“SALLY” IS A single mother who had been working as a caseworker for a mental health counseling facility for adults, until she became a victim of downsizing and has spent the last two years unemployed. Things were tough for her while collecting unemployment insurance, but that has ended and Sally has had to do what she could to provide food for herself and her 6-year-old daughter. And that meant getting what has traditionally been called food stamps, public assistance to help her stretch her exceedingly meager budget.Sally is not the real name of the 40-year-old Neptune resident and college graduate, but she asked that her name be withheld. Sally’s story has become more common here in Monmouth County.“You just feel so helpless; sometimes it feels so hopeless,” she said recently.Kathleen Weir, the deputy director of the Monmouth County Division of Social Services, shared the startling news that her offices has seen an 83 percent increase since Oct. 2009 in active case loads for the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, or SNAP, previously known as food stamps, a federally funded public assistance program. According to Weir the current number of active cases as of last month stands at 16,585. By active case, Weir explained that the number of those applying has remained fairly consistent since 2009, but this indicates more are meeting the eligibility requirements.On the state level, enrollment has increased by more than 24 percent, by about 150,000 individuals, from March 2010 to March 2011, according to information provided by Nicole Brossoie, assistant commissioner of public affairs for the New Jersey Department of Human Services.During that same time period, according to Brossoie, the number of households on the program grew by a little more than 25 percent or about 80,000 additional homes.When money gets tight, when people try to live on less as they lose their jobs or find themselves in difficult straits, they will make changes, cut expenses. But “Food is not a discretionary expense. You need it to live,” this week said Arti Sinha, a Monmouth County human services specialist.Sinha said the makeup of the clients has been changing in these last few economically difficult years. “I’ve seen more retirees then I did in the past,” as those on fixed incomes try to address the rising cost of groceries. “I’m seeing younger families who in the past were able to make it,” but now can’t, she said.“I had people in the past say, ‘There are people who need it more than me. I’m not going to apply. But now I need it,’” Sinha said of her experiences. “That is the phrase I keep hearing over and over, that people are coming because they must, it’s imperative.”“It’s very said.”There has also been a change in some of the geography. There are traditional pockets within the county, most of them in the eastern portion, where clients would live. Now, though, “We’ve seen a lot of clients that we would never have seen in the past,” from some of the western and affluent communities, such as Manalapan and Marlboro, Allentown, Millstone, she said.“We’ve definitely seen quite an influx,” she said.A family of four would qualify for SNAP if their gross income level doesn’t exceed $3,447 per month. And families can include children up to age 22. “If you live together and eat together you are considered part of the same household,” according to Sinha. There are other deductions available for housing, utilities and medical expenses. At that income level a family would be eligible for $668 a month from the program for food. And “the bigger the household size, the higher the income threshold,” she said.But for some that allowance isn’t enough to carry them through the month, forcing them to go to food pantries.One woman told Sinha how she buys mac and cheese and frozen hot dogs for her three young children. “’I buy things based on how long I can make them last,’” she told Sinha.“You’re buying based on that it’s filling, rather than maybe nutritional, and you look for what’s on sale,” Sinha said, relating her clients’ experience.Sinha and her colleagues have seen their caseloads triple, which has its impact on them as well. “Everyone’s story is so compelling,” and she and her co-workers worry about suffering from compassion fatigue. “You wake up at 3 o’clock [a.m.] thinking about finishing a case,” she said.“I truly feel for families with children and the elderly,” Sinha said. “They are the most vulnerable of our population.”Sally in her work sometimes would have to assist other vulnerable populations, those emotionally and mentally challenged, to maneuver the system to get them benefits, never thinking she would be in a similar situation she said.“I’ve heard a lot of complaints,” from those that had been her clients. Some lived in single room occupancy hotels, under housing vouchers. But those facilities usually don’t allow hot plates or refrigerators, and the food program doesn’t allow clients to purchase prepared foods, making it difficult for them, she said.SNAP also doesn’t cover paper products, which can be another problem for people, Sally said.Sally has been surviving on intermittent work in her field and some help from her family. But looking for work has been “horrible” and she and her daughter will have to move in with her parents.For now the food stamps provide a necessary lifeline, but “It’s limited, it’s once a month and it’s never enough,” she said.
