Cumberland County Food Assessment

Fiscal Sponsorship:  A 360 degree perspective

Trust for Conservation Innovation

Tri County Community Action – Helping People. Changing Lives.

The mission of Tri County Community Action is to build on the strengths and resources available, provide solutions for complex issues, and empower individuals, families, and communities to move out of poverty. The Promise of Community Action, is to change people’s lives, embody the spirit of hope, improve communities, and make America a better place to live. We care about the entire community, and we are dedicated to helping people help themselves and each other. Our Vision is that we all live in a community free from poverty. Our work creates strong families and thriving communities. Tri County Community Action uses a results oriented and outcome focused approach to promote self-sufficiency, family stability and community revitalization to eradicate poverty, through empowerment and helping people help themselves. Historically, the agency mobilized funding and established an array of programs and services to address its stated mission, to create and maximize the resources necessary to address and eliminate barriers that individuals and families face in achieving economic self-sufficiency. Over fifty years after the organization was incorporated, it is still designated as the principle anti-poverty planning organization in the tri-county area.

Purpose of Report
The 1998 Community Services Block Grant Reauthorization Act requires that Community Action agencies complete a comprehensive assessment of community needs which also assesses agency resources and identifies improvements and outcomes. Additionally, Informational Memorandum 138, related to the Organizational Standards for Community Action agencies, requires a community assessment every three years, which includes relevant data, key findings and is accepted by the organization’s governing board. As a result, the process utilized by the agency to complete the assessment was solely conducted by in-house staff and reviewed by the Board of Director’s Planning and Evaluation Committee. This assessment reports on the demographic profile of families living in Cumberland, Dauphin and Perry Counties, and the needs of our low-income residents.

Looking for more information, here are some suggestions from Eric’s Library:

Reinventing Food Banks and Pantries – New Tools to End Hunger.  Katie S. Martin

When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurts the Poor … and Yourself.  Steve Corbett & Brian Fikkert

Toxic Charity: How Churches and Charities Hurt Those They Help (And How to Reverse It).  Robert D. Lupton

The Wealth of the Poor – How Valuing Every Neighbor Restores Hope in Our Cities.  Larry M. James

Scarcity – Why Having Too Little Means So Much. Sendhil Mullainathan and Eldar Shafir

The Stop – How The Fight for Good Food Transformed a Community and Inspired a Movement. Nick Saul and Andrea Curtis

During a crisis, philanthropic and government funding rightfully targets the most extreme and obvious needs — hunger, homelessness, and, in the case of the pandemic, medical care. Clothing for struggling families is unlikely to even make the list.

But clothing insecurity, or the lack of sufficient, clean, seasonal, and size-appropriate apparel, is a much more serious problem then many people understand. If an individual or a family can’t pay the rent or afford to put food on the table, basics like underwear, socks, and shoes become luxuries.  Click here for the complete article. 

Context: 2020 Data and CARES – Click here for complete report.
▰ In April 2020, Fourth Economy created a similar economic update and forecast for YCEA that projected COVID’s impact on York County businesses, households, and institutions.
▰ The data informed the work of the YoCo Strong Recovery Task Force and the County’s allocation of $40.5M in CARES Act funds, including the way in which we prioritized $16.5M in grants to businesses and non-profits.

▰ Just as in 2020, we intend this data to help inform decisions about how funds are distributed and how we can structure advocacy efforts for policies that will benefit York County residents and businesses.

This report was made possible with funding from the York County Community Foundation (YCCF) and the United Way of York County.

On a Single Night in January 2020
• 580,466 people – about 18 of every 10,000 people in the United States – experienced homelessness across the United States.
• Six in 10 people experiencing homelessness (61%), were staying in sheltered locations, and nearly four in 10 (39%) were unsheltered.
• More than two-thirds of all people experiencing homelessness were in households with only adults (70%). Households with only adults who were staying in unsheltered locations comprised the largest single segment of the total homeless population (36%), followed by individuals staying in shelters (34%). Thirty percent of people experiencing homelessness did so as part of a family with at least one adult and one child under 18 years of age, and most people in families were sheltered.
• Less than one percent of people experiencing homelessness, 3,598 people, were children under 18 without an adult present.

Click here to view full report. 

