Video by Annette Espinoza/The Wall
Both of the leading presidential candidates came to rallies in Southeastern Pennsylvania this weekend that were attended by thousands of people.
Republican Donald Trump spoke at an event at an athletic club in the suburban Bucks County township of Newtown on Friday evening. Topics addressed by Trump ranged from immigration to Common Core, and he also discussed manufacturing in the region, stating that “just a few miles from here, there’s a famous bridge that says Trenton Makes, The World Takes. Under a Trump administration, I can promise you we are going to start making things in America again.” At one point, after making claims regarding crime rates in the country, Trump said “you don’t hear that from these dishonest people back there, meaning the media, look at them”, at which point the entire crowd turned around and booed, chanting ”CNN sucks” and other lines.
The following evening, both Democratic candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and vice-presidential candidate Senator Tim Kaine took the stage 30 miles south on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, with the Center City skyline in the background. Clinton, speaking outdoors on one of the coldest nights of the season, mentioned mass incarceration, the economy, higher education, and other issues. Additional speakers included candidates for Pennsylvania state offices and Katie McGinty, a candidate to represent Pennsylvania in the United States Senate.
One of the 7,000 attendees at Clinton’s rally was resident Michael Grant, best known as Philly Jesus, who told The Wall that having events like this in Philadelphia is “nice”, but that he is “on the fence” about which candidate he supports.
By Jared Kofsky
On Thursday, President Barack Obama honored the recipients of the National Medal of Arts and the National Humanities Medal in the East Room of The White House in Washington, DC.
Elaine Pagels, of Princeton, was one of the honorees. It was announced at the event that “through her study of ancient manuscripts and other scholarly work, she has generated new interest and dialogue about our contemporary search for knowledge and meaning”. Pagels is a professor at Princeton University. James McBride, an author from Lambertville, received the National Humanities Award “for humanizing the complexities of discussing race in America”.
Other honorees included the Prison University Project, which allows incarcerated people in California to take college courses, Terry Gross, the host of Fresh Air on WHYY 91 FM, Mel Brooks, and Berry Gordy.
Click here to see photos from the event.
By Mark Scott
Food deserts are a national problem. Food deserts are town or cities that have little to no resources to have a healthy meal.
According to an article posted on Trenton250, there are only three supermarkets in Trenton that is serving the community.
With food deserts comes food insecurities. Food insecurities has a broader effect than most think. Families go hungry and students struggle to succeed in the class room. With all the research and interviews, it seems as if the only way to combat the struggles of food insecurities are to open more programs for families to get the necessary nutrients that are needed, as well as for the government to provide more funding to the families that need it the most.
Even in the Garden State of New Jersey families are facing food insecurities, whereby many parents have to choose between food and bills. Most have to choose bills in order to keep a roof over their head.
According to New Jersey Partnership for Healthy Kids, 17 percent of families in Trenton experience food insecurity on a daily bases. Food insecurities are points in time when one struggles to have an adequate amount of food. Most parents tend to allow their children to eat while they go hungry. Bills such as rent, PSE&G and water bills tend to take up most of the spending limit within the average household in Trenton.
In a recent interview with an anonymous mother that lives in Trenton, she a time in her past when she had face faced food insecurities.
“There were times when I would go hungry in order to feed my kids,” she said. “I only did it so they can better focus on school, and won’t have to worry about their tummies growling.”
When asked about the effects of food insecurities on her children’s performance in school, she said, “It’s hard for anyone to focus when you’re hungry. So in terms of their performance, it’s at an average rate.”
So exactly how do food insecurities affect students’ performance?
A study by NEA Healthy Features states, “We know that hungry children can’t learn. They feel sick, get distracted and start to fall behind.”
Mr. Carpenter a teacher at Trenton High West stated, “It’s hard for these students to focus on school work when their stomachs hurt.”
But there are small steps that are being taken to combat this problem. People tend to depend on the School Morning Breakfast program founded by the USDA in 1966 — which comes with the downfall of a first come first served basis.
The school system is becoming somewhat of a contradiction in which they teach nutrition, but yet fail to serve it. Students come from a home where they can only get what they can afford and enter into the schools and fail to receive the nutrition that is missing at home. Because of the lack of nutrition, the success of students in the Trenton Public School system tend to lose focus on the topics at hand.
There are other programs that play the same part as the school breakfast program. Some of these programs are the Mercer Street Friends Center, the Healthy Corner Store Initiative and the Farmer’s Market. The Farmer’s Market in Trenton, located at 960 Spruce St, allows for people to come and buy healthy home grown fruits, vegetables and other essential nutritious foods. While Mercer Street Friends Center runs a food bank in which they serve hundreds if not thousands of people with canned goods and other foods needed to have a balanced meal. Small programs like these allow those who lack the proper funds to keep themselves as well as their students fed.
