continued The Schroon Lake Teachers Association also asks members to bring food items every Friday in exchange for wearing jeans. The food is given to the Schroon Lake Food Pantry, which served 126 children along with 52 adults during November. And, teachers also support other programs in the community such as the Christmas Express.
“As a high school teacher I think poverty is less obvious than in the elementary school,” Corey said. “But I see the affects of the poor economy on our students and their families. It’s obvious a lot of people are struggling.”
Scozzafava pointed out some help is available.
“The town of Moriah helps in its support of the food pantry and we also offer a pre-school and after school programs,” he said. “The Head Start program also helps in this area. During the summer months the town also participates in the USDA breakfast and lunch programs during the summer youth programs. The community also helps out at Christmas time with the Port Henry Fire Department doing a toy and clothing drive. Many of our local business also participate.”
Government also has a role in helping the poor, Scozzafava said.
“Decent affordable housing is a real problem, with many absentee landlords renting properties that do not meet the building and fire codes,” he said. “Both the town and village (of Port Henry) have been addressing this ongoing problem as best we can, but the Department of Social Services also needs to work harder to see that children are not at risk in their homes. I have advocated for years that before a family moves into a dwelling that receives public assistance, Social Services should first inspect the premises to see that it is fit for living in. The caseworker should also make routine visits to ensure that the safety of the children is what it should be.
“There are many flaws in the current system, and all to often we actually make families even more dependent on these programs because of the rules,” he said.