Tag Archives: funding

A year of COVID: Pennsylvania Food Bank tackles booming need | Snyder County | Instant News







This top view shows the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank Central Packing Office in Harrisburg.


Central Pennsylvania Food Bank and its partners in the Susquehanna Valley are working overtime in 2020 to meet the growing demand for food amid the pandemic and this year is following the same pattern.

“And 2021 will be very similar to 2020,” said food bank executive director Joe Arthur, Wednesday.

The need for food in the midst of the peak of the pandemic continues to increase, he said. By the end of 2020, the food bank will provide 50 million meals to the 27 districts and 1,000 local agents it serves.

Place demand at the food bank’s two health food centers – one in Williamsport and one in Harrisburg – remains high.

One year ago

March 2020 started off quietly.

On the week of March 9, 2020, a week before the pandemic was declared by the World Health Organization, Arthur clearly recalled, “We’ve been doing things like washing our hands more often, but that’s about it.”

Little is known about the virus. The organization’s two main fundraisers – called Soup-and-Bowl events – have been held.

“It looks like everything is fine,” he said. “Life seems normal.”

A week later, he said, a pandemic was declared, “and we were like … ‘uh-oh.’ The closings started happening right away. And we knew we were on a big boom. We had a helpline for people and the week was going crazy. Every day. We had extra protection, but the phones really were ringing. “

Arthur knew things had to be done in a different and safer way. Box packing has become a big thing.

“We always pack boxes, but we know that we won’t be able to have kitchens to open their doors and let people in,” he said, “so we started a crisis box program in the first few days of the pandemic.”

At the start of the pandemic, most of the food bank supply of shelf-stable, perishable products was packed into a 30-pound crisis response box, which was double the volume of a normal box. According to a news release from the organization, volunteers produced 4,500-5,000 boxes daily in the early days of the pandemic, which made it easier for food kitchens to distribute with limited or no person-to-person contact whether on drive-through or gift-taking.

Arthur finds the Central Bank’s warehouse volunteer area isn’t large enough to get the job done and keeps everyone at a socially safe distance.

“We were immediately terrified of COVID,” he said. “It turned out that the person was not positive, but on those days it took a long time to get results. The twenty-four people we really needed had to stay at home for more than a week until the test came back negative.”

The solution to finding more space is not uncommon: They started talking to the people who owned the Agricultural Performance Complex in Harrisburg. “We thought they weren’t going to be doing much in that space for quite a while,” said Arthur.

Within two days of discussion, they made arrangements to get compensation from FEMA because the rent at the Expo Hall would be expensive, said Arthur. They moved their packing operation to Expo Hall at the end of March.

“We are setting up a packing line and complying with all COVID-19 protocols there,” he said.

Since early April, every weekday and Saturday, more than 2,000 boxes are packed.

“It has sustained the crisis response for 12 months,” said Arthur. “And that continues today.”

Volunteers come daily, wear masks and gloves, and prepare with established protocols, but there is a change in the demographic mix of volunteers.

The older volunteers have stayed home, safely waiting for the COVID vaccine, said Arthur.

“During the pandemic, we have relied more on other groups … businesses, church groups, student groups over 18 … but we hope to welcome older volunteers back when they get the vaccine and feel comfortable here.”

Delivery

Meanwhile, there hasn’t been any cutback of service at Central Pennsylvania Food Bank, where truck drivers have to work overtime.

“We had to hire additional drivers from day one,” said Arthur. But that’s not enough in the first three months of the pandemic.

The Food Bank has received offers from several trucking companies to assist with deliveries.

The biggest story is FedEx in Harrisburg, said Arthur.

“During the three months they delivered for us more than 100 tractor-trailer loads of food, at the height of the crisis,” said Arthur. “When we really needed them they made deliveries from the packing center at the Expo, to where we needed them. Amazing. Great show of company support.

“At the point where we’ve put everything back together,” he said, “and handled everything ourselves, they got back to their business, which was also very busy.”






A year of COVID: Pennsylvania Food Bank is tackling an explosion of need

Ron Laielli, CDL Driver at the Williamsport Hub Food Bank Pennsylvania Central Locations.




At Williamsport Warehouse 10 in Central Pennsylvania Food Bank, Ron Laielli, from Loyalsock, CDL Driver at the Williamsport Hub Locations, said that “Before the pandemic, we had five trucks going out regularly from Williamsport Hub to our partners in what we call the northern tier. our service area, deliver food to their distribution.

“We now have eight trucks coming out,” said Laielli, “which cost 70,000 pounds per day with some days reaching 120,000 pounds. With the increasing demand, we are adding two more drivers to make sure no one goes hungry.”

Key points

This pandemic is very severe for many people, said Arthur.