Cultural Intelligence: The Pathway of Inclusion and Justice

The love of Jesus reaches beyond diversity to coexistence and true community.

Article published by Christianity Today.  Click here for full article.

The release of this ALICE Report for Pennsylvania comes during an unprecedented crisis — the COVID-19 pandemic. While our world changed significantly in March 2020 with the impact of this global, dual health and economic crisis, ALICE remains central to the story in every U.S. county and state. The pandemic has exposed exactly the issues of economic fragility, widespread hardship, and growing disparities — particularly by race and ethnicity — that United For ALICE and the ALICE data work to reveal. That exposure makes the ALICE data and analysis more important than ever. The ALICE Report for Pennsylvania presents the latest ALICE data available — a point-in-time snapshot of economic conditions across the state in 2018. By showing how many Pennsylvania households were struggling then, the ALICE Research provides the backstory for why the COVID-19 crisis is having such a devastating economic impact. The ALICE data is especially important now to help advocates identify the most vulnerable in their communities, and direct programming and resources to assist them throughout the pandemic and the recovery that follows. And as Pennsylvania moves forward, this data can be used to estimate the impact of the crisis over time, providing an important baseline for changes to come.

This crisis is fast-moving and quickly evolving. To stay abreast of the impact of COVID-19 on ALICE households and their communities, visit UnitedForALICE.org/COVID19 for updates.

Click here to view full report. 

Thanks to everyone who tuned in to the United Way Champions Summit. Viewers learned more about how United Way of the Capital Region has been working, even throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, to help all families in need become self-sufficient through proven programs in access to health care, basic needs, school readiness and workforce development. If you missed it, you can view it on Vimeo:  https://vimeo.com/447242509  or on You Tube at: https://youtu.be/YFwVcQH9lmc

Dickinson College students completed the Cumberland County Food Assessment and online story map in 2018. The assessment identified workforce training as critically connected to food and poverty challenges in the county. If structural poverty and inequality concerns are not addressed in the county, food access will remain a persistent issue. While food pantries provide vital temporary solutions for residents without access to sufficient food, emerging initiatives in Cumberland County seek to address some of the root poverty challenges that ultimately limit people’s access to food and health. New Hope Ministries (New Hope), a social service agency based in the county, takes a multi-faceted approach to expand their food pantries (both permanent and mobile) to workforce training for in demand careers in the region.

On behalf of New Hope, Dickinson College’s Environment and Society class conducted research in 2019. New Hope asked students to explore the opportunities and barriers to accessing healthy food, transportation, and workforce training in Enola, which is an area West of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. New Hope currently operates a well-attended monthly mobile food pantry in Enola. Pending the availability of funding, New Hope is considering a permanent food pantry and workforce training site in Enola. New Hope asked the students to interview their mobile food pantry guests. The goal was to assess the need for the food pantry and workforce training center in Enola, and to identify convenient locations for the potential center. This report attempts to contextualize linkages across food, workforce training, and transportation, with a specific emphasis on the needs of Enola and the broader region.  Click here to download: EXPLORING INTERSECTIONS: FOOD ACCESS, WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT, AND TRANSPORTATION

Positioning low income workers to succeed in a changing economy.

This report aims to shift the discussion about the changing nature of work from analysis and into action by showcasing strategies, policies and programs that already are improving the present and future for lower-wage workers and their families. This report was compiled, edited and designed by The Hatcher Group.

Please click here to read: Positioning low income workers to succeed in a changing economy.

Closing the Front Door: Creating a Successful Diversion Program for Homeless Families

Diversion is a strategy that prevents homelessness for people seeking shelter by helping them identify immediate alternate housing arrangements and, if necessary, connecting them with services and financial assistance to help them return to permanent housing. Diversion programs can reduce the number of families becoming homeless, the demand for shelter beds, and the size of program wait lists. Diversion programs can also help communities achieve better outcomes and be more competitive when applying for federal funding. The attached describes how communities can begin diverting families from entering their homeless assistance systems.

Please click here to read the National Alliance to End Homelessness Report, Closing the Front Door: Creating a Successful Diversion Program for Homeless Families

Helping the hard-to-employ transition to employment

Some cash welfare clients and disadvantaged parents with child support obligations have significant barriers to finding and keeping a job.  Barriers include low education, physical or mental health issues, criminal history, caregiving responsibilities for disabled child, and recent experience of domestic violence. Approaches include caseworkers providing personal attention and robust supports; incentives for employment and/or child support compliance; and interventions informed by behavioral science.

