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Health - Bensalem Township

“Laughter is the Best Medicine” Says President of Ezra’s Hope

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Cindy Ritter, president of Ezra’s Hope was on her cell phone early Friday morning teaching herself an array of foreign languages. When she answered. which was not expected since it was just past 7 a.m., an approximately hour-long conversation ensued.

The conversation was about the dual sponsored – Laughs for Recovery and Raymour & Flanigan – afternoon sit-down comedy benefit coming up this Saturday, June 22, to support the nonprofit that assists families looking the pain of addiction square in the face.

What better way to raise funds  then with the antidote for pain, which is laughter, right?, she said.

No arguing with that sentiment.

Ezra’s Hope helps families that have been affected by addiction in a variety of ways, including food and clothing donations and financial assistance. In past efforts, the nonprofit has provided care packages and gift cards, food, clothing, furniture, and other necessities, and has helped families pay utility bills. “By helping families pick up the pieces from this terrible disease in a positive light, we hope to prevent the same behavior from continuing,” Ritter said.

According to the CDC, more than 110,000 people across the United States lost their lives to drug overdoses in 2023. Of that number, 4,823 were in Pennsylvania.

Ritter said that a lack of manpower and resources in recent years has prevented the nonprofit from hosting any fundraising events.

Ezra’s Hope is holding their first fundraiser since the pandemic. The small volunteer organization is teaming up with two well-known organizations, Laughs For Recovery and Raymour and Flanigan, to host a three-hour comedy show for charity. The nonprofit hopes the event will bring smiles and laughter to the community while also raising awareness to a topic, that’s no laughing matter, addiction.

“Help has been pretty hard to find. The last time Ezra’s Hope held a fundraiser was in September 2019 before Covid-19 shut the world down. Since then, we have been unable to organize any events to help raise the funds necessary to help families in need,” Ritter said.

 

The sit-down comedy show will take place from 2 p.m.to 5 p.m. pm at Raymour and Flannigan’s Oxford Valley location 9 Cabot Blvd East, Langhorne and will feature performances by a number of local comedians.

Several prominent businesses are also showing their support for Ezra’s Hope. The Iron Pigs. Crayola. Longwood Gardens and Chipotle have all made substantial donations to be used for raffles and giveaways during the event, giving some lucky guests a chance to go home with an unforgettable prize.

Master of Ceremonies and Laughs for Recovery founder Eric Todd of Levittown is hoping the surrounding community comes out in a big way, he said. Todd’s been putting on comedy shows for about three years now.

Laughs for Recovery Outdoor Festival 2023

 

Ezra’s Hope was founded in 2017 as an outlet to offer support and education to families that have experienced the loss of a loved one to addiction. The organization is dedicated to raising awareness through education about addiction and making a difference in the lives of those who have felt the impact of its devastating effects. There is Hope for the future!

Click here to purchase tickets for this event.

For more information about Ezra’s Hope, contact Cindy Ritter ezrashope@gmail.com

Submitted:

Laughs for Recovery Comic performing Summer of 2023
Credit: Lower Bucks Source

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Health - Bensalem Township

CHIP – Pennsylvania’s Health Insurance, Uninsured Children/Teens

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Is your child or teen in need of health insurance? No matter the reason(s) your children might not have health insurance, CHIP (handled by the Department of Human Services) may be able to help you.

Since 1992, when signed into law by then-Governor Robert P. Casey, the Children’s Health Insurance Program — or CHIP — continues to be Pennsylvania’s program to provide health coverage to uninsured children and teens who are not eligible for or enrolled in Medicaid/Medical Assistance.

There are a lot of reasons kids may not have health insurance — maybe their parents lost a job, don’t have health insurance at work, or maybe other options just cost too much. Whatever the reason, CHIP may be able to help.

According to the Department of Human Services, nine out of 10 CHIP parents report satisfaction with their child’s health plan, and 96 percent received an appointment for checkups and vaccinations as soon as they wanted.

For more information on CHIP, check out CHIP – Department of Human Services.

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Health - Bensalem Township

Slight Increases for PECO Energy Customers Begin in July

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In case you did not already know beginning this month your PECO bill, might be slightly hire the next time you pay your energy bill.

Starting  July 1, PECO, the primary electric and gas utility company in the area, announced a minor increase in electric rates for residential customers.

The rate adjustment will see the typical monthly bill for a residential customer using 700 kilowatt-hours (kWh) rise slightly by $0.05, moving from $135.21 to $135.26, which represents a 0.04 percent increase.

The slight increase in residential electric rates is due in part to changes in PECO’s Distribution System Improvement Charge, a fee charged for upgrades to the company’s distribution network across its service area.

Residential gas prices will see a slight reduction, the company said.

Beginning July 1, the monthly bill for a residential customer consuming 80 Ccf (hundred cubic feet) of natural gas will decrease by $0.02, dropping from $98.02 to $98.00, or a decrease of 0.02 percent.

The reduction is also part of  adjustments in the Distribution System Improvement Charge.

Due to increased electric usage in the summer months, energy bills typically increase for customers.

The U.S. Department of Energy provided the below tips on how to save money on your energy bill in the spring and summer:

USE YOUR WINDOWS TO KEEP OUT HEAT
Install window coverings to prevent heat gain through your windows during the day.
Find out about window treatments and coverings that can improve energy efficiency.

OPERATE YOUR THERMOSTAT EFFICIENTLY
Set your thermostat at a temperature you find comfortable and that provides humidity control, if needed. The smaller the difference between the indoor and outdoor temperatures, the lower your overall cooling bill will be.

