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The Southwestern Pennsylvania Food Security Partnership: Twelve Counties Five Years, One Focus—Closing the Hunger Gap By Joyce Rothermel

cated to acting as a collaborative forum and using 5. Ensure more efficient administration of systhe strength and momentum of working together tems and resources. For 31 years, Greater Pittsburgh Community to turn the tide on regional hunger. Food Bank and Westmoreland County Food Your expertise is welcome in this endeavor to Bank, with the help of organizations like the Tho- The need has never been greater. Since August of close the hunger gap. To find out more, go to the mas Merton Center, have fought hunger in south- 2008, more than 2,500 new households a month Food Bank‘s website at western Pennsylvania. Together we have have been turning to food pantries and soup kitch- and click on the achieved record levels of food distribution (more ens for food assistance, including a large number SW PA Food Security Partnership logo below. than 31.5 million pounds of food this fiscal year of recently unemployed people who, for the first To join the Partnership, contact Vic Papale, the alone), raised awareness of the problem, and ad- time in their lives, find themselves needing help director at, or vocated for responsible public policies regarding to feed their families. 412-466-7711. food and nutrition. Even so, according to the latest census, 14 percent of our Southwestern Penn- Hunger is not inevitable. There are solutions. The Joyce Rothermel is the Co-Chair of the SW PA sylvania population -- 370,000 people – are still Southwestern PA Food Security Partnership‘s Food Security Partnership. food insecure. mission is to maximize the efforts of our community partners already doing heroic work across our We know that poverty causes hunger. But we in region through increased communication, sharing food-banking and food assistance work also know resources, and bringing all the stakeholders to the all too well that hunger can cause poverty. We see same table. While we will continue to advocate the effects of hunger on adults unable to compete for better public policy at all levels of governsuccessfully for jobs, on children whose futures ment, we don‘t have the luxury of waiting for nacould be permanently affected by impaired health tional or statewide solutions. If southwestern and development, on seniors who have worked all Pennsylvania is to thrive as a region, we must their lives only to face illness and dependency in meet this most basic of all human needs. their "golden years." The five goals of the plan now being impleIn 2010, Greater Pittsburgh Community Food mented by the Partnership are: Bank assembled more than 50 representatives 1. Increase access to and utilization of public and from food-banking, human services, faith-based private food assistance programs. communities, health care, public education, gov- 2. Build broad community engagement in ending ernment, and corporations whose charge was to hunger. mobilize our region to end hunger. Together we 3. Advocate for strong public policy surrounding created a comprehensive plan to end hunger in hunger relief. Southwestern Pennsylvania in five years. This 4. Partner with other social service providers to group has officially become the Southwestern address the larger issues of poverty. Pennsylvania Food Security Partnership, dedi-

Low-cost wind energy comes to Pittsburgh By Dan Papia

Energy, a low-cost/high-value electricity provider. TriEagle agreed to create a product that More and more Pennsylvanians are now shopping would be 100% backed by certified wind RECs for the best deal on electricity, and surprisingly, the best-priced product available is a 100% wind product. The Squirrel Hill based non-profit organization Citizen Power, Inc. joined up with TriEagle Energy, LP to offer a 100% renewable wind electricity plan in the Duquesne Light service territory, which covers most of Allegheny and Beaver counties. The certified 100% wind Green Eagle 24 product, currently available only through Citizen Power‘s Green Energy Cooperative, beats every other product, green or otherwise. This is largely due to the maturing of wind generation technologies, which has brought down the price of wind electricity considerably in recent years. Additionally, Citizen Power‘s utilization of the non-profit/cooperative business model has allowed TriEagle to offer a very attractive rate. (renewable energy credits) from Pennsylvania and neighboring states, and Citizen Power offered to According to Executive Director Titus North, provide the marketing in exchange for the lowest Citizen Power was frustrated by the lack of low- price for consumers. priced wind alternatives available to electricity consumers. Marketing costs are high in the elec- "Our mission is the promotion of renewable entricity industry, and marketing to what is consid- ergy," said North, "and we believe that this is the ered the niche environmentalist population is just most effective way to do so." North sees public not worth it to the big power companies. Citizen concern about the environment on the rise due to Power has a long history of fighting on behalf of nuclear crises, oil spills, fracking, and climate electricity consumers and the environment, and change. "People want to do something positive, felt that it was well positioned to present a lowbut in this economy, not many people can afford cost green product to the public. After taking its to purchase a hybrid car or put solar panels on idea to numerous electric generation companies, their roof. However, with this program you can Citizen Power decided to partner with TriEagle help the environment and save money at the same

time." Switching from Duquesne Light's default service saves consumers more than 20% off of the generation portion of their electric bills. Duquesne Light will continue to handle the billing and line maintenance for its customers who switch. Back in the 1990s when Pennsylvania deregulated electricity, electricity generation was separated from transmission and distribution. Regardless of who generates the electricity, the local utility (Duquesne Light in our area) provides the distribution. This means that switching generation companies will not affect reliability. "The lights won't go out when the wind stops," North said. "The only change people will notice will be a lower electricity bill." To sign up for TriEagle Energy‘s Green Eagle wind product, visit and enroll in the Green Energy Cooperative, a Citizen Power program. Membership is free, and members will then be able to sign up for the Green Eagle wind products from TriEagle. To find out more about this opportunity to save money and the environment at the same time, see or call Citizen Power at 412-421-7029. Dan Papia is a U.K.-based journalist who writes about energy and environmental issues.

October, 2011


October 2011 - Newpeople  

The NewPeople is the peace and justice newspaper of Pittsburgh and the Tri-State area and fills the voids left by the mainstream by providin...

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