Please click here to read the report by the Institute for Research on Poverty, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

A Seat at the Table

The “A Seat at the Table” project’s intent was just that, collaborative: engaging partners by learning together from evidenced-based data, around a common purpose, to achieve a shared goal—a hunger-free York County. What we know is that York County is home to more than 100 charitable food distribution programs, doing good work and helping neighbors. However, even with these programs there are thousands of people struggling with hunger and food insecurity. The USDA defines food insecurity as the lack of access to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members and limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate foods. With support from the Memorial Health Fund, The Food Trust was commissioned, as an independent reviewer, to evaluate the charitable food distribution system using an innovative mapping approach to identify areas of need, draw attention to challenges, highlight successes, and make a clear call for systemic change to move the needle on food insecurity in York County. Specifically, this report seeks to answer these questions:

• What areas in York County are most affected by food insecurity?
• What gaps are there in its food distribution system?
• How can we better coordinate and expand services to ensure that people living with food insecurity in York County get the help they need?
• What can be done to assure access to healthy and nutritious food for those struggling with food insecurity?
Click here to read A Seat at the Table. 

Living Wage Calculator

Families and individuals working in low-wage jobs make insufficient income to meet minimum standards given the local cost of living. The websites listed below developed a living wage calculator to estimate the cost of living in your community or region based on typical expenses. These tools help individuals, communities, and employers determine a local wage rate that allows residents to meet minimum standards of living.


Cost of Living

Two-Generation Approach

Two-generation approaches provide opportunities for and meet the needs of children and their parents together. They build education, economic assets, social capital, and health and well being to create a legacy of economic security that passes from one generation to the next. New Hope Ministries believe the two-generation approach helps both generations make progress together.

Governor Tom Wolf’s Food Security Partnership


The blueprint addresses the Commonwealth’s commitment to alleviating hunger.  The mission is to provide Pennsylvanians with access to healthy, nutritious food, which will improve their well-being, health, and independence.

Nine Marks of a Healthy Parachurch Ministry

By: J. Mack Stiles

Parachurch ministries work hand-in-hand with the local church community. What exactly is a parachurch and what makes a healthy parachurch?  This article illustrates nine marks of a healthy parachurch ministry in today’s world.

Best Practices: Innovations and Solutions Developed by Hunger Relief Agencies in Washington State.

By: Washington Food Coalition

Developed as part of the Emergency Food Assistance Program’s Capacity Building Project, this catalog features best practices which can be replicated by emergency food providers. Catalog profiles are identified with visual indicators representing food banks, meal programs, distribution centers, and ideas which everyone can use.

The High Cost of Youth Unemployment

By: By Sarah Ayres Steinberg

Poverty Interrupted

Applying Behavioral Science to the Context of Chronic Scarcity

By: ideas42

Breaking the Cycle of Inter-Generational Poverty For Good

In an effort to help children and their families break out of this cycle of poverty, ideas42 has embarked on a new initiative called Poverty Interrupted (PI). The application of behavioral science to this endemic problem could lead not only to improved lives, but also to more efficient deployment of limited public resources.

Workforce Development as an Antipoverty Strategy:  What Do We Know? What Should We Do?

By: Harry J. Holzer

This paper notes the basic paradox of workforce development policy: that, in an era in which skills are more important than ever as determinants of labor market earnings, we spend fewer public (federal) dollars on workforce development over time. Includes trends in funding and how the major federal programs at the Department of Labor and other agencies have evolved over time.

Promoting Diversity: How Savvy Nonprofits Do It

The Chronicle of Philanthropy 

Reducing Child Poverty by Promoting Child Well Being

By: Elizabeth K. Anthony

The American Dream promises that individual talent will be rewarded, regardless of where one comes from or who one’s parents are. But, the reality of what transpires along America’s K-12-to-career pipeline reveals a sorting of America’s most talented youth by affluence—not merit. Among the affluent, a kindergartner with test scores in the bottom half has a 7 in 10 chance of reaching high SES among his or her peers as a young adult, while a disadvantaged kindergartner with top-half test scores only has a 3 in 10 chance.  Click here for complete report.

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