Later on in the interview with the mother, she said, “My children would come home and explain to me that they couldn’t focus because they were hungry. As a parent, something like that hurts.”
When asked what could be done, she went to say that more more government funding would help.
Programs, like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps, have recently undergone significant cuts to the program, which require tighter restrictions on prospective applicants, but will also lead to reduced benefits for some of the 900,000 people who are already enrolled in SNAP in New Jersey.
“You can’t expect for a family to live off of $14 a month,” she said.
Even though recent cutbacks left this single mother with just $14 a month, some receive less. The governmental cutbacks just don’t effect the food stamps portion, but other additives that used to be include in SNAP, such as heating assistance.
When my own mother applied for food stamps and heating assistance, it was made clear that there was a waiting list and that it could take months if not years before she received a reply. New Jersey is one of the states that is financially unequal between classes in terms of funding. Between the reconstruction of the Jersey Shore and other plans that are in place to increase the net income of New Jersey, that leaves little to no funds for the people who desperately need it.
In an interview with Andrew Holt, a student currently enrolled at The College of New Jersey who was a student from Trenton, stated, “It’s frustrating to see people who need the funds rejected because it’s being put elsewhere. We need rules. Ones that allow the helpless to be helped first and then ration out the rest to those who don’t need it.”
With only three true supermarkets and bodegas taking up 29 percent of the grocery industry, exactly how can we change the status of the Trentonians facing food insecurities?
The answer to that is to give more funding to those who need it the most for food assistance, along with the opening of more food banks, and the true understanding of the problem at hand. Without all three things in the works, one can never fully combat food desert and the troubles that come with it. These three solutions can not only help out for the betterment of Trentonians, but also for those who face the same kind of food insecurities outside of Mercer County.
“It brings together the campus community with the Trenton community and is a really fun way to fundraise for an amazing mission.” — Katie Kahn
It was noon at the Brower Student Center at The College of the New Jersey. Students pushed through to grab lunch before they headed off to their next class.
In the midst of the swarm of backpacks, a group of students stood behind a table covered with colorful clothes and shoes. A pair of combat boots sat in an open, vintage trunk propped on the table. A rolling clothing rack displayed treasures like a Macklemore-esque fur coat, a long dress and a red and white striped shirt perfect for a Waldo costume.
Aside from the crazy finds, dresses, tops and familiar staples of a college girl’s wardrobe were on display. As students weaved by, holding salads and pizzas, some paused and bought whatever caught their eye.
While not all of the customers were aware of the impact of their purchase, the truth is the few dollars they spent on a new shirt contributed to eliminate clothing waste and benefitted their homeless neighbors in Trenton.
This is the Thrift Project, the College’s very own “Pop Up Shoppe.”
The Thrift Project was started by Tiffany Teng, a Bonner Scholar at The College of New Jersey, last year. Katie Kahn, a Bonner Scholar and the current project leader, began helping Teng out from the start of the project.
Kahn described how she saw the project as innovative and creative.
“It brings together the campus community with the Trenton community and is a really fun way to fundraise for an amazing mission,” Kahn said.
How the project works fully supports this collaboration between college students and their neighbors. Next to Ewing, where the College is located, lies Trenton, a city with a substantial homeless population. In Trenton, organizations like the Rescue Mission reach out to those hit hard by tough times.
According to Rescue Mission’s website, “The Rescue Mission of Trenton is the agency in the City of Trenton that serves the truly needy men and women who have no place to turn for shelter, food, and clothing. The Mission provides a safe, clean, warm, refuge for the homeless, the hungry, the transient and the addicted.”
Just miles away, many students at the College wish to get new clothes, but many lack the time to shop, the money to splurge and the transportation to get to local shopping centers.
At the same time, jammed into the minuscule closets of dorm rooms, piles of unworn clothes accumulate dust. Seeing the potential of benefiting both parties, the Thrift Project sells good condition, second hand clothing to fellow students with the proceeds benefiting Rescue Mission. Clothes discarded at the bottom of the closet are given to new owners and proceeds feed the hungry.
Ultimately, the Thrift Project believes, to quote music sensation, Macklemore, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” And this belief has been proven true by the success of the Thrift Project. A Pop Up Shoppe appears on campus once a semester, with hundreds of dollars made in a few hours.
Looking ahead, the Thrift Project hopes to find a permanent place. While the Pop Up Shoppe is a novel idea, spontaneous and anticipated, a permanent location in downtown Trenton will allow students to visit the city they are supporting.
Kahn and other Bonner Scholars hope to continue to educate their fellow students about the needs of neighboring communities in a fun and engaging manner. As the process to secure a permanent location continues, the Pop Up Shoppe will continue to brighten up wardrobes, donate money for a warm meal and eliminate waste.
Article written by Melody Hwang for the Fall 2014 edition of The Wall