I heard from Kevin Noonan, Director of Open Pantry Community Services, yesterday. I knew the funding situation for two of the OPCS most important programs, the Food Pantry and the Loaves and Fishes Soup Kitchen, had not improved. Money was not allocated by the House of Representatives and although it's technically still possible, the odds are very much against it. I wrote some about what a catastrophe for Springfield's poor that loss or reduction of these programs would be this last April. Nothing has improved since then.
Kevin has been trying for a month to follow up with a presentation to the Springfield Finance Control Board and thought he had succeeded for this Monday but it turns out that that presentation must be made at the public speak-out-- three minutes only, thank you.
If you care about the well-being of poor people in Springfield, please come to Monday's Control Board meeting at 10:30 at City Hall. Let the Control Board know how important it is to maintain these services.
I know things are getting worse for almost everybody but when you get right down to the basics-- being able to eat, keep a roof over your head, and keep your place heated and lighted-- many poor people are already going without. One hundred gallons of heating oil is almost $450. Food prices are still going up, and the cost of rental housing certainly isn't going down. I wrote this before, but think again: last year more than 27,000 people-- in a city of less than 150,000!-- came to the Open Pantry Food Pantry for help. People ate a meal at the Loaves & Fishes Soup Kitchen more than 100,000 times.
I'd hate to think we'll need to rely on Food Not Bombs to feed our city's hungry.