Keep your house warmer than normal when you are away, and lower the thermostat setting when you return home and need cooling. A programmable thermostat allows you to do this automatically and without sacrificing comfort.
Avoid setting your thermostat at a colder setting than normal when you first turn on your air conditioner. It will not cool your home any faster and could result in excessive cooling and unnecessary expense.

USE FANS AND VENTILATION STRATEGIES TO COOL YOUR HOME
Turn off ceiling fans when you leave the room. Remember that fans cool people, not rooms, by creating a wind chill effect.
When you shower or take a bath, use the bathroom fan to remove heat and humidity from your home. Your laundry room might also benefit from spot ventilation. Make sure bathroom and kitchen fans are vented to the outside (not just to the attic).
Find ENERGY STAR ventilating fans.

KEEP YOUR COOLING SYSTEM RUNNING EFFICIENTLY
For maximum energy affordability, schedule regular maintenance for your cooling equipment.
Learn about operating and maintaining your air conditioner, evaporative cooler, or heat pump.
Avoid placing lamps or TV sets near your room air-conditioning thermostat. The thermostat senses heat from these appliances, which can cause the air conditioner to run longer than necessary.
Learn additional tips for operating a room air conditioner efficiently.
Vacuum your air intake vents regularly to remove any dust buildup. Ensure that furniture and other objects are not blocking the airflow through your registers.

CONSIDER A RANGE OF APPLIANCES AND LIGHTING OPTIONS
Consider lighting options that operate at cooler temperatures.
Learn more about your options for efficient lighting.
Find out when to turn off your lights.
If convenient, take advantage of daylight instead of artificial lighting, but avoid direct sunlight.
Learn more about strategies for efficient daylighting.
Wash full loads of dishes and clothes for better efficiency.
Learn more about efficient dishwashing and laundry.

KEEP HOT AIR FROM LEAKING INTO YOUR HOME
Seal cracks and openings to prevent warm air from leaking into your home.
Learn more about air sealing new and existing homes.
Add caulk or weatherstripping to seal air leaks around doors and windows.
Find how to select and apply the appropriate caulk.
Learn how to select and apply weatherstripping.
Find out other ways to improve the energy efficiency of your windows.

LOWER YOUR WATER HEATING COSTS
Water heating accounts for about 18% of the energy consumed in your home.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends setting your water heater at no more than 120 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent scalding. The lower setting will also conserve energy and save money.

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Health - Bensalem Township

Point In Time Count Shows Significant Increase in Rise of Homelessness in Bucks

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Last month the results of the 2024 Point in Time (PIT) Count, which are reported each year to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), showed a 27 percent increase from last year in the number of residents sleeping in emergency shelters, transitional housing or outdoors on the night of January 23.

Of the 407 residents counted in the annual survey, 234 were sleeping in emergency shelters, transitional housing or hotels paid for by charitable organizations, 82 people were in seasonal Code Blue shelters and 91 adults were sleeping outdoors or in other places not meant for human habitation.

For the eighth year in a row, the count identified no children sleeping outdoors.

Led by the Housing Link Street Outreach teams, staff and volunteers completed more than 275 surveys during their annual countywide count of residents experiencing homelessness.

The federally mandated PIT Count is conducted each year during the last week of January. The information gathered is then compiled by the Bucks County Department of Housing and Community Development and reported to HUD.

The growth in homelessness recorded in this year’s PIT Count includes a 67 percent increase in those experiencing long-term homelessness, which is also called chronic homelessness. Code Blue shelters, run by local faith-based organizations that rely almost entirely on volunteers, saw more than double the number of residents seeking shelter on the night of the count.

Credit: AHTN

In line with nationwide trends, Bucks County saw both a 42 percent rise in seniors 55 and older experiencing homelessness, as well as a 35 percent decrease in unhoused, unaccompanied youth ages 18-24.

This year’s increases in homelessness coincide with the expiration of pandemic-era federal funding aimed at stabilizing housing situations and preventing homelessness.

Among the programs funded by those federal dollars was the Bucks Emergency Rental Assistance Program (BERA), which helped more than 6,000 Bucks County households remain in their homes before it ended in April.

A social services provider working within the non-profit community based system told Lower Bucks Source the Bucks County Housing Authority recently issued  a client they were supporting an Emergency Section 8 Voucher. A limited number of applications for Emergency Housing Vouchers (EHVs) are available to households working with the Housing Link, Bucks County’s Continuum of Care.  In order to qualify, applicants must be homeless, fleeing abuse, assault, stalking or human trafficking or are in a Housing Link Program where an EHV voucher will prevent homelessness/housing instability.  If you meet one of these criteria, contact Housing Link at 1-800-810-4434according to the BCHA website.

The Section 8 Voucher program waiting list solely for non-elderly (under age 62) disabled individuals who qualify for HUD’s Mainstream Voucher Program, as follows: 1. Literally Homeless – living in places not meant for human habitation: on the street/in car, abandoned building, parks; emergency shelter or 2. Transitioning out of an institution or other congregate setting or 3. Living in housing that is funded by a public/private agency and the funding assistance is time-limited is taking applications. Please click here for more information.

The Housing Authority holds monthly meetings in Doylestown the third Tuesday of each month 7 pm at their office, 350 South Main Street, Suite 205. Here is a link for the Tuesday July 16 meeting.

A summary of the Bucks County 2024 PIT Count is available on the Housing Link website.

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