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2019-5-10

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Hiring Event at one of Richmond's TOP Workplaces - May 18th

Care Advantage locations, simultaneously across the Commonwealth, are hosting a Hiring Event on Saturday, May 18th from 9am-1pm!

Looking for a new job? Recently voted the BEST Homecare Provider by over 3000 readers of the Richmond Times-Dispatch, AS WELL AS NAMED A Top Workplace in 2019 -  Care Advantage is the largest privately owned home care provider in the state of Virginia.

Since we began in 1988, we have ensured our clients have the care and support they need to remain safe, healthy, and happy in their home environment. “Care Advantage is growing and we need to hire amazing caregivers to fulfill the needs in our local communities. We hope to engage our local counties, cities and towns in the Commonwealth to let them know in these tough economic times, we are here for you. Our senior community is growing fast and they need care, we are ready to provide them with compassionate, excellent caregivers so they can age in place with dignity.” Said CEO, Tim Hanold.

Care Advantage is looking for a variety of positions in all aspects of home health care including (Personal and Skilled Care):

  • Registered Nurses – Richmond and surrounding locations
  • Certified Nursing Assistants – al locations
  • Personal Care Aides – all locations
  • Licensed Practical Nurses – all locations
  • Physical Therapy Assistant - Richmond
  • Physical Therapists - Richmond
  • Occupational Therapists - Richmond
  • Clinical Supervisors - Richmond
  • Office support staff – all locations
  • Corporate Recruiter - Richmond
  • Accounting staff – Richmond, Corporate office only
  • Sales and Marketing - Richmond

Please contact your local office or stop by one of our branches to get more information.

All locations will be hosting a Career Fair & Open House on May 18th, 2019 from 9a-1p. Stop by - we'd love to meet you! Or apply online today athttps://careadvantageinc.applicantpro.com/jobs/. You can also engage with our facebook event: https://business.facebook.com/events/612644405839024/

Office locations include:

  • Alexandria, Virginia
  • Charlottesville, Virginia
  • Chesapeake, Virginia
  • Colonial Heights, Virginia
  • Emporia, Virginia
  • Franklin, Virginia
  • Fredericksburg, Virginia
  • Harrisonburg, Virginia
  • Mechanicsville, Virginia
  • Midlothian, Virginia
  • Newport News, Virginia
  • Portsmouth, Virginia
  • Richmond, Virginia
  • Roanoke, Virginia
  • Staunton, Virginia

Editorial-Food Insecurity in Emporia

food in·se·cu·ri·ty

noun

noun: food insecurity

  1. the state of being without reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food.

"more than 800 million people live every day with hunger or food insecurity as their constant companion"

In the article from the Capital News Service that appears below, there is an infographic with the percentage of “food insecure people” in each locality in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

I have added a caption to this graphic that notes the percentage of the residents of the City of Emporia who are “food insecure.”

24.4 percent (1,341 people) of our neighbors are considered to be “food insecure,” meaning that they have no reliable access to nutritious foods, including fresh produce. 16.8 percent (2,832 people) of the citizens of Greensville County are also considered “food insecure.”

What is being done to reduce that number?

It is unclear if Congress will be able to help, but the bill sponsored by our own Representative, Donald McEachin, failed to classify Emporia as a “food desert,” even with the enhancements to that definition. According to the bill in question, any locality with 20% or more of the citizens living in poverty, or where the median household income is 80% or less than the statewide median household income is a “food desert.”

Here in Emporia, 30.9% of the population lives in poverty. That percentage equates to 1,968 people. Nearly 2000 people live below the federal poverty level.  Our median household income of $27,426 is 39.89% of the statewide median household income of $68,756. In Greensville County 17% of the population lives below the poverty level and the median household income of $42,121 is less than 80% of the statewide median income. (Sources https://datausa.io/profile/geo/emporia-va/#economy, https://datausa.io/profile/geo/greensville-county-va)

Given both of those numbers the City of Emporia and Greensville County should be considered “food deserts” under the definition of the Healthy Food Access for all Americans Act (HFAAA).

There was a bill in the Virginia General Assembly that provided $5 million to help attract, build or renovate stores in localities that are underserved. That bill died in the Appropriations Committee of the House of Delegates.

On a local level, it is up to non-government-organizations to fill the gap. The most visible of those in the City is the Samaritan Helping Hands Home on North Main Street where lunch is provided on weekdays. During the summer, Greensville County Public Schools participates in the USDA sponsored summer lunch program. Feedmore, the foodbank for Central Virginia serves three agencies, only one of which is actually in the City.

