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Hard Economic Times (Poverty Sucks)

September 1, 2010

Poverty Sucks

We’ve had 13 requests for food from the BCC food pantry in the last 2.5 weeks and the combined number of people in all the households of these 13 students is 36.  We have had many generous people including students, faculty, and staff  at Broome Community College donate food but it has been difficult to keep up with the number of people who are requesting help.  If you are interested in making a donation please drop whatever non-perishable food items you have at SS210.  If you are a student who is having a hard time feeding yourself or your family we will help if we can.  There are resources in Broome and surrounding counties if you have an ongoing need for support. Below is a link that lists food pantries in Broome and surrounding counties:

In order to access the Chow pantries you will need to call First Call for Help at 729-9100 who will make the referral to a pantry after you provide them some basic information – name, address, social security number, dates of birth of family members and a phone number.

There are also a number of soup kitchens that may be able to provide you and your family some meals and I will be posting a list within the next week.  However, you can also call First Call for Help who will also be able to give you information about where the soup kitchens are and how to access.


How to get free prescription drugs.

Lourdes Hospital offers a program, the Hope Dispensary of the Southern Tier, that provides free prescription drugs and medicines to those who need assistance. The program offers to help those individuals who have no prescription drug coverage in their health insurance plan, or who have no insurance at all, and if they have a limited income. Families and individuals whose income is at or below 200% of the Federal Government Poverty Level (FPL) will be provided with both short term and long term medication assistance. Physicians’ offices, distributors, and pharmaceutical companies send their donated medications to the program’s central distribution center in Tennessee, and the local Binghamton program gets these medications from that warehouse and provides them to patients who qualify for aid.

In addition to this prescription medicines program, Lourdes has staff on site that can assist patients with enrollment in Medicaid and other public programs, if needed. The staff can also provide assistance and information to patients so that they can obtain a primary care provider, if needed.

To obtain free prescription drugs, individuals can’t have any existing prescription drug coverage, and their income needs to be at or below the FPL. Find other ways to get help with medical bills, and free health care.   See:

While the Hope Dispensary has an inventory of the most commonly prescribed medications, unfortunately it does not stock every medication. For example, they do not carry any controlled substances or birth control pills. They will always work with you to the best of their ability to help you in any way they can, including filling your prescription with medication samples and generic medications.

The Hope Dispensary of the Southern Tier is located at 477 State Street in Binghamton, which is directly across from Binghamton Plaza. 607-584-9376.

Get grants for paying heating bills

Broome County agencies and government organizations have processed over 15,000 applications this year for people who need help with paying heating and utility bills. The program runs from November to May. The amount of the HEAP payment provided by both New York State and the federal government varies based on the type of heat used by the household, the families income, and how many people live there. Natural gas users can receive a grant of up to $400 or more if there is an elderly person or person with a disability in the home. If someone heats their home with fuel oil, these users can get $600 or more as part of their HEAP grant.

The locations to apply for aid include:

  • Broome County Department of Social Services, which is located at 36-42 Main St., Binghamton. Dial (607) 778-2638
  • Opportunities for Broome, which is located on West State Street in Binghamton. Call (607) 723-6493.

Emergency assistance for paying bills, expenses

Opportunities for Broome, Inc., the Binghamton based community action agency, also offers several other emergency and crisis programs. For example, the non-profit agency employs so called trained Family Advocates. These dedicated resources and trained individuals will meet with qualified individuals, and together they will help people in need of emergency assistance find free food, clothing, apply for utility bill help, shelter, prescription drugs, access heating fuel, and transportation. The Family Development program is a strength-based approach and utilizes an individual’s own attributes to attain their personal goals over the long term. Call them at (607) 723-6493.

Catholic Social Services of Broome County, phone number (607) 729-9166, offers limited emergency assistance for bills and expenses, infant foster care, adoption services, parent education, referrals and information on New York and federal government programs, marriage enrichment, free food, and other aid.

Also try calling The Salvation Army, Binghamton Corps. Their phone number is (607) 722-2987. They provide basic material needs; 24 hour per-day emergency assistance and limited financial aid; access to food pantries and soup kitchens, National Missing Persons Bureau; and adult and youth development assistance programs.

Programs for housing and rent assistance

Another one of the big needs in Broome County and the Binghamton area is the need for eviction prevention, rent assistance, and money for security deposits. Opportunities for Broome, Inc. (phone number is above) offers the Housing Assistance and Support Program (HASP). The fund will provide financial assistance for people who live in rental units who may be facing a housing or utility crisis, or who need help paying rent. Qualified individuals can get financial help as well as case management support.

Free legal support

Get access to free legal advice, assistance and representation in civil matters. Attorneys from the non-profit firm Legal Aid Society of Mid-New York (Binghamton) provides a special focus in areas including income maintenance, housing, foreclosures, abuse and neglect, and access to health care. (607) 231-5900. Child care

Contact Wilson Children’s Center. This agency provides full-day childcare and early childhood education and services for children aged 6 weeks to 5 years. In addition, the agency also provides before/after school care for school-aged children up to age 12. (607) 467-5437.

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