Thanks for all your support and votes.
Our core operating principle here at Just Harvest is that we should respond to hunger in the context of human rights, not charity. When we start from the idea of a human right to food, only then we can envision a society that is truly free from hunger.
That vision means big changes to how the marketplace for food functions, so that everyone can access healthy food. It requires big changes in how our government responds to poverty and meets basic human needs. And it demands that we amplify the voices of low-income people in our democracy.
Because hunger is not merely a shortage of food - it's a shortage of justice.
For 30 years, Just Harvest has advanced a fairer and more humane vision for Pittsburgh and for our country.
Today, we continue to focus on the structural problems of hunger, poverty, and economic injustice so everyone can reach their full human potential.
I'm Ken Regal, Executive Director of Just Harvest, and I thank you for joining us in that effort.
Just Harvest is a nonprofit organization reducing hunger through sustainable, long-term approaches that lift up those in need. We get at the root causes of hunger by using public policy and programs to reduce poverty and improve food access.
We have served Allegheny County for 30 years. In that time we have helped tens of thousands of low-income households keep food on the table. Our programs have helped them access tens of millions of dollars in nutrition assistance, tax credits, and other government benefits for which they're eligible.
We are also a long-time leader of efforts to make the public's response to hunger - through government policy and civic discourse - more fair, sensible, compassionate, and effective.
Just Harvest is governed by a diverse 13-member volunteer Board of Directors and our day-to-day work is carried out by an inclusive, professional, and dedicated staff of 15 people supplemented by seasonal staff, student interns, service fellowship placements, and more than 100 volunteers.
Just Harvest operates from the understanding that hunger is a symptom of economic injustice and requires systemic change. We are recognized nationally as a leader and innovator in speaking out for the needs of hungry and low-income people.
Our major program activities include:
At any given time, nearly 1 in 7 of our neighbors in Allegheny County are facing chronic hunger and food insecurity. These low-income families, seniors, veterans, and people with disabilities don't know whether they'll be able to afford their next meal.
Aside from the immeasurable moral costs of hunger in human suffering and indignity, hunger takes a quantifiable toll on public health, education outcomes, and our economy - a price estimated at around $3.25 billion/year in Pennsylvania.
Just Harvest reduces hunger by lifting up those in need. We get at the root causes of food insecurity by leveraging public policies and programs to reduce poverty and improve food access. When Just Harvest began, there was no school breakfast program in Pittsburgh Public Schools nor in several other nearby school districts. By changing that critical public policy in the 1980's, Just Harvest has enabled an entire generation of children to grow up more free from hunger.
For 30+ years, Just Harvest has made the difference - helping tens of thousands of low-income households keep food on the table by boosting their access to tens of millions of dollars in nutrition assistance, tax credits, and other government benefits for which they're eligible.