philabundance has seen a 26 percent increase in need, and 16 percent of those we serve are senior citizens,” said Bill Clark, president and executive director of Philabundance. “Seniors on fixed incomes are one of our most vulnerable populations, and CSFP/senior boxes are great resources to help them put food on their table and get the nutritious food they often need.”
In order for residents to qualify for the program, participants must be 60 years or older, receive an income that is at or below 130 percent of the poverty line, and be a resident of Pennsylvania. On an annual basis, seniors are required to show proof of their income and of residency.
For more information on the program, call (800) 319-3663 or visit philabundance.org.
A new exhibit is scheduled for the Widener University Art Gallery.
The Widener Titanic exhibit, will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the ship. The exhibit, which will focus on the Philadelphia families touched by the tragedy, will even include a section on the dogs that perished on the ship. The exhibit will run from April 10 to May 12.
On April 15, 1912, the Titanic sank after colliding with an iceberg during a voyage from Southampton, England, to New York City. The ship carried 2,224 people, and 1,514 people died. The sinking of the Titanic was once considered as one of the deadliest maritime disasters in history.
“I think the exhibit at Widener University will definitely bring a lot of people to the art gallery on campus,” said Widener student Aaliyah Williams. “Everybody knows the story of the Titanic and how it’s a part of history, but not too many people know the story behind the people who were actually on the ship.
“The exhibit will not only focus on the Philadelphia residents who were on that ship, but people will get to know them and their story,” she added. “Even though it’s almost 100 years since this tragedy happened, is still resonates with a lot of people. I’m hoping a lot of people will come out to support the exhibit.”
Upon entering the exhibit, visitors will receive a replica boarding pass with the name of a Philadelphia resident who was on the cruise. The last section of the exhibit will include portraits of Philadelphians on the ship.
The exhibit is produced and curated by J. Joseph Edgette, Ph.D., professor emeritus of education and folklorist emeritus at Widener, and an authority on the Titanic. Edgette’s research has primarily focused on Philadelphians who were on the cruise, such as the Widener family for whom Widener University is named.
Edgette said he was touched and intrigued by the dogs that were also on the cruise. He said there were twelve dogs on the Titanic and only three survived.
“There is such a special bond between people and their pets. For many, they are considered to be family members,” Edgette said. “I don’t think any Titanic exhibit has examined that relationship and recognized those loyal family pets that also lost their lives on the cruise.”
The exhibit will also include displays on the impact the Titanic has had on popular culture, the company that built the Titanic, the details about the ship, the Widener family, the recovery efforts following the tragedy, and how families memorialized members who lost their lives.
A reception will be held on April 14 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the art gallery.
The gallery will be open on Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Wednesdays through Saturdays 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The gallery is located on the Main Campus of Widener University in University Center on 14th Street between Walnut Street and Melrose Avenue in Chester, Pa.
Community college steps up to National Junior College Athletic Association
As the spring sports season kicks off at Delaware County Community College (DCCC), the Phantoms are facing a new level of competition.
This season marks the athletic program’s move into the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA). As members of Region XIX of the NJCAA, the Phantoms strive to continue to excel both in the classroom and on the field.
“The move to the NJCAA will allow our student athletes to compete at a national level against stronger competition,” said Andrew Johnson Jr., director of wellness, athletics and recreation. “Our association with Region XIX and the NJCAA will also promote stronger academic standards for our student-athletes so they will be better prepared to transfer to a four-year institution.”
Founded in the 1930s, the NJCAA serves as the national governing body for two-year college athletic programs and is the second-largest intercollegiate sports organization in the United States.
The college’s transition into the association began earlier this month with the baseball team. The other six sports men’s and women’s basketball, golf, soccer, tennis and volleyball—will follow suit for the 2012-13 academic year.
The move comes on the heels of a historic win by the men’s basketball team. In their final season in the Eastern Pennsylvania Collegiate Conference, the Phantoms beat out Community College of Philadelphia last month with a final score of 85-72, winning the Eastern Pennsylvania Collegiate Conference championship. The hard-fought victory marks the first championship the team has seen in 16 years.
“From the beginning of the season the guys were built to be champions. They bought into the system that the coaches and I laid down and the hard work paid off,” said Dwayne Saunders, coach of DCCC men’s basketball. “To have the championship label and enter the history books at Delaware County Community College is an awesome feeling. We ended the season on a good note and hopefully the momentum we had this season will carry over to next season, especially since we will be a part of the NJCAA.”
As the Phantoms look to next season in the NJCAA, they plan to remain consistent, bring in more talent and continue to win.
Moving to the NJCAA will also give the team the opportunity to compete at the national level against stronger competition. The association also promotes stronger academic standards, so students will be better prepared to transfer to a four-year institution.
“Having won the championship will give our program and College more notoriety and will help us get more students and talented athletes to come to the College,” Johnson said. “It also gives me, the coaches and the players more confidence as we make the move to the NJCAA. I know after watching this team perform this year that we are ready to compete at a national level.”
The mild winter has allowed the pollen season to arrive much earlier than normal.
The spring allergy season usually starts in March or early April, but as a result of this year’s mild winter, people are already suffering from their seasonal allergies.
“The tree season has definitely started about three weeks early, and tree pollen levels are worse than they have been in quite some time,” said Anthony Rooklin, M.D., co-chief of Allergy and Immunology at Crozer-Chester Medical Center. “The mild winter allowed mold to linger. Together with tree pollen, it could make for a miserable spring for those who suffer from seasonal allergies.
“Pollen counts tend to be the highest in the morning,” he added. “So keep windows closed, wash clothes that might have been pollinated, and shower before going to bed. Once pollen is inside it can stick to your clothing and hair, causing major problems.”