“But there are several things we have learned from this. The generosity of people, foundations and companies is unimaginable,” he said. “So we have high confidence that we can continue this strong response … even if it is for another two years, or however long it may take.”

He said their food suppliers, businesses, from farms to forks, their wholesale friends, Weis, Giant, Walmart, and even independents were very generous.

“Remember, at the beginning of the pandemic there is no guarantee that we will have enough to eat,” he said. “It was a struggle, as were the people at the grocery store. We were experiencing shortages on a massive scale.”

The Department of Agriculture found a way to enter food that no longer closed restaurants into the food bank stream.

“That shows what we can do,” said Arthur. “We have learned to do some things better, which we will keep.”

Food banks have started night shifts and are able to handle truck loads in the middle of the night while traders move their trucks.

Arthur called it “a big problem. We will continue with safer protocols, even when the COVID is gone. And, we want to build local, more sustainable sources. We build relationships with farmers, but we can do more.”

Central Pennsylvania Food Bank serves more than 200,000 people each month through a network of 1,000 partner institutions and programs in 27 counties in central Pennsylvania.

Over the past 12 months, many of its local partners have maintained their food distribution by turning the distribution into drive-thru pick-ups, as well as other creative solutions to comply with COVID-19 safety precautions.

The demand continues

Arthur predicts the pandemic will lead to increased food insecurity over the next two years. In December, nine months after the pandemic, food banks distributed 55 percent more food flows than the previous December.

The recently passed American Rescue Plan will help, but the “economic damage” that is done will continue, Arthur said.

“But we think America’s Rescue Plan will be a big support for the economic recovery,” said Arthur.

In January 2021, there is an aid package that has, “some pretty positive impacts on the people we serve,” said Arthur. “January to March to date has seen moderate demand. But we are still 25 percent above pre-pandemic demand. It was historically high, but not at last year’s crazy levels. We think we will be at this level for a few years. . ”

The food bank budget in 2020 swelled to $ 20 million (cash outlays) from $ 16 million a year earlier.

The costs of maintaining food bank operations rose more than 35 percent. It costs approximately $ 500,000 more per month in 2020 for warehousing, freezer and refrigeration, transportation and distribution costs and increased costs of getting fresh, healthy food to meet demand.

Funding is carried out through the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture. Food banks do get money for operational costs through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, also known as the CARES Act.

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SC issued a notification to Akbar Babar in the case of PTI’s foreign funding | Instant News


ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) Thursday issued a notification to Akbar S Babar and asked for answers to Prime Minister Imran Khan’s appeal regarding the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) foreign funding case.

A three-member SC bench consisting of Hakim Mushir Alam, Hakim Yahya Afridi and Hakim Sardar Tariq Masood received the prime minister’s petition on oversight of foreign funds for political parties.

During the trial, Imran Khan’s lawyer, Anwar Mansoor Khan, argued that there was no objection to the oversight committee of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP). He said Akbar S Babar had filed the case after being kicked out of the party.

The ECP does not have the power to declare Akbar Babar a party member, he added. He said the Islamabad High Court (IHC) also supported the ECP’s decision.

It is up to the civilian courts to decide who is a party member and who is not, while the ECP is not a court or court, he added.

He said his client objected to Akbar Babar’s participation in the supervisory committee. However, there were no objections from the supervisory committee and it was doing its job.

Judge Mushir Alam asked when Akbar S Babar was expelled from the party.

The lawyer replied that Akbar Babar was expelled from PTI on September 26, 2011. The process of the supervisory committee must be in front of the camera, he added.

Akbar Babar’s lawyer objected that notices of expulsion from the party were not submitted in any forum.

Hakim Yahya Afridi asked him to give a written answer. Then, the trial of the case was postponed until now at the office.

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Brendan Murphy is ‘pretty sure’ most Australians will get at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by October | Instant News


Nearly 160,000 people have now been vaccinated against COVID-19, including the Prime Minister who received his second dose of Pfizer on Sunday.

However, that figure is well below what the federal government hopes to achieve, with its target of inoculating 4 million people originally set in early April.

Scott Morrison blames international supply problems but hopes vaccination rates will increase in the coming weeks.

“The critical factor in controlling the speed of the vaccination program is the supply and production of the vaccine – it is a critical driving factor,” he said.

“In this initial phase, that is clearly influenced by the fact that we have anticipated about 3.8 million vaccines being imported from abroad. That’s 700,000 already.”

Australian vaccination rates as of 12 March.(

Provided: Australian Government

)

Italy recently blocking the delivery of the AstraZeneca corona virus vaccine destined for Australia and Mr Morrison said it was a “massive effort” to get a vaccine here, given the ongoing international problems.

