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News stories tagged with "poverty"

Toys for Tots is a national program run by the United States Marine Corps Reserve. Photo: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/marine_corps/8245135160/">United States Marine Corps</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
Toys for Tots is a national program run by the United States Marine Corps Reserve. Photo: United States Marine Corps, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Possible letdown for needy St. Lawrence Co. children

There's a chance the Toys for Tots program won't be able to help kids in need in St. Lawrence County this holiday season. Last year, Toys for Tots made Christmas a little brighter for more than 6,000 kids in the county.

Toys for Tots is a national charity, run by the United States Marine Corps Reserve. Each holiday season, the volunteer staff organizes toy drives and gives presents to needy children.

This year, it's complicated. Raymond Cutway, the longtime coordinator for the county, is stepping down. And the organization is having trouble finding someone to take his place.  Go to full article
Prospective foster parent Jared Carey works as the production coordinator for the Community Performance Series at SUNY Potsdam. He's also the business manager for the Orchestra of Northern New York. Photo: Zach Hirsch
Prospective foster parent Jared Carey works as the production coordinator for the Community Performance Series at SUNY Potsdam. He's also the business manager for the Orchestra of Northern New York. Photo: Zach Hirsch

What it takes to be a North Country foster parent

This week, we've been reporting stories on foster care in the North Country (find more stories here). A foster home is supposed to be a safe place for kids. And foster parents are the people who make that happen.

Not everyone is cut out to be a foster parent. Getting certified takes a lot of work. Foster parents have to get a background check, they have to take classes, and their house has to get inspected, to name just a few of the steps. In this last installment of our series, we go behind the scenes.  Go to full article
Case planner Matthew McAllister runs through an exercise with prospective foster parents. Photo: Zach Hirsch
Case planner Matthew McAllister runs through an exercise with prospective foster parents. Photo: Zach Hirsch

North Country fostering: "The need's not going anywhere"

Over the last few months, we've been researching foster care in the North Country (find more stories here). Yesterday, we met Dominique Tarkenton-Otto, who gave us the children's perspective. Now, we hear from the case workers who help those kids.

Zach Hirsch talks with Martha Foley about some lingering questions about his profile of Dominique, and the bigger picture.  Go to full article
Dominique Tarkenton and her foster mom, Tammy Otto, at Tammy's house earlier this month. Photo: Zach Hirsch
Dominique Tarkenton and her foster mom, Tammy Otto, at Tammy's house earlier this month. Photo: Zach Hirsch

"I call her Mom": a foster family in Macomb

Tens of thousands of kids end up in foster care each year in New York State. And a lot of the time, it's because they were abused or neglected at home. Foster care is supposed to be a short-term arrangement. Child Protective Services gets kids out, and a foster care agency gives them a safe place to stay. The idea is, they'll go home when things stabilize.

But it's not a simple process. When the caseworker first arrives to pick a child up, a moment they call the "removal," it can be terrifying. Many children put up a fight. But Dominique Tarkenton didn't resist. At 11, she knew it was time to go. "I decided I just wanted to leave, to get out. And not come back."  Go to full article
The Canton United Methodist Church regularly offers free meals. Photo: Zach Hirsch
The Canton United Methodist Church regularly offers free meals. Photo: Zach Hirsch

Systemic hunger, right here in the North Country

In the North Country, there is an ongoing conversation about poverty, health, and hunger. Over the last five years, 40 percent more people living in St. Lawrence County have signed up for SNAP benefits, or food stamps.

Nationwide, one in six Americans doesn't know where the next meal is coming from.

Last week, about a hundred people gathered in Potsdam to watch A Place at the Table, a documentary about hunger. It's the latest film from the group behind Food, Inc.  Go to full article
The Wieczorek family. Photo: Sarah Harris
The Wieczorek family. Photo: Sarah Harris

Desiree's story: Your questions answered on student homelessness

Last week we brought you the story of 16-year-old Desiree Wieczorek. Desiree's a 10th grader at Parishville-Hopkinton Central School. For about five months last year, she and her family were homeless. They lived outside, in the woods. And they're not the only ones: there were over 3,200 homeless kids in the North Country last year.

Desiree's story went viral last week. It was seen by tens of thousands of people and generated a lot of questions about homelessness in the region. Sarah Harris and Martha Foley answered some of those questions in a conversation this morning. A list of resources is also below.  Go to full article
Desiree with her dad, Kenny. Photo: Sarah Harris
Desiree with her dad, Kenny. Photo: Sarah Harris

Sixteen and homeless, pt. 2: homeless no more

Today, we continue the story of 16-year-old Desiree Wieczorek. She's in 10th grade at Parishville-Hopkinton Central School. As Sarah Harris reported yesterday, Desiree and her family spent much of last year living outside, homeless. Today we'll go see to the land where they lived. And we'll learn more about how North Country schools support homeless students.  Go to full article
County officials and others at the panel in Canton on Feb. 5, 2014. Photo: David Sommerstein
County officials and others at the panel in Canton on Feb. 5, 2014. Photo: David Sommerstein

How St. Lawrence County officials hope to counteract poverty

Late last year, the Associated Press wrote that income inequality in the United States is at its worst since the 1920s.

Poverty is nothing new in St. Lawrence County: It's struggled economically for decades. The county has one of the highest unemployment rates in New York state, and people lean heavily here on social services. At a recent panel discussion at SUNY Canton, six of the people tasked with providing those services talked about how to deal with the problems the county's poorest residents are facing.  Go to full article
Photo: USDA, Some rights reserved.
Photo: USDA, Some rights reserved.

What's in the Farm Bill for the North Country?

A revamped Farm Bill could reach the House floor for a vote as early as today. The massive legislation which sets agricultural and nutrition policy for the country has already been scuttled two years in a row. But bipartisan negotiators say they have a $500 billion five-year package that will pass.

David Sommerstein joins Martha Foley to talk about what the Farm Bill would mean for the North Country.  Go to full article
LIHEAP helps feed the monster in the basement. Photo: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/skewgee/5597260862/">Matthew Hurst</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
LIHEAP helps feed the monster in the basement. Photo: Matthew Hurst, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Schumer: Low-income heating aid boosted by $169M

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) Sen. Charles Schumer says federal funding for low-income heating assistance will increase by $169 million in the coming fiscal year, to a total of $3.4 billion.

Schumer had called on appropriators to increase funding in light of record low temperatures last week.  Go to full article

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