Some ways to avoid problems with allergies this season include exercising later in the day, having a pollen-free environment at home, avoiding raw fruits and vegetables, and leaving windows closed.
“Exercise in the late afternoon/evening, because most pollinating plants pollinate between 6 and 10 a.m.,” said Sandra Gawchik, D.O., co-chief of Allergy and Immunology at Crozer Chester Medical Center. “Have a pollen-free environment inside your home. Clean overhead fans, close windows, don’t hang clothes outside to dry, use the air conditioner, and don’t let your outside pet in your bed.
“If you’re not certain about what you’re allergic to, contact someone who is board-certified in allergy because they can help you find out,” she said. “Spring allergies can make you feel miserable. You’re tired, sneezing, blowing your nose, and have itchy or watery eyes. When you’re experiencing these symptoms, all you want is relief.”
Over-the-counter or prescription medication is a common way to treat allergy symptoms. Antihistamines and decongestants are generally available in pill and spray form and are helpful in relieving symptoms.
An inhaled antihistamine, corticosteroid nasal spray, and allergy shots are other options to treat allergy symptoms.
“Allergy injections are also called ‘immunotherapy’ or ‘desensitization shots,’” said Thomas Klein, M.D., chief of the Section of Allergy and Immunology at Delaware County Memorial Hospital. “Allergy injections treat allergic diseases such as hay fever, asthma and bee sting allergy. Shots start out weekly. They progress to every two weeks, then every three weeks and then every four weeks.”
Klein advises that once you are placed on a monthly schedule to continue receiving allergy shots for at least one year.
After one year on a monthly or maintenance schedule, and if allergy symptoms are under very good control, you may be able to stop getting the shots.
“We usually think about stopping shots when the need for allergy medicines has decreased significantly,” he said. “There are so many options out there for allergy symptoms. Patients should work with their doctors to see which option would work for them. No one should have to suffer this allergy season.”
The Philadelphia Union launched a foundation to help the city of Chester youth by incorporating life skills with the game of soccer.
Just over two years ago, the Philadelphia Union opened play in Major League Soccer as the league’s 16th team. As season three for the franchise has just begun, a new launch has come to fruition: the Philadelphia Union Foundation. The Foundation, a registered 501c3, will target inner city youth, particularly in the city of Chester, where PPL (Pennsylvania Power & Light) Park is located.
The foundation mission is to provide opportunities for children through the power of relationships to offer transformational change in the areas of education, community, health and recreation.
“When the Philadelphia Union came to Chester, we put a soccer team on the field,” said Rick Jacobs, foundation executive director. “They attract fans from all over the state, the country and quite frankly in a short time, the world. What we’re looking to do now is take that inclusiveness and wrap ourselves around the city of Chester. This is the work that we’re charged with and challenged with.”
The foundation will work in conjunction with a number of organizations including, the U.S. Soccer Foundation, MLS W.O.R.K.S., Crozer-Keystone Health System, Widener University, and Chester City United, the city’s only club soccer team, which the Union helped launch along with several youth organizations in the Chester area.
Some of the future planned projects of the foundation include a playground build in Chester, health and wellness initiatives, soccer development programs and a series of fundraising events, including the second annual River Cup charity match between Union staff and the Sons of Ben.
The Foundation also lists its building blocks, which include the Philadelphia Union Foundation Giving Our Athletes Life Skills component that provides after-school life skills programming, the provision of safe fields for children to play soccer and the promotion of good health through proper nutrition and the physical development of soccer as a safe and fun after-school activity.
“We’re not talking about these kids becoming professional players, we’re talking about these kids changing a community on their own and changing their lives,” said Nick Sakiewicz, foundation founder and CEO & operating partner of the Philadelphia Union. “This is a matter of the heart for me. This is not about anything other than changing the city and changing the kids that are growing up in it; it’s the right thing to do.
“We have a community that is awesome. If we can just give the kids here some more opportunity, they are going to blossom into an incredible work force, people, husbands, wives, workers, employees, teachers, doctors. That’s something I want to see before I leave this earth.”
In 2011, over 50 percent of children in Chester under the age of 18 live below the poverty line, more than three times the Pennsylvania average. The high school dropout rate in the Chester Upland School District is 14.8 percent, over eight times the state average, according to a recent study.
The problems in Chester are significant, but Foundation chairman Mike Curry — a principal at The Vanguard Group who has served as chairman of the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Board of Governors — believes solutions are ahead.
“When you look at Chester, I want you to look at me,” Curry said. “I want you to look at a person who could’ve easily gone down the wrong path. The difference for me was parents who cared about me, but most importantly I found sports, I found soccer. I found the passion, commitment and dedication.
“I want to be a part of this because I wouldn’t be standing here if it weren’t for programs like the ones we hope to build with the Philadelphia Union Foundation. We want to give people a chance to be the best that they can be. And the potential is indeed there.”
Philadelphia Union player Danny Califf is just one of the players who will be working with the foundation. He believes the foundation will help inspire kids off the field.
“I’m really excited to be a part of this,” he said. “Soccer has allowed me to travel, learn about different cultures, and different people. It’s given me and my family so much. Now that I’m in a place like Philadelphia and get to play for the Union, it’s a platform. It’s a platform that I feel has enabled me and enabled us to reach out and help people, and help kids in this community, in Philadelphia and in Chester.
“I’m just so stoked to be here and use this platform to do something that’s bigger than me and bigger than us. At the end of the day it’s not about how much money you have in the bank, it’s about the lives you affect. Hopefully we can lift some kids up and lift some people up that aren’t as fortunate as we are.”