ISSUE 80 | October 5, 2020
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From Around the Region and the State
Economic and Policy News
COVID-19 creates higher demand for food pantries
The COVID-19 pandemic has fueled greater demand for food pantry services in Northeast Pennsylvania, according to the Commission on Economic Opportunity (CEO).

The amount of food CEO provides to people in need has doubled during the pandemic – from one million to two million pounds.

The number of people going to food pantries each week has more than doubled as well.

Health Secretary shares plan for vaccine distribution
In a press conference, Pennsylvania Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine discussed the commonwealth’s strategy for mitigating the effects of the pandemic this fall.

Dr. Levine emphasized the importance of accessible health care and explained that the state is developing a vaccine distribution plan (for implementation when vaccines become available).

This plan prioritizes health care workers and other people in need, before gradually distributing the vaccine to the broader population. 

United Way gives kids COVID-combatting goodie bags
The United Way of Wyoming Valley has begun distributing hygiene kits to students at schools throughout the area.

The kits are intended to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, and they include soap, hand sanitizer, masks, and other supplies.

They will be available to approximately 3,000 students at 23 schools. 

From Around the Nation and the Globe
Economic and Policy News
Nearly two-thirds of U.S. households struck by COVID-19 face financial trouble
New polling data from NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and Harvard found that nearly half of all households in the United States have lost jobs or faced pay cuts during the pandemic.

These financial challenges are even more common among households in which someone has fallen ill with COVID-19.

About two-thirds of these households have experienced serious financial difficulties.

Food insecurity skyrocketing in the U.S.
New estimates suggest that food insecurity throughout the United States is the worst it has been in years.

Researchers from Northwestern University found that it has more than doubled in the last 12 months, affecting nearly one quarter of American households.

Black households and people with disabilities are at least twice as likely as white households and people without disabilities to lack stable access to food.

Recommendations issued to help city budgets prioritize racial equity
The nonprofit FUSE Corps and the Government Alliance on Race and Equity recently collaborated to identify a set of recommendations for how local governments can use their budgets to progress toward racial equity goals.

These recommendations include tracking and assessing the success of investments in equity, involving the voices of diverse communities in budget-related decisions, and several other actions. 

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