As an offshoot of the summer feeding program, Main Street United Methodist Church offers a free Community Meal on the fourth Sunday of each month at 5:30 pm. This meal is, in addition an opportunity to help feed neighbors in need, for anyone who shows up. Food is prepared for 50 people, and all are welcome. For full disclosure, I have a leadership role in the Community Meal Ministry at MSUMC. If anyone is interested in starting a similar ministry at their own church on a different Sunday, I will gladly help.

In Greensville County, where 16.8% of the citizens are “food insecure,” there are two locations served by Feedmore: Elnora Jarrell Worship Center and Garden of Prayer, but only El Shaddai Ministry (the former St. James Episcopal Church) is in the City of Emporia.

At Elnora Jarrell Worship Center food is distributed from 3:30 to 4 pm every Tuesday and Thursday and from 9 to 11 am on the second Saturdays.

At Garden of Prayer food is distributed on the first Monday, but no time is given by the Feedmore website.

Here in the City El Shaddai Ministry distributes food from 9 to 11 am on the second and third Saturdays.

For the combined City and County, food is distributed for 10 and one half hours each month. Logistically, 10 ½ hours is not nearly enough time to distribute food for 4,173 people. I have personally approached Feedmore about adding another location. Had they been amenable, I would have presented that to the Church Council, with the hope of adding our parking lot to the list of locations for the Mobile Food Pantry. Feedmore shut me down in quick order, but I am armed with statistics, and will try again.

Here are the days and times for agencies served by Feedmore, copied and pasted directly from their website:

El Shaddai Ministry
609 Halifax Street , Emporia, VA 23847
Phone: 434-594-2680
Thursday, 09:00 AM to 11:00 AM, 2nd & 3rd

Elnora Jarrell Worship Center
490 Liberty Road, Emporia, VA 23847
Phone: 434-336-9990
Tuesday, 03:30 PM to 04:00 PM, WEEKLY
Thursday, 03:30 PM to 04:00 PM, WEEKLY
Saturday, 09:00 AM to 11:00 AM, 3RD

Garden of Prayer
386 Slagles Lake Road, Emporia, VA 23847
Phone: 434-632-1252
Monday, 1st

It is budget season for both the City and County, yet neither budget has any assistance for feeding the hungry.

The proposed city budget includes a 4% increase for water and a 4% increase for sewer, plus a $2 increase for sanitation. That is a $3.63 increase on the minimum-usage monthly water bill (the minimum billing for water/sewer/sanitation was about $30 15 years ago and will now be nearly $100). That $3.63 is got to come from somewhere in the family budget, and given that many people in poverty are already forced to decide between paying the bills and buying food (and medicine) for their families, I would wager that the money will come from the already meager grocery budget.

The lack of nutritional food increases health issues, so it is no wonder that our community is also one of the least healthy of all localities in the Commonwealth, ranking 128 out of 133 in Health Outcomes (http://www.emporianews.com/content/report-shows-geographic-disparities-health-virginia).

Long term, education is the key to getting our community out of this situation. With a well educated populace, we will be better able to attract business and industry. Even if we were to improve our schools, we would likely not see results for a generation, especially given the number of years that the system has been under-funded.

Greensville County has a major Industrial Park in the works, but still refuses to do more that level-fund the Greensville County Public Schools. In fact, the proposed budgets for both the City and the County only level-fund our schools, as opposed to full funding – leaving the schools with more than one-million dollars less than they asked for. What major industry wants to locate in a place where they cannot hire an educated work-force?

Our library has cut hours in the time I have lived here. If our local governments were forward-thinking, the library would also receive increased funding, especially given the lack of broadband internet access in the more rural areas of the county and the economic hardships faced by the poor economy in the area (those living in poverty cannot afford the steep price of high-speed internet from Comcast), and the computers at the library are the only source of high-speed internet access for many.

Greensville County is spending millions of dollars to move Social Services to the County (most of the shared services have been moved out of the city), that money could be better spent elsewhere. In the city, they are apparently still considering spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to tear down the auditorium, which is (once again) money that could be better spent elsewhere. The City’s share of the debt service on the new Social Services building in the County is already more than $100,000, and the building is only in the initial phases of construction. Citizens are also on the hook for the debt service for the addition to the Greensville County Sherriff’s Department of which the City’s share is nearly $40K.