Biotechnology company CSL has been tasked with producing more than 50 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine in Australia to ensure its launches are less dependent on imports.

Health Department Secretary Brendan Murphy said discussions were ongoing with CSL to determine whether CSL could “produce” more than 1 million doses a week as currently planned.

Professor Murphy also said the Department of Health expected a Novavax vaccine to be available later this year, but the department “is not counting on that in our vaccination strategy”.

Vaccination timelines are subject to change

Professor Murphy said he was “pretty confident” that most Australians will get at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by October and a minority should get their second dose next year.

However, he said if the supply of the vaccine increased, the expiration date could be moved up.

Question about launch timeline filed on Thursday when a parliamentary session discussed Ministry of Health staff on whether targets could be met.

The Prime Minister said he remained hopeful that most Australians could have both doses of the COVID-19 vaccination by October, but he insisted that could change.

“Where we can increase the supply, it is very possible for us to move forward, in my opinion, to achieve the target of the first dose,” he said.

“Supply disruptions, unforeseen events, problems with logistics, major breakouts in our region – things like this, of course, can have an impact on what we are talking about today. That’s the nature of COVID-19. It makes its own rules.”

Additional money for COVID-19 support

Speaking at the Sydney medical center, Morrison also announced an additional $ 1.1 billion in funding for the country’s COVID-19 response.

This includes expanding until the end of June telehealth service and maintenance, which will expire in just a few weeks.

Additional funding will also help cover the costs of testing and treating people with COVID-19, as well as providing financial assistance for electronic prescription services and delivering medicines through Home Medicine Services.

Demand for mental health support is still high and a portion of the cash will go to Coronavirus Beyond Blue Mental Wellbeing Support Service.

Stop misinformation from spreading

Blue graphic with the words 'Really?'  and 'Questions answered'
More than a dozen questions and answers about vaccines are on the Ministry of Health website.(

Provided: Australian Government

)

In an effort to ensure most Australians agree with injections, the Federal Government has created a website to try to stop the spread of misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccine.

There are over a dozen questions listed on Is that the correct website such as, “Does the COVID-19 vaccine cause infertility?”. However, there were no questions about is it safe for pregnant women to get injections, which has become a regular topic of conversation.

Additional questions will continue to be added to the website.

Morrison said the website would provide assurances to Australians about the safety and effectiveness of vaccines.

Morrison also expressed concern that people are seeing information that is irrelevant to the situation in Australia.

“Visit Australia’s information as there are different vaccination programs in different countries [and] they are in a different pandemic situation to Australia, “he said.

Space to play or pause, M to mute, left and right arrows to search, up and down arrows for volume.

Play Video.  Duration: 7 minutes 14 seconds

Debate continues about the efficacy of different types of vaccines(Samantha Hawley)

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Funding, training urged for mountain climbing promotion | Instant News


Islamabad: Speaking at a webinar about the ‘mountaineering challenges facing Pakistan,’ experts urged the government to quickly establish a strong professional mountaineering school and Pakistan Alps Club (ACP) with the right professionals.

Experts also appreciate the Pakistani army carrying out rescue operations quite efficiently when needed. They highlighted that obtaining a permit to climb the mountain took too long despite the Prime Minister’s instructions to reduce processing time. It takes too much time to get visas for foreign tourists even though the federal government has announced a lenient visa policy. The webinar was hosted by the Development Communications Network (Devcom-Pakistan) on Saturday. The panel of experts included renowned mountaineer Nazir Sabir, another well-known mountaineer Col (r) Abdul Jabbar Bhatti, founder and chairman of the Baltistan Tour Operators Association (BATO) Muhammad Iqbal, Secretary of Pakistan Alpine Club Karrar Haideri, mountaineer trainer Dr. Shabbir Naqvi, president of Adventure Club Tahir Imran Khan, founder and director of the Pakistan Mountain Festival and Executive Director of Devcom-Pakistan Munir Ahmed, event manager Samreen Akhtar, and Ozyegin University student of Hospitality and Tourism Management Shaaref Munir. Nazir Sabir said all stakeholders need to sit together to develop an integrated policy for mountain climbing and trekking. Mountain climbing must become a national phenomenon like cricket. But unfortunately, we don’t have state protection and recognition and neither is the case for corporate sponsorship.

In fact, the Alpine Club Pakistan lacks the capacity to tackle a national mountaineering framework and needs reform. Col (r) Abdul Jabbar Bhatti said mountain climbing is an adventure sport that is based on your own resources, skills and risks. Mountaineers and High Altitude Carriers (HAPs) have no insurance scheme in Pakistan, no proper training and no sponsorships. The corporate sector will not emerge to support this sport until it is not sufficiently mainstreamed. We do not have a structured system for mountaineering and trekking. We need to put the ‘right people at the right job’ if interested in doing what is needed, and it won’t happen any sooner even if we start today. Executive Director of Devcom-Pakistan Munir Ahmed said human rights professionals and a strong framework were essential for mainstreaming mountaineering. Government and state institutions need to have some liberal and soft policies to attract foreign mountaineers and trekkers. We must also have adequate monitoring and inspection systems in place to reduce pollution at high altitudes.