The Selkirk Saints added some grit to the lineup for the 2014/15 B.C. Intercollegiate Hockey League season.The Saints announced a playing commitment from forward Tyler Kerner of Taber, Alta., to attend Selkirk College.”Tyler is a hard-working, physical winger who plays the game with lots of energy and competes hard,” head coach Jeff Dubois of the two-time defending BCIHL Champion Saints said. “He really fits the profile of the type of player we were looking to add to what is shaping up as a very skilled group. We see Tyler being a guy who sets a physical tone for us and who makes himself and his line difficult to play against, particularly versus top players on other teams.”Kerner is a 5-foot-11, 205 pound winger who spent the last three seasons in the Alberta Junior Hockey League playing with the Lloydminster Bobcats, Drumheller Dragons and Olds Grizzlys.He split the 2013/14 campaign between Drumheller and Olds, where he scored once while adding nine assists and 85 penalty minutes in 36 regular season and playoff games.Over the course of his Junior A career, Kerner scored nine goals and totaled 32 points and 255 penalty minutes in 112 AJHL games. “I’m very excited to start my post-secondary career with the Saints and join a winning organization,” said Kerner, who describes himself as playing a physical, simple, role game while taking pride in taking care of his own zone first.”I think of myself as a leader who is willing to do whatever it takes to win. I work very well beneath the crease protecting the puck while trying to find players to set up in the offensive zone.” Kerner plans to enter Selkirk’s Business Administration program.”I’m looking forward to moving to the community of Castlegar, as it reminds me of the town I was raised in,” Kerner explains.”The small classes are also a huge benefit, knowing that there will be more attention to help me get the most out of my schooling. My academic goal this year will be to achieve a GPA of 3.5 or higher. On the ice, I want to develop my game while helping my team capture a third straight BCIHL championship.” Kerner is the Saints’ ninth commitment for the 2014/15 season, joining forwards Ryan Edwards (Beaver Valley, KIJHL), Jamie Vlanich (Nelson Leafs, KIJHL), Alex Milligan (Peninsula Panthers, VIJHL), Matt Martin (Ontario Avalanche, WSHL) and Connor Beauchemin (Castlegar Rebels, KIJHL), as well as defencemen Curtis Toneff (Campbell River Storm, VIJHL) and Danny Vlanich (Surrey Eagles, BCHL), and goaltender Steven Glass (Nipawin Hawks, SJHL).
Second-place trainer Mark Casse (Valadorna) – “She ran great. She had a good trip and was maybe just a little bit late getting out with the soft fractions, but I was proud of her. It was the way I expected her to run. She’s a very good horse. She needed (the education she got in her last race) today.” ARCADIA, Calif. (Nov. 5, 2016) – Ciglia Racing, Exline-Border, Gulliver Racing, Sharon Alesia et al’s Champagne Room ($69.20) blew past early pacesetter Noted and Quoted at the head of the stretch and then held off a late bid from Valadorna by three-quarters of a length to win the 33rd running of the $2 million 14 Hands Winery Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1), the first of nine World Championships races Saturday afternoon at Santa Anita Park.Trained by Peter Eurton and ridden by Mario Gutierrez, Champagne Room covered the mile and a sixteenth on a fast track in 1:45.12. It is the first Breeders’ Cup victory for Eurton and second for Gutierrez, who won last year’s Juvenile on Nyquist. CHAMPAGNE ROOM WINS 14 HANDS WINERY BREEDERS’ CUP JUVENILE FILLIES Breeders’ Cup World Championships – Saturday, Nov. 5 It was the second victory in five starts for the Kentucky-bred daughter of Broken Vow. Third-place jockey Mike Smith (American Gal) – “We broke real bad and it cost me the race. That’s all it was.” Third-place trainer Bob Baffert (American Gal) – “I thought she ran an incredible race considering how wide she had to go the whole way. She’s shown she can go a distance and what a good horse she is.” Winning trainer Peter Eurton (Champagne Room) – “I wasn’t feeling utterly confident (coming down the stretch). She was actually moving pretty well. She was getting a little tired, but there wasn’t anyone catching her. I’m feeling pretty good right now. This means an awful lot to me.” 14 HANDS WINERY BREEDERS’ CUP JUVENILE FILLIES QUOTES Winning jockey Mario Gutierrez (Champagne Room) – “I had a perfect trip. She broke really sharp. I was able to settle behind the speed and when I asked her, she ran with all her heart today.” Second-place jockey Julien Leparoux (Valadorna) – “We had a pretty good trip, but there wasn’t much pace. I had to wait a little bit on the turn and I think the winner got away from us. She ran a big, big race.”