An increase in water service - for water that is not even palatable and leaves black mold-like deposits in pipes and toilets - is only going to continue to hurt the poorest among us. It is high time that both the City and County find new streams of revenue.

In the City, our prepared meals tax is already at the maximum, and revenue from our transient tax is projected to fall now that all of the power plants are finished. City Council is no longer considering a Cigarette Tax. A cigarette tax was proposed in previous budgets and people were very upset. The outcry was enough that the idea was scrapped. It is unclear if it was considered again, but the idea is not in the proposed budget. Nor were any other new sources of revenue.

Unless our City Council and Board of Supervisors drastically change their priorities, large numbers of our friends and neighbors are destined to be poor, hungry, sick and under-educated.

Farms Feed Food Banks to Fight Hunger

In the above infographic provided with this Capital News Service Article, please notice that EMPORIA IS THE SECOND MOST FOOD INSECURE LOCALITY IN THE COMMONWEALTH. 24.4% of our neighbors do not have reliable access to nutritious foods, including fresh fruits and vegetables.

By Kathleen Shaw and Corrine Fizer, Capital News Service

RICHMOND — Lettuce, turnips and beets — oh my! Vegetables and flowers sprout side by side in a bountiful garden in Northside Richmond. But the harvest is not going to a grocery store or market stand. Instead, all of the crops will be donated to local food banks so low-income communities have access to fresh foods.

The Kroger Community Kitchen Garden, situated within Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, is a major contributor to Feed More, the parent organization for food banks and other agencies fighting hunger in 34 counties and cities in Central Virginia.

In the past, food banks relied on nonperishable donations from supermarkets and other businesses. Today, many of the contributions are not rejects from retail but fresh picked from local farms.

Farm-to-food-bank programs bring healthier options to people facing “food insecurity” — living without means or access to nutritious food. Such programs also offer producers an alternative market for the fruit and vegetables they have grown.

A national organization called Feeding America partners with food banks across the state, including Feed More in Richmond and the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank in Charlottesville, to create a network of hunger relief. Annie Andrews, director of operations at Feed More, said the movement has redefined the support food banks can provide for struggling communities.

“Ten, 15 years ago, food banks were reliant on shelf stable product; you looked at it as a pantry. We’ve absolutely converted to fresh and perishable food,” Andrews said.

The need for food is not solved by a corner store that sells chips and hot dogs. Farm-to-food-bank programs aim to supply better quality food that doesn’t just fill hungry bellies but also provides nutrition to prevent health problems.

Last year, Feed More received nearly $45 million in donated food — almost 30 million pounds of groceries. While retailers contributed more than 60%, about 12% came directly from growers. Produce accounted for 29% of all donated food.

Greg Knight, food sourcing manager for the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank, said most people who rely on food banks are not unemployed but rather underemployed. Often, they must choose between which basic needs they can afford, he said.

“We hear from clients that sometimes they have to make decisions between ‘Is it going to be gasoline today, or will it be groceries? Will it be the medication that my son or daughter needs, or will it be groceries or the electric bill?’” Knight said.

“There’s not enough funds to cover the immediate basic needs — so that’s where we step in. At least we can provide a good supplemental box of food that will then be nutritious and alleviate some of the other pressures.”

The state and federal governments have encouraged farmers to help out.

In 2016, Virginia instituted a tax credit as an incentive for farmers to donate crops to regional, nonprofit food banks. In exchange for the donation, farmers receive a 30% tax credit equal to the market value up to $5,000 yearly.

Knight said the tax credit is a great way to support farmers and provide food for those in need.

“What I’m paying for the box is only a portion of what the farmer would get at market. So he can take the difference between the two — market price and what I’m paying — and that difference then becomes a donation for him,” Knight said.

On the national level, Congress passed the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 to allocate $867 billion in subsidies over the next 10 years to support farmers harmed by fluctuating markets or poor harvests. The food purchased by the U.S. Department of Agriculture from farmers is often resold to food banks like Feed More at a reduced cost.

Community plants seeds for change

The USDA reported that since 2012, about 10% of households in Virginia qualified as “food insecure.” Andrews said the definition of that term is constantly evolving and varies by area.

In a densely populated urban area, she said, it means “there are no grocery stores within a mile.” But in a rural area, food insecurity (or a “food desert”) means “there’s not a grocery store within 10 miles,” Andrews added.

“The gentrification of cities coming into play and people moving into the suburbs — that’s where you’re kind of pushing some of that working poor out,” Andrews said. She said Feed More is seeing a rising need for help in the suburbs — “what you wouldn’t think of as a food insecurity area.”