ACP Secretary Karrar Haideri said the Alpine Club received a lot of criticism but did not fund for at least the last three years even though we were trying to survive. All officers carrying out their duties without any reward. We have handled issues with the government several times but are still waiting for patronage and support. The Pakistani Army has held a stakeholder meeting recently to develop an outline of a framework for promoting mountaineering in Pakistan. The National Tourism Coordinating Board (NTCB) is also in focus.

Dr. Shabbir Naqvi said we were short on funds and training for mountaineering in general because the ACP was unable to deliver the desired results described in their mandate. We have not yet regulated and recognized mountaineering as a sport. Nepal offers Bachelor and Master level education in mountaineering while we do not have a professional training school. Tahir Imran Khan said we need to have professionalism to attract commercialism along with a comprehensive professional attitude from the related organizations. Mountain marketing is very important which would not be possible without the collaboration of all stakeholders.

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PTI denied the statement of its financial secretary | Instant News



ISLAMABAD: In a significant move, Pakistani ruler Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on Monday rejected a recent statement from its central finance secretary, which had confirmed the forward accounts of four party employees to receive donations from the United Arab Emirates. (UAE).

These employees include PTI head office telephone operators and office assistants. The most recent change in PTI’s stance, arguably, came after Prime Minister Imran Khan’s statement on January 20 in Wana, in which he had offered to end the secrecy of a foreign funding case, which PTI’s lawyers later failed to acknowledge.

During the ECP review committee meeting, PTI submitted a written response to Akbar S Babar’s request from the applicant, requesting an investigation into the forward accounts of PTI employees, who were authorized to raise funds from Pakistan and abroad. He demanded that all the personal front accounts of four PTI employees must be taken from the SBP to ensure the full scale and coverage of the illegal fundraising.

However, in his response, PTI lawyer Shah Khawar denied this statement by the PTI Central Finance Secretary. For its part, the committee meets for a short period of time and will continue on Tuesday as the DG of Law, who chairs the committee meeting, has to attend ECP business before the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

The PTI response stated that ‘the defendant did not have a statement made by any of the party officials. Likewise, the report referred to by the auditor Ahsan & Ahsan has been declared non-party by this proper examination committee.

It sounds quite interesting that although PTI refused to accept the front accounts of its own central finance secretary and ‘illegal’ funding from the UAE, PTI did not deny the decision made by the PTI financial board to allow PTI employees to raise funds in a meeting. dated 1 July 2011. Minutes of meeting are available with this correspondent.

Ahsan & Ahsan’s audit of PTI’s contribution was authorized under written sanctions from PTI Chairman Imran Khan on March 9, 2013. The audit report confirmed all of the applicant’s allegations regarding illegal funding to PTI. In his statement, the central finance secretary has acknowledged the existence of a special audit report including the transfer of funds from the UAE to the personal accounts of PTI employees.

Babar repeatedly asked the committee to investigate private bank accounts belonging to PTI employees that were allegedly used illegally as a cover to collect donations. Despite sharing sample evidence, to date, the ECP Oversight Committee has made no attempt to investigate this account, due to PTI pressure.

Therefore, the committee continues to maintain the confidentiality of PTI records and bank statements despite ECP orders. The records included 23 PTI bank accounts that were disclosed under the SBP instruction and were largely kept secret from the ECP under documented pressure from PTI.

Speaking to the media outside the ECP, the applicant, who is still awaiting a decision before the ECP since November 2014, Babar said that the committee is obliged to investigate the forward accounts of PTI employees that were illegally used to collect donations.

He argued that the committee’s framework of reference (ToR) was fact-finding, whereas instead of investigating the facts, the committee chose to keep evidence secret, which in his opinion, was not only illegal but raised fundamental questions about the transparency of the examination process.

Babar pointed out that a preliminary Examination Report submitted after 28/29 months was immediately rejected by the ECP on 27 August 2020. A report prepared in secret even without authenticating evidence or investigation leads would remain an attempt to cover up the facts. “This will not be allowed even if it means asking for intervention from the Pakistani Supreme Court. The ECP is responsible for committee behavior. It cannot isolate itself from the lack of transparency and blatant violations of the legal process by the committee, “he added.

He revealed he had faced death threats and fake cases. Recently, he has been offered any position including the chair of the Senate which he rejected due to foreign funding cases not for personal but national gain.

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