Valentines Day Special
- Mr. President, Where is your heart? I was going to hold off a day in posting; I’ve got a lot going on. But when I saw articles in the Huffington Post and National Journal on White House plans to slash funds for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP, I was outraged and had to write.
According to the National Journal the funding would drop by about $2.5 billion from an authorized 2009 total of $5.1 billion. (The proposed cut will not touch the program’s emergency reserve fund, about $590 million, which can be used during particularly harsh cold snaps or extended heat spells. Both the Huff Post and National Journal cite unnamed administration officials as their source.The Huffington Post article put it this way: President Barack Obama, less than two months after signing tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans into law, is proposing a budget to congress that attacks programs that assist the working poor, help the needy heat their homes, …
Close to Home: My wife Claudia Raskin directs a program (Community Support Systems) that provides food and assistance to low income families in southern Maryland. What she shares is both sad and alarming, “It’s been a bitter winter with freezing temperatures, rising food costs and unemployment. Seven months into the fiscal year, CSS has spent its budget of close to $20,000 for home heating and other forms of assistance. Help is still available through the State of Maryland’s Energy Assistance Program, but with rising fuel costs the benefit they provide does not stretch far enough. This means that many of the families we deal with will be using space heaters or carrying 5-gallon jugs of kerosene and diesel fuel to stay warm.”
Nor is the situation in S. Maryland unique; according to an Feb. 9 article by the AP’s Jonathan Fahey, some 8.9 million households are expected to qualify for financial help this winter, up from 8.3 million last winter. It’s the third year in a row the number of households needing assistance has set a new high. (Fahey source: The National Energy Assistance Directors’ Association): Please join us in calling or writing the White House today to ask the President to follow what we know to be his good heart (rather than his sheepish advisors).
Maryland Organic Food and Farming Association Annual Meeting: Close to our hearts. MOFFA will hold its annual meeting this coming Saturday (February 19) from 8 to 5:30 PM at the Maryland Department of Agriculture Building at 50 Harry S. Truman Drive in Annapolis. Whether you farm, garden or just are a healthy food forager you will find this event to be exciting and informative. You can meet me there. (To enlarge, click news clip).
Finally, we wish you all a sweet and loving Valentines Day! We hope that you are with someone who is near and dear. And if not try Skyping it’s free, fun and could even include a dash of spice. (This is not an add for either Skype,Victoria’s Secret or Phillips Florals).