The Rochester-Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative hopes input drives decision-making

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The Rochester-Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative has come out with a report that shares the community’s concerns since the start of the coronavirus crisis.

No surprise here; people across the Rochester community are concerned about access to food and how to ensure their physical health and safety during and after the pandemic quarantine, according to the report, which was released Tuesday.

The initiative, or RMAPI, collected feedback through social media, texting, online surveys, and virtual and one-on-one phone conversations. Those responses are shared with leaders daily, and the input is meant to guide informed local decisions about how to respond to the community’s needs, especially people affected by poverty.

Community concerns are divided into three phases: the coping period between now and the end of quarantine; the recovery period in the three to six months after quarantine ends; and the reconstruction period one to two years after the quarantine.

Among the concerns now until the end of the quarantine, whenever that may be:

• Low-income people have to go out more often for services, increasing the chances of contracting the coronavirus.

• Going out for food, including free meals provided for them, increases risks.

• Lost income, unemployment benefits issues and accessing federal stimulus money are problematic.

• Mental health issues grow as social distancing practices continue. This also includes the children whose routines have been disrupted and are struggling emotionally. Many may be without emotional support without access to their teachers and peers.

And for the years beyond the end of the quarantine, many are anxious about unpaid bills and impacts on the job market and retirement accounts.

A growing overall concern is for children who are falling further and further behind in their education, particularly among parents who are working remotely and do not have the time or financial means to provide full-time homeschooling.

The Rochester-Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative’s aim is to improve quality of life by reducing poverty and increasing self-sufficiency by addressing structural racism and trauma and building community.

Gratitude and then some

Now this is being thankful and deliciously so.

A local fifth-grade teacher, along with friends, family and co-workers, wanted to show appreciation to the caregivers and health professional staff at the Canandaigua VA Medical Center for their endless hours of dedication and service.

They also wanted to support local family-owned businesses through this difficult time, as there are so many wonderful eateries in Canandaigua and the surrounding areas that are trying to stay open and provide services.

With donations that were received, they will be able to provide lunch to the medical staff and caregivers at three of their community living centers.

Assorted sub trays from Casa Italiana, pizza from Pontillo’s Pizzeria, both in Canandaigua, and chicken and biscuit dinners from the Old Mill Restaurant in Gorham were to be delivered Tuesday.

Gabe Cinquegrana from the Voluntary Service Office is credited for his help coordinating this.

Girl Scout cookies

Those Girl Scouts always seem to be doing something nice for others. And it’s paying off now in a big way.

Prior to the local outbreak of COVID-19, the Girl Scouts of NYPENN Pathways Council, which serves 24 counties in New York (including Ontario) and two in northern Pennsylvania, designated Meals on Wheels programs across its service area as the 2020 Sweet Support community partner for its cookie program. Through this annual service project, customers choose to gift their Girl Scout cookie purchases to assist a designated community entity.

Meals on Wheels programs are experiencing an increase in the number of elderly community members requesting meals during this pandemic. To date, roughly 550 cases, or 6,600 individual boxes, of Girl Scout Cookies have been donated to Meals on Wheels. Even more are being shared each day thanks to the generosity of the public and troops obtaining more customer cookie donations.

The Ontario County Office for the Aging received about 300 boxes of cookies to distribute to Meals on Wheels clients, according to Director Irene Coveny.

Drive-thru food event

The second community-wide drive-thru food distribution is planned for 2 to 5 p.m. Friday at the Geneva Enterprise Development Center, 122 N. Genesee St., Geneva.

Food is for Ontario County residents only.

Canandaigua Churches in Action, the city of Geneva and Ontario County have partnered with Foodlink to supply households with a 25-pound box of emergency food in response to the COVID-19 public health crisis.

Mental health amid pandemic

Ontario County Public Health will focus on mental health amid the COVID-19 crisis during its live update at 10 a.m. Thursday, April 16, on Finger Lakes TV.

Finger Lakes TV, the public access station at Spectrum channel 1304 and online at fingerlakestv.org/live, has been providing a daily COVID-19 update weekdays from 9 to 11 a.m. with a mix of live and recorded segments and written announcements. It is repeated each night from 9 to 11 p.m.

Segments by Ontario County Public Health are also archived online at vimeo.com/channels/588728<https://vimeo.com/channels/588728>.