Bits 'n' Pieces

City Council Adopts Fiscal Year 2023 Budget

On Sept. 13, the Long Beach City Council voted to adopt the city’s $3.2 billion budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2023. The budget continues the prioritization of significant pandemic recovery support for residents and business; implementing new forward-thinking initiatives that promote safety, health and quality of life; and makes strong investments in the city’s infrastructure.

Long Beach is a full-service city and prides itself on providing a variety of resources and services to the community, including the provision and improvement of affordable housing; support for economic development and business assistance; the overall continuum of public safety and emergency medical response; a comprehensive homelessness response; maintenance of safe, clean and accessible parks and facilities; and infrastructure and livability improvements.

The adopted budget maintains these services at the FY 22 level, and also makes substantial new investments into many service priority areas while utilizing resources in a strategic and fiscally prudent way.

“The Adopted Budget addresses critical priorities for our community and our organization,” said City Manager Tom Modica. “I thank the Mayor, the entire City Council, the Chair and members of the Budget Oversight Committee, our Departments and our Budget Office team for their hard work and dedication throughout the budget development, review and adoption process.”

Help Disadvantaged Long Beach State Students

A way to assist CSULB is by donating gently used business attire during the Clothing Donation Drive to help students look their best for interviews, business events and professional development. The Beach Pantry has partnered with the Career Development Center and the Basic Needs Program to launch the clothing donation drive Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sept. 22 through October 7. 

Donations may be made at the following locations: University Art Store, ASI Beach Pantry, Career Development Center, The Beach on 2nd Street, University Bookstore, and the University Student Union Information Center.

Local Artists Inspire Healthcare Heroes

The St. Mary Medical Center Foundation and Carolyn Caldwell, President and CEO at Dignity Health - St. Mary Medical Center, present its inaugural President Wellness Challenge to inspire lifestyle changes and better daily habits among employees. The challenge aims to get employees moving, thinking and working in healthier ways, while lowering the risk of heart disease or a stroke, by way of team-building efforts.

Among the healthy habits promoted in this challenge is stair climbing, a quick and effective way to get your heart rate up and get your steps in.

“As health care workers, we know how important it is to stay healthy”, states Carolyn Caldwell, President and CEO at St. Mary Medical Center.

“We reached out to local artists in the community to help us with our wellness challenge. Art has been shown to help lower heart rate and reduce anxiety and what better way to inspire our staff to take the stairs instead of the elevators than by having amazing murals lead the way.”

While the artists were given creative freedom, they were asked to stay within the theme of wellness from a physical, mental, nutritional or environmental standpoint.

The first mural, titled “Let’s Fly,” was completed by Delanie Johnson, an alumni of CIC – Long Beach Polytechnic High School. She is currently a sophomore in the College of Art and Design with a concentration in Studio Arts at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Delani selected the Monarch butterfly for her mural, which is currently on the endangered species list.

“Changes in our environment need to happen to support the life of these butterflies,” says Johnson. “Similarly, we need to make changes in our own life in order to support our wellness and longevity. My hope is that the staff at St. Mary Medical Center draw inspiration from these murals.” 

“As part of CommonSpirit Health, St. Mary’s mission is to improve the health of the people and community we serve, and the health of the planet is critical to this work. A healthy environment - fresh water to drink, clean air to breathe, fertile soil in which to grow our food - is vital to our health. As such, we’re committed to making meaningful changes to address climate change and reduce our environmental footprint,” says Caldwell.

Over the summer, CommonSpirit Health introduced the CommonSpirit Health Climate Action Plan. By committing to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040 and a 50 percent reduction in its operational greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, the organization is taking bold steps in recognizing environmental protection as an essential part of improving health for all. More information can be found at hellohumankindness.org/climate/.

Support for Single-Parent Students at LBCC

Raise The Barr (RTB) and Long Beach City College (LBCC) announced an innovative partnership to launch a pilot program that will coordinate care and housing for low-income single-parent students and their children. This is the first time the two organizations have partnered together with the goal of improving academic outcomes with a program that focuses on LBCC single-parent students and their families.

Twelve students will be selected by LBCC to participate in this one-year pilot program. Long Beach City College’s CARE, CalWORKs and Basic Needs staff will work closely with RTB’s Whole Family Program Coordinators to provide wrap-around academic, mental health services and other basic needs to LBCC’s single-parent students and their families, including:

  • Subsidized housing
  • Childcare
  • Financial literacy and career development workshops held at LBCC

Through this collaboration, the initial cohort of LBCC’s single-parent students will gain access to Raise The Barr’s whole-family model designed to help single parents persist in college by intentionally and simultaneously working with both generations.

Raise The Barr’s support will include activities focused on peer-to-peer support, mental health and wellness, healthy relationships, job training and career development, and financial empowerment with an emphasis on reducing financial burden, stabilizing expenses, and building wealth. 

Nationally, it is estimated that one out of five undergraduate students is a parent, with about half of them single parents.  Student parents are more likely to identify with one or more marginalized communities; they are more likely to be first-generation students, identify as women and BIPOC, and live at or below the poverty line.  Students who are single parents are much less likely to graduate than other undergraduate students. They also graduate with more student debt.  Promoting college success among single-parent students is critical to improving racial, ethnic, and gender equity in higher education access.

Food Pantry Delivery Reduces Malnutrition

Long Beach Food Pantry Delivery (LBFPD) is an evidence-based program determined to fight the growing levels of senior hunger and malnutrition. This service protects the Long Beach community by providing free weekly nutritious groceries home-delivered to seniors in need. 

Seniors make the fastest growing groups suffering from food insecurity in the USA. Many battle with mobility issues, preventing them from accessing desperately needed nutritious food or they prioritize their income on medications before food, while others struggle with shame and are silent.

Some seniors are also more likely to face hunger due to racial and economic inequality; especially seniors that identify as Black, Latino, or Native America; have lower incomes; or have a disability.

According to the Feeding America, The State of Senior Hunger Report, 2022, in 2020 (the most recent year for available data), 5.2 million seniors ages 60+ faced hunger - that’s 1 in 15 seniors. It’s anticipated, with the soaring inflation of 2022, that more seniors will suffer from hunger. This can put seniors at risk of health-related conditions like depression, asthma, diabetes, and other life-threatening illnesses. 

Help Me Help You (HMHY) launched LBFPD in late 2020 as a response to the increased community demand for food pantry services and concerns around our most vulnerable senior hungry community accessing free food services safely, due to the COVID pandemic environment. 

To reduce senior malnutrition and hunger, The Community Preventive Services Task Force (CPSTF) recommends home-delivered food services for seniors who are living independently. CPSTF found that home-delivered meal services also increase energy intake and improve health-related quality of life and well-being. Today, LBFPD, has grown as a proven program to directly fight senior hunger by providing more than 500 seniors (60+) with free nutritious groceries home delivered. Those that qualify select their preferred delivery time and dietary preferences from a variety of healthy fresh and packaged grocery items from the five food groups. Clients also receive weekly recipes; nutritional information; a needs analysis; and free benefit enrollment services for CalFresh, Medical, and General Relief, as well as links to housing services. These services are not only life-improving but can be lifesaving. 

LBFPD relies on the generosity of donations and sponsors to continue to provide and grow the service.  If you are interested in sponsoring this essential service, please contact us at info@helpmehelpu.org or donate at helpmehelpu.org/donate-now

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