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Just Harvest Co-Director Visits White House

Just Harvest Co-Director Visits White House for President Obama’s Statement on the American Jobs Act

Tara Marks, Co-Director of South side-based anti-hunger organization Just Harvest, was among the guests at the White House Rose Garden for President Obama’s statement on the American Jobs Act, due to be submitted to Congress.

The American Jobs Act’s many provisions are in line with Just Harvest’s mission to advocate for a fair economy for those affected by hunger and its root cause, poverty.  Low-income job seekers and the working poor stand to benefit though a number of the bill’s components: namely, its call for infrastructure improvement projects in low-income areas, payroll tax cuts for low-income workers, the refinement of summer work programs for low-income youth, and extending unemployment insurance benefits for the 6.1 million Americans currently looking for work.

Flanked by a group of construction workers, police officers, veterans and teachers, President Obama called on Congress to pass the jobs act “immediately.”  He asked citizens to put the pressure on congressmen and senators to pass the $447 billion bill.

President Obama’s statement inspired Ms. Marks to call Congressman Mike Doyle right away to voice her support of the act.

“We have been given our marching orders, “said Marks.  “I can’t tell you how many times he said ‘pass this bill.’  This wasn’t wishy-washy talk about jobs; it was a decisive call to action for us to dust off those fax machines, write letters, and get on the phone with our congressmen and senators.”

Ms. Marks herself is a model success story of those low-income Americans that the American Jobs Act would aim to assist.  A former recipient of food stamps and cash assistance, she benefited from the essential income supports these programs provided.  As a new single mother in 2002, she was able to provide for her son while attending college, eventually earning degrees from the Community College of Allegheny County and Carlow College.  She became Co-Director of Just Harvest in 2010, after earning her MBA from Point Park College.

Ms. Marks was invited to be part of the audience for the Presidential address in Just Harvest’s capacity as a partner of the national Half in Ten Campaign.  The campaign is a joint project of the Leadership Conference, the Coalition on Human Needs, and the Center for American Progress, which aims to halve the number of people living in poverty in ten years.

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Just Harvest is a membership organization which promotes economic justice and works to influence public policy and to educate, empower, and mobilize the citizens of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania communities toward the elimination of hunger.  Visit us at www.justharvest.org or Facebook.com/JustHarvest.

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