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By the Numbers; Roaring ‘20s Night to Help Food Bank; Jobs, Justice, Songs, Stories

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Mark Roessler
Domenic Sarno

By the Numbers

35 percent: The amount by which spending per student-athlete rose at community colleges between academic years 2003-2004 and 2010-2011, while per capita spending on other students declined

25 percent: The amount by which spending per student-athlete rose at public four-year colleges during those years, while per capita spending on other students increased by 1 percent

 

29 percent: The amount by which spending per student-athlete rose at private four-year colleges during those years, while per capita spending on other students increased by 5 percent

 

42 million: The number of American households that have food gardens, up from 36 million five years ago, according to a new report, “Garden to Table,” from the National Gardening Association. That accounts for 35 percent of all U.S. households.

Who are these home food producers? The report found that people over the age of 55 were the largest demographic group gardening, followed by those aged 18 to 34. The number of gardening households with annual incomes of less than $35,000 increased by 38 percent between 2008 and 2013. City dwellers have also been embracing the trend; the number of urban households that garden rose by 29 percent in that time period. Perhaps most dramatic: the number of households that participate in community gardens increased by a whopping 200 percent in those five years.

 

Roaring ‘20s Night to Help Food Bank

Let’s outlaw hunger. Let’s revive Prohibition, but prohibition against hunger, not booze.

That’s the theme of the Speakeasy Soiree, the 2014 fundraiser for the Food Bank of Massachusetts, where flappers and their escorts will be dancing to live music by the Eric Olsson Band, bidding at live and silent auctions (on a two-day trip to Las Vegas and two tickets to a pre-season Patriots game, among other things), tasting wine, beer and food from local restaurants and even indulging in a bit of gambling—for chips only—on Friday, April 25. Be at the Log Cabin, 500 Easthampton Road in Holyoke, from 6:30 to 10 p.m. At the door, knock three times and give the password “Bee’s knees.”

Speaking of things to remember, when you think of the Food Bank, the magic number is 9; that’s the multiplier effect that enables every dollar the Food Bank receives to buy the amount of food the rest of us would pay $9 for at retail grocery stores. And there’s another important figure: 20 percent, the percentage of families with children in Massachusetts who can’t afford all the food they need. To help the Food Bank launch its ‘20s chic offensive and make sure children in the Valley don’t go hungry, make an online reservation at http://www.foodbankwma.org/events/gala-2014. For a preview of the event, see WWLP’s Mass Appeal at 11 a.m. on April 18. All proceeds go to the Food Bank.

 

Jobs, Justice, Songs, Stories

Western Mass. Jobs With Justice holds its annual conference on Saturday, April 19, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Trinity United Methodist Church at 361 Sumner Ave. in Springfield. The day includes workshops on organizing efforts in education, housing, health care, transportation and other areas; a keynote address by Jeff Crosby of the New Lynn Coalition, which focuses on community and labor groups influencing economic development; and a plenary session on “Raising Up Low Wage Workers.” The conference is free, although donations are appreciated. For more information or to register, go to www.wmjwj.org.

On the heels of that event, WMJWJ will present its annual “Voices of Working People’s History,” in celebration of International Workers’ Day, or May Day. The event features songs and readings “from people who make history happen but are usually left out of history books,” and this year includes a remembrance of Pete Seeger. 

The event takes place on Thursday, May 1, from 7 to 9 p.m. at Holyoke Heritage State Park Visitors Center at 221 Appleton St. To reserve a seat, email wmjwj@wmjwj.org or call 413-827-0301.

 

Worth Quoting

“Take care of your goddamned kids.”

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno, calling for parents to take more responsibility for their children after a weekend that saw multiple shootings in the city

“Mayor Domenic Sarno and club owners are trading insults and complaints after a shooting near a club downtown. Dog bites man.”

Matt Szafranski on his blog Western Mass. Politics and Insight

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