The Kroger Community Kitchen Garden at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden and Shalom Farms in Midlothian are among the biggest farm donors to Feed More.

Laurel Matthew, senior horticulturist at Lewis Ginter, oversees the community garden and decides what to grow in collaboration with Feed More.

“We have six varieties of summer squash. We have four varieties of eggplant. Lettuce, beans, peas, you name it — we’re trying to get it in the ground,” Matthew said.

The Kroger Community Kitchen Garden is an urban gardening program that has harvested and donated over 50,000 pounds of produce to Feed More since it began in 2009.

The community garden is one-third acre funded in part by Kroger Mid-Atlantic under the company’s “Zero Hunger | Zero Waste” initiative. A volunteer base of 700 worked last year with on-staff horticulturalists to practice organic management of the garden and sustain a healthy harvest for the food bank.

Food banks tackle food-related health disparities

Feed More’s agency network involves almost 300 nonprofit organizations such as soup kitchens and emergency shelters. Healthy Harvest Food Bank joined the network in 2010 and last year became Feed More’s first Partner Distribution Organization, which aims to distribute food across 24 of Virginia’s rural agencies. The agency network distributed 19.3 million pounds of food during the past fiscal year.

Healthy Harvest Food Bank serves 12,000 people every month through 25 locations across six counties. In 2012, the food bank conducted a survey and found that 32% of its clients had diabetes.

The food bank partnered with Northern Neck-Middlesex Free Health Clinic and Virginia Cooperative Extension to begin a Healthy Food Pharmacy to teach clients with Type 2 diabetes how to prepare flavorful, nutritious meals to combat health issues. Participants in the eight-week class on average lowered their blood pressure by 17% and low-density lipoproteins cholesterol by 26%. (LDL is considered “bad” cholesterol because of its artery-clogging properties.)

Mark Kleinschmidt, president and CEO of Healthy Harvest Food Bank, said the Northern Neck and Upper Middle Peninsula region suffers from a culture of genetics and a lack of resources to escape the health crisis trap.

“We got a Food Lion and a Walmart, and there’s not that healthy options to eat at whatsoever,” Kleinschmidt said.

He said people want to eat healthy foods but often can’t.

“For one, it’s not available. And two, it’s a cost issue,” Kleinschmidt said. “I think there is always going to be this issue. The Northern Neck will never be big enough to have a Kroger or a Harris Teeter or a Wegman that does have healthier options.”

Legislation to create the Virginia Grocery Investment Program and Fund was introduced to the General Assembly this session. It aimed to provide financial incentives for grocery stores to expand in food deserts.

After passing unanimously in the Senate, the bill died in the House of Delegates. A similar House bill was killed in a House subcommittee early in the session.

Food banks rescue food from waste

According to the USDA, 30-40% of food is wasted in the U.S. annually. Grocery chains such as Lidl have joined the movement against food waste by selling 10-pound crates of “ugly” produce for $2. Food banks are incorporating the “ugly food” movement into their means of sourcing quality food for people living in food insecure areas.

The Mid-Atlantic Regional Cooperative was created by Feeding America and stretches from New England to Virginia, providing nearly 1.5 million pounds of produce to food banks each month. The cooperative works to minimize food waste by purchasing “ugly,” rejected food at a large produce market. That produce is then sold back to a network of 23 food banks, including Feed More, for a reduced price.

Andrews said the rescued, unsold produce purchased from large companies along the East Coast saves the stores money, reduces food waste and increases food bank access to resources.

“We offer the opportunity for [grocery stores] not to have an increased trash bill and to be able to do something good with the things that they aren’t able to use and sell,” Andrews said.

Register Your Team for the Reekes Memorial Tournament

The Southside Virginia Community College Foundation presents the Fred “Freddie” Reekes Annual Memorial Golf Classic on Wednesday, June 5, 2019 at the Lake Gaston Golf Club.  Sign up now to participate in this highly anticipated event.  This year, Honorary Tournament Chairs are Shep Moss, Ken Peace, David Talbert and Andy Walker, all of whom were influenced by  Reekes when he taught at Brunswick High School.

The event is a Captain’s Choice Format with three flights awarded, first, second and third.  For more information or to register a team or become a sponsor contact

Donna Worley at 434 939 1008, donna.worley@southside.edu Bobby Wrenn at 434 594 4149 or Mary Elkins at 434 949 1051 or Mary. Elkins@southside.edu

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