Please join First Focus and other leading stakeholders in a sign-on letter to congressional leaders urging Congress to enact a four-year extension of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) during the lame duck session later this fall.

A reminder that the deadline for organizations to sign on is this coming Monday, October 13th. 

TO SIGN ON: Click here to add your organization’s name, location, and state to the letter.

See below for full details from First Focus and a preview of the letter.

From our friends at First Focus: 

Dear Friends and Colleagues:

Please join First Focus and other leading stakeholders in a sign-on letter to congressional leaders urging Congress to enact a four-year extension of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) during the lame duck session later this fall. Your support for CHIP has been instrumental in the past and we need your help again to secure CHIP’s future so that this essential program will continue to be available for the 8 million children and hundreds of thousands of pregnant women who rely on CHIP for their coverage. CHIP funding is currently set to expire on September 30, 2015 but states are now developing their FY 2016 budgets and need to know that CHIP will not run out of funding after next September. If Congress fails to extend CHIP funding, millions of children who rely on CHIP will face coverage disruptions; many would lose coverage altogether. At a time when our nation has made so much progress in covering kids, this would be an enormous step backwards. Let’s make our voices heard that Congress must take action to protect CHIP this year!

We encourage all interested stakeholders — whether your organization is a local, state or national organization — to sign-on! We would also be grateful for your help in distributing this letter to your networks across your state and across the nation.

TO SIGN ON: Click here to add your organization’s name, location and state to the letter.

The deadline for signing the letter is Monday, October 13th.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions. We apologize in advance if you receive this sign-on request from multiple sources. Thanks again for your support!

Lisa Shapiro

Click here to review the letter. The text is also copied below:


Dear Senate and House Leaders:

As leading national, state, tribal, and local organizations concerned about the health and well-being of America’s children and pregnant women, we are writing to urge you to take action in the upcoming lame duck session to provide continued funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Specifically, we urge you to include a four-year CHIP funding extension in the next legislative vehicle that is moving at the end of this session. Congress must act this year to stabilize the CHIP funding stream to ensure that states can continue to operate their programs without interruption. Health coverage for millions of children could be disrupted if CHIP’s future is not secured.

For nearly two decades, CHIP has been an essential source of coverage for families, ensuring access to high-quality, affordable, pediatric-appropriate health care for children in working families whose parents earn too much to qualify for Medicaid but too little to purchase private health insurance. It is a model program that has played a critical role in reducing the number of uninsured children by more than 50 percent while improving health outcomes and access to care for children and pregnant women across the nation. If Congress fails to act now, the 10.2 million children estimated to be enrolled in CHIP in FY 2015 will be at risk of having their health coverage disrupted. It is worth noting that millions of the children who stand to lose CHIP would have no other coverage option available to them. The resulting increase in the rate of uninsurance would be an enormous step backwards for children in every state.

CHIP has strong bipartisan roots and was developed as a state-federal partnership that gives governors broad flexibility to design their programs to target the needs of their child populations. CHIP’s uncertain future is a significant problem for states as they are already developing their FY 2016 budgets and negotiating contracts with insurers and providers. In order for states to continue their programs without interruption, they must know that that federal support for CHIP will exist beyond FY 2015. If funding is not stabilized, states will have no choice but to begin planning for the impending funding shortfall, which will require drastic program cuts through enrollment caps, benefit reductions, reductions in eligibility, or provider payments cuts. At a time when children’s coverage rates have hit record highs – with 93 percent of our children enrolled in some type of health coverage – it would be devastating for children if states prepare to dismantle their CHIP programs.

Congress must not gamble with our children’s future. Action on CHIP is needed as soon as possible. We urge you to include four years of CHIP funding among the must-pass legislation for the lame duck session so that families and states alike can be assured their children’s coverage will be protected.


First Focus

American Academy of Pediatrics

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists

Children’s Defense Fund

Children’s Dental Health Project

Children’s Hospital Association

Community Catalyst

Families USA

Family Voices

March of Dimes

National Alliance to Advance Adolescent Health

National Health Law Program

United Way Worldwide

Hunger Vital Signs

A new trend is spreading across the USA where many of our health care providers are including a screening tool in their assessments to determine whether someone is facing food insecurity. Check out what we are doing right here at our food bank with our new Hunger Fellow, Tina Tran.

Hunger Vital Sign

Children's HealthWatch About Us

Grow Pittsburgh’s 2015 community garden grant


Grow Pittsburgh just released its 2015 grant  application for the Allegheny Grows Program. Funds are awarded to individuals/community groups looking to establish community based gardens within Allegheny County, but outside the City of Pittsburgh. Additional criteria include the gardens they must be established in a low-income neighborhood and have to be tied to a community based organization (school, etc)  The full application can be found here