I was recently at a Healthcare Roundtable with a key note speaker from the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation. This Foundation is well known for innovative funding to large and small projects which will improve the overall health status of people. One phrase from her talk caught my attention because it so connected with our Rochester experience of intransigent poverty and local efforts to address it.
“The choices we can make are limited to the choices we have.” The Rochester Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative and ACT Rochester out of the Rochester Area Community Foundation have done a wonderful job of naming the measure of poverty that individuals and families live with on a daily basis. You have read the statistics: over half of our children live in poverty; Rochester is the fifth poorest city in the country, with the most people living in dire poverty.
“The choices we can make are limited to the choices we have.” Getting out of poverty in Rochester right now has much more to do with needed system change than individual choice. Poverty can come quickly, but it tends to hang around a long time.
We see this every day at the Neighborhood Center. People continue to make wrenching choices between health care insurance versus the other basics of life. This is despite the opportunities that the Affordable Care Act has put in place. The affordable choices are still limited for many people – you can’t choose something you have no financial access to.
The Center is currently accepting twice as many patients per month than we are discharging. We are enrolling people in primary health care, mental health counseling, to dental, chiropractic and other specialties because there are no other options available.
You continue to make this possible with your donations and gifts. Every gift counts towards the health of each of our patients and clients. Every gift impacts patient health and the ability of the Center to function at a high level of readiness and flexibility.
Thank you to those who have contributed to our Fall Appeal and to those who will. Thank you for participating in the fun of ROC the Day! It is an insane day for us as we try to get as many people involved in ROC Giving as possible. Thank you for responding to our wish list, these items are essential for our day to day operations.
Our wishes for you are happy holidays, grace poured out on you and your family, health and well-being in large measure and prospects of peace for our city, country and world. Thank you for all you do to care for those in our community, our neighbors.
–Christine Wagner, SSJ