Spent the day in Franklin Furnace on a very hot June day. Worked in tandem with Lutheran Social Services as they distributed food to hungry Scioto County folks. People came from near and far to stand in line for 2 hours to get food assistance. We were able to complete many applications and provide referrals for other service needs.
Below are a few photos:
Applying for benefits
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
After a successful trip to Franklin Furnace, it was time to get ready for our next event. The good news: It was in Columbus. After driving to Kentucky and back, Columbus sounded nice. The bad news: The event was 12 hours long. It ended at 7pm. Which means it started at...
Despite the early morning, Erin and I were looking forward to this event. Dr. Brian Kvitko, DDS was hosting a massive free dental clinic. Free cleanings, free, extractions, free fillings. And when I say massive, I mean MASSIVE. Over three hundred people were there waiting for dental help.
So Erin and I (this time with a cameo from National Service Member Extraordinaire, Emily Forsee) worked the crowd to see how many people wanted to apply for benefits.
We were honestly shocked by the response. Erin and I finished 21 applications. That made this trip -in terms of raw numbers - one of our five most successful ever. A plurality of the applications were for food assistance, but we ran the gamut from Medicaid to Medicare Premium Assistance to the ever-in-demand Golden Buckeye cards.
Twenty-one applications over 12 hours. And a majority of them were before noon when people were waiting hours just to get a cavity filled. I applaud Dr. Kvitko for helping fill a need and I am glad we were there to make sure people's dinner tables were taken care of as well as their teeth.
But even though this event was on a Friday, our work for the week was far from done. A Saturday trip to Cleveland loomed over the horizon.
Part 3 coming soon.
Monday, June 20, 2011
When we're setting up a schedule for the OBB Mobile, we're only looking for good events. If something looks like a good fit and the date is open on the calendar, we're off. Every now and then this leaves in a position for a lot of travel in a short period of time. Last week was one of those times.
It started Thursday at a Lutheran Social Services food distribution in Franklin Furnace. Franklin Furnace is so far south that we took the OBB Mobile out of Ohio for the very first time. We drove through Kentucky* to get to this small little hamlet in Scioto County.
We had been to this food distribution before. It's one of the rare events where our satellite dish isn't just a luxury, it is a necessity. There's no cell phone service down there and no cell phone service means no wireless cards. It's satellite Internet or bust.
Once we set up our dish, the demand for help was unrelenting. Erin and I noticed a pattern when we met dozens of disabled Ohioans who didn't have Golden Buckeye cards. Unfortunately, hardly anyone had their disability acceptance letters on them, but we let everyone know that if they took that letter to a local library or senior center, they could be receiving discounts.
We had more traditional success with a woman named Tashanda Boggs. Mrs. Boggs was working part-time, her husband was on unemployment, and her brother just moved in with them after having trouble finding work. With two people earning income in the home, Tashanda didn't think she would be eligible for food assistance. In fact, she was eligible for about $160 a month in food. She appeared ecstatic.
Over the course of four hours, Erin and I (with a cameo from our manager, Zach Reat) completed seven applications. That's a good day. But we spoke to scores of people. That's an awesome day. We look forward to returning.
Part 2 coming soon!
*In Kentucky we were driving on the Country Music Highway. That reminded me of Loretta Lynn, Kentucky's greatest daughter. Unfortunately, our portion of highway was named after Billy Ray "Father of Miley" Cyrus. Ugh.
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
I spent the weekend in Henry County with our precious OBB Mobile for a couple of benefit clinics. We had our usual successes *brushes dirt off of shoulder* and we spoke to quite a few people in a sparsely populated part of the state.
But today I want to focus on a failure of mine. A senior citizen living off of less than $600 in Social Security who wouldn't let me help her sign up for SNAP Benefits. Part of my gig is to try reallllly hard to convince potentially eligible Ohioans to apply for these programs and when I can't achieve that with someone it really chafes me.
But this client was especially sad. Her reasons for not applying for food stamps: 1. The deficit (ugh) and 2. Her local pantry has lots of tuna fish and that's what makes her happy.
i hate canned tuna
I am going to ignore #1 because that's the sort of thing that will drive me insane, but #2 was especially heartbreaking. I tried explaining to her that with an EBT card she can buy loads of tuna fish. Heck, she can buy the fancy tuna fish that comes in a bag. She mentioned depending on eggs because they stretch meals out and keep her full. With an EBT card, she wouldn't have to do that anymore. And of course the money that goes into grocery stores can help people in her hometown achieve employment.
My colleagues saw my efforts go up in smoke and gave me the "at least you planted a seed" condolences. But I don't want a seed! I want her on benefits.
Next time I am in Napoleon, OH, I am going to be on the lookout for her. This isn't over yet, not by a longshot.