Calls Upon Community for Greater Awareness and Support of Neighbors
BALLSTON SPA – (January 31, 2023) – Each year, the LifeWorks Community Action, Inc. Board of Directors convene for their annual meeting in January and take a step back to reflect on how they are living into LifeWorks’ vision and mission. While the past several years had been largely dedicated to responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and the acute needs that resulted from the crisis, discussion during recent months has shifted focus to growing concern over increased economic insecurity among neighbors with lower incomes, despite the strong recovery experienced by Saratoga County as a whole.
In response, the LifeWorks Board of Directors has issued a statement calling for a commitment to greater awareness and action:
LifeWorks Community Action calls upon our leaders and fellow citizens to act with greater awareness of economic inequality in our communities and to respond to our neighbors who are striving to overcome barriers to economic stability. As the designated Community Action Agency in Saratoga County, LifeWorks is charged with building community by responding to neighbors in need.
In 2022, a year when Saratoga County saw record high sales tax revenue and numbers of people employed, the LifeWorks food pantry served 175% more people than the same time the previous year – rising above the peak of need during the pandemic when LifeWorks scaled their pantry to serve the number of households in a week that were previously served over the course of a month. These starkly contrasting figures reveal that our economic recovery is leaving too many of our neighbors behind. If sales tax revenue and unemployment rates are a basic indicator for the economic well-being of our communities, then so too should be the increasing number of our neighbors turning to food pantries to make ends meet.
At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, we experienced unprecedented concern for each other and especially for the most vulnerable among us – neighbors with limited resources, facing obstacles difficult to overcome alone and without a personal safety net that so many in Saratoga County were fortunate to fall back on. Emerging from the pandemic has been a time of economic recovery and the re-creation of norms, practices and ways of interacting with each other. What will we create?
Now at the start of 2023, LifeWorks Community Action commits to building greater awareness of economic disparities in our communities and to work collectively toward solutions that create opportunity and improve economic well-being for all of our neighbors. Now is the time to learn, to engage and to act. Our neighbors need your support! We call upon our leaders and fellow citizens to join us in serious conversation and productive action.
“When the pandemic arrived LifeWorks quickly shifted gears and, thanks to dedicated staff and volunteers, created and implemented a food pantry delivery program. While this program was implemented as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown, the need continues to grow,” said David Bennett, Board President.
At the Annual Meeting, the LifeWorks Board of Directors also elected the 2023 slate of officers with David Bennett as Board President, Don Wildermuth as Vice President, Jennifer Ames as Treasurer and Susan Christopher as Secretary. The Board also congratulated and thanked outgoing Executive Director Jo Anne Hume for her leadership and years of service. “The outpouring of support for our neighbors over the past several years provided light amid so much difficulty” said Hume, “My hope is that the community continues to stay engaged, because the work we began, still continues.”
To learn more about LifeWorks Community Action, how to get involved or if you are in need of food assistance, please visit http://www.lifeworksaction.org or call 518.288.3206. Help Starts Here.
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