Froggy 97 Hosts Successful Cash & Can Drive

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Cash and Can Drive Oct 10 2013 02 WEB

Our friends at Froggy 97 FM organized a Cash & Can Drive at Price Chopper last week.  Thanks to their efforts, the Food Pantry shelves are well stocked.  Community members donated a whopping 1,500 pounds of food and more than $300 in support of the Community Action Food Pantry.

Our sincere thanks to the Froggy gang, James Pond, Web Foote, Rose and Mark Gaines, Bob Kennedy of Price Chopper, and the many friendly individuals who stopped by to say hello and offer their generous support of the Food Pantry!

 

Cash and Can Drive Oct 10 2013 WEB

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Angel Investors Assist Head Start

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Next week, 257 at-risk children in Jefferson County – and thousands more around the country – will continue to attend Head Start, thanks to a generous donation made available to the National Head Start Association (NHSA).  Philanthropists Laura and John Arnold of Houston extended up to $10 million in emergency funding to provide assistance to Head Start programs that were forced to close or facing closure due to the government shutdown.  Money for Head Start in fiscal year 2014 has not yet been appropriated due to the stalemate in Washington, leaving some programs with no access to federal funds.

Community Action Planning Council was preparing to close the local Head Start program after October 11, provided lawmakers had not enacted an appropriation. When Head Start doors close, the affects are devastating to low-income families. Parents often miss work or school as they scramble to find alternative child care. They rely on Head Start to provide nutritious meals, medical screenings and high quality early learning opportunities to prepare their children for kindergarten.

Funds made available by Laura and John Arnold are expected to help keep Head Start programs running through the end of October should the government shutdown continue. “We are extremely grateful for this generous act of kindness,” said Melinda Gault, executive director for Community Action Planning Council. “Laura and John Arnold are giving hope to low-income families around the country at a time when it appears their government has turned their backs on them. In the longer term, private investors are not a viable solution to the funding crisis threatening the nation’s poorest families and the economy. Elected officials have a duty to come to a resolution that protects and preserves vital programs such as Head Start.”

Head Start is a federally-funded preschool for children of low-income families. Community Action Planning Council operates Head Start centers in Watertown, Carthage, Dexter, Adams Center and Antwerp. Community Action Planning Council serves more than 10,000 individuals annually through a variety of programs, including Weatherization Assistance Program, Jefferson-Lewis Childcare Project and Family Center Services – all of which rely on federal funding. At this time, it is unclear as to whether other federal funding sources will be affected by the continued government shutdown.

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Government Shutdown Impacts Head Start Program

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Funding to support Community Action Planning Council’s Head Start program has been temporarily suspended as part of the government shutdown.  The agency recently received word from the Administration for Children and Families that funds would not be released to the program, which was slated to begin a new contract year on October 1, 2013.  Community Action Planning Council is drawing upon a limited reserve fund to keep the program running through October 11.  If lawmakers fail to enact an appropriation to continue funding to the federal government by then, the agency will be forced to suspend Head Start programming to 257 children and their families.

The consequences of curtailing Head Start are far reaching.  Parents who work or attend school will be left without child care.  The gap in early childhood learning could impede school readiness – an area of focus for Head Start and preschool programs nationwide.  Business revenue will be lost to local vendors who provide transportation services, food and supplies to Head Start.  Fifty seven direct service staff and a number of support staff will be sent home without pay until funding has been restored.

“The government shutdown presents a serious economic situation for our community and has a demoralizing impact on so many families, children, and businesses,” said Melinda Gault, executive director for Community Action Planning Council.  “Closing our Head Start program would be detrimental to local families – and the community as a whole.”

Head Start is a federally-funded preschool for children of low-income families.  Community Action Planning Council operates Head Start centers in Watertown, Carthage, Dexter, Adams Center and Antwerp.  Community Action Planning Council is also home to Weatherization Assistance Program, Jefferson-Lewis Childcare Project and Family Center Services – all of which rely on federal funding.  At this time, it is unclear as to whether other federal funding is in jeopardy.

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