January 26th in Emporia Gazette—A great article about the poverty simulation was published the day after Family Promise and ECKAN held the simulation.  Please check it out.   http://www.emporiagazette.com/area_news/article_1c696324-80a3-5b89-911b-e50aae94609d.html  This coordinator was slightly misquoted but, it was close.  This coordinator said it is not personal deficiencies that are the cause of poverty and the gazette published not personal “decisions.”

One highlight from the article—

“This experience was a super positive experience,” he said. “It’s really cool being able to play characters. This time I was a 16-year-old pregnant woman and my boyfriend was there, so we were trying to hang out quite a bit. For an older economist that’s sometimes a bit of a challenge, but sometimes we forget about the dire circumstances people face when they’re in poverty.”

Catlett said, overall, the simulation reinforced his belief that poverty does not have to exist in today’s society.

“We don’t have to have poverty,” Catlett said. “President (John) Kennedy’s inaugural speech said we’ve got the power to destroy the Earth, which means we’ve also got the power to eliminate poverty. We’ve got one of the most affluent societies on the planet and we still struggle with poverty, and that’s inexcusable from my perspective.”

ECKAN Human Services Coordinator Julia Wilson, who moderated the event, told participants that more than 6,300 Emporians currently live in poverty. With a population of just less than 25,000, that amounts to a 25.5 percent poverty level in the city. Wilson said last week 16 homeless people came to her office seeking assistance. That, she said, was reason enough to keep pushing for anti-poverty programs.

“We can’t just give up on anti-poverty efforts,” she said. “It can be the easy way out to say we’ve been offering food assistance for so long and now so many people depend on it, and they’re just not motivated. I just don’t think that’s the case. It’s not individual decisions that create poverty. It’s time to take a step back and think about how we can change our approach and keep trying.”

Community Presentations or Other Outreach Activities:

The Poverty Simulation with Family Promise on January 25th went extremely well!  ECKAN brought attention to the realities of poverty and Family Promise gained much needed attention and support for their efforts to start housing homeless families inside local churches.  At the end of the simulation a woman who is now a professor at the college came up to this coordinator and reported that she grew up in extreme poverty and said it was just like the simulation.  This was great reinforcement and motivating.  Another poverty simulation is already in the works as a result of connections made at this simulation for the staff at Walnut Elementary school.

January 17th in the Gazette—Family Promise leader and President of the school board, Doug Epp, put out an article with the Emporia Gazette to spread the word before the poverty simulation the hosted with ECKAN.  This coordinator was slightly disappointed ECKAN wasn’t mentioned in this article.  However, ECKAN did get this conversation started and a lot of community attention to poverty sprouted.





We packed back packs and sorted shoes today in Douglas County.  We sorted over a thousand shoes and backpacks. 
The distribute dates will be August 9-11, 2017.  We provide a back pack from pre-K through the 12th grade.  Shoes were provide K-6th grade.  There were some neat looking shoes.
Programs like this would not be possible with out the generous donations of organizations within our communities.   These are pictures of the Human Service Coordinator, accepting the award for $2,000 from Prairie Potawatomi Nation Charitable Contribution Award Ceremony. We thanked them for the award and their partnership with Eckan. We informed the group and the members that the money will be for buying back to school supplies for grades pre-k- 12th grades for Douglas County which consist of Eudora, Baldwin City, and Lecompton.

ECKAN is so thankful for those that generously gave during Arvest’s Million Meals Campaign.  It is with wonderful community partners, like Arvest, that we can provide food for those in need in our area!  Be sure when you stop in to Arvest that you thank them for their community minded vision!

ECKAN would appreciate the Ottawa community sharing your thoughts on our Summer Lunch Bunch Program.