Help preserve Bordner Cabin in Swatara (PA) State Park on Wednesday, October 19

bordnercabinHow would you like to spend a day in the woods, helping to preserve historic Bordner Cabin in Swatara State Park in northern Lebanon County?

From 9am to 4pm you can help other volunteers stain this deep woods structure.

For directions and information please contact:

  • Jo Ellen Litz, Lebanon County Commissioner, 717-228-4427, jLitz@LbnCty.org
  • Margie Groy, RSVP Lebanon County Coordinator, 717- 454-8647, LancLeb@rsvpCapReg.org

Internet Essentials: Another twist on low-cost broadband service for low-income Americans

Comcast, the cable TV giant, is the biggest name in the low-cost internet business with a program called Internet Essentials. If you live in areas of the country served by Comcast and you qualify, you can now get Internet Essentials for just $9.95 per month instead of the $40–60 (after teaser promotions) the company charges for its lowest cost basic plan. As of August 2014, over 1.4 million kids from 350,000 families now are online thanks to the wonderful program.

Consider this important statistic: Only 45% of families earning under $30,000 currently have broadband service in their homes. This puts those parents and their children at a huge disadvantage when it comes to finding and applying for jobs, communicating with doctors, completing homework and other everyday tasks that more affluent families take for granted.

Internet Essentials costs just $9.95 a month and delivers a blazing fast 10 Mbps download speed. Qualifying families will even be able to purchase a computer for only $149.99. There are no activation fees and no additional equipment fees, and your internet now comes with a wireless router.

You also get the world famous Norton Security Suite which gives you professional online security. It’s a $160 value, but you get it absolutely free.

Great news for America’s senior citizens: Internet Essentials conducting pilot program for seniors

And finally, Internet Essentials gives you free parental control features to help protect your kids whether they’re doing their schoolwork or just playing on the internet.

How to qualify for Internet Essentials

To qualify for Internet Essentials and get a low-cost computer and high-speed internet access for just $9.95 per month, a family must have at least one child eligible to receive a reduced or free school lunch through the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) (recently broadened to include students in private schools, parochial schools and homeschooled students). Schools designated at “Provision 2” automatically qualify all students.

There are two restrictions that you must be aware of:

  1. You cannot have been a Comcast internet subscriber in the last 90 days. If you want to get Internet Essentials, you are going to need to cancel (if you contract allows) your service and call Internet Essentials to sign up after three months.
  2. You cannot have a Comcast bills that is over 12 months past due. However, if you have an overdue bill from just within the last 12 months, Comcast has recently changed the rules and will accept you as an Internet Essentials customer, provided you agree to the payment plan they work up to pay off the late bills.
  3. You cannot have any unreturned equipment.

Of course, you have to be in an area served by Comcast, but you’ve got a good chance, since Internet Essentials is available in more than 4,000 school districts in 39 states plus the District of Columbia.

READ ALSO: Internet Basics: inexpensive internet for low-income Americans

The states we show as having Comcast Cable available are: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia (DC). If you don’t see your state on the list, you should still check with Comcast in case they’ve added service in a state since we wrote this.

Once enrolled, a customer will be able to continue receiving Internet Essentials service at the same low price as long as at least one child in their household continues to qualify for a reduced or free lunch under the National School Lunch Program.

Internet Essentials originated when Comcast acquired NBC. In order to win FCC approval, Comcast agreed to “increase broadband deployment in low income households” for three years. In 2014 they said they would like to run the program “indefinitely.”

Cities and Towns with Internet Essentials

This is not an exhaustive list but shows most of the cities and towns where Comcast Internet Essentials is available: Pennsylvania: Altoona, Greensburg, Harrisburg, Johnstown, Lancaster, Lebanon, Levittown, Mechanicsburg, Norristown, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Pottstown, Reading, Scranton, State College, West Chester, Wilkes Barre, York.

Recent Articles on Internet Essentials

Finally: HUD approves internet access program for low-income seniors– Seniors in all of Comcast’s markets can now apply for the company’s Internet Essentials program to obtain internet access for $9.95 per month. It’s also offering technical training, digital literacy programs, and devices for senior citizens in those communities.

Huge Internet Essentials expansion: $10 per month plan now available to HUD families with no children – If there’s one complaint we hear most often here at CheapInternet.com, it is that none of the low-income Internet plans are available to families without children. Well, Comcast and its Internet Essentials program has taken a big step toward solving that problem.

More good news for America’s poor: Comcast bringing cheap internet to public housing residents – Comcast just announced that it has begun rolling out its low-income, high-speed Internet Essentials plan to residents of public housing.

Yarn and knitting supplies needed for Veterans’ project

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RSVP volunteers make lap robes and afghans for veterans at VA Centers, shelters and senior residences. Yarn may be dropped off at our RSVP office in Camp Hill, between 9am and 4pm weekdays. Please call before delivering. A cart is available for transfer from your vehicle. We can arrange to pick up large quantities. In addition to yarn (no rug yarn please), we also need other knitting supplies.

RSVP partners with schools, food banks and shelters by collecting and distributing hats, mittens, gloves, socks, scarves and personal care items. If you have other handmade needle-arts items that you would like to donate, we would appreciate your collaboration. Cash donations are also welcomed.

If you know of veterans in residence that are in need of any of the items mentioned above, please contact us. RSVP of the Capital Region is a 501[c]3 non-profit community benefit organization that has been assisting volunteers throughout the Susquehanna Valley for more than forty years.

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To donate or inquire, please contact Juli Obaya at 800-870-2616 or email Office@rsvpCapReg.org

 

Will Lockwood Named RSVP February Volunteer of the Month

RSVP of the Capital Region has named Will Lockwood as its Lebanon County Volunteer of the Month for February.

After retiring as a mechanic with the US Air Force in Colorado, Will Lockwood moved to Lebanon County and quickly sought out volunteering opportunities through RSVP.

In the fall of 2013, Will began delivering with the Meals on Wheels program Will Lockwoodadministered by the Lebanon County Area Agency on Aging. He delivers meals faithfully every Wednesday in all kinds of weather.  The picture of him putting meals in his truck shows the snow on the ground but NOT the frigid temperature!  He has filled in on numerous occasions when people are sick or on vacation. Recently, Will stepped up when one of the other Meals on Wheels volunteers was out for surgery and delivered both Wednesdays and Thursdays for about 14 weeks while the other driver recuperated.  According to Michelle Long, Volunteer Coordinator for the Area Agency on Aging, “Will is very kind to the Meals on Wheels clients and all of them comment about how caring he is. They look forward to having their meal delivered by Will!  I am so happy to have him as a volunteer!”

Will Lockwood’s life of service, both professionally and as volunteer, exemplifies the finest qualities of citizenship and neighborliness. RSVP salutes Will Lockwood as its Volunteer of the Month for February.

John Kearney named RSVP Volunteer of the Month

RSVP of the Capital Region has named John Kearney as its Lebanon County Volunteer of the Month for March.  Annville resident John Kearney has been the site coordinator for Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) at the Hispanic Center for several years.  He devotes many hours during tax season to assure that all runs smoothly.  John is crucial to the success of the VITA program.

John Kearney 001The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program offers free tax help to people who generally make $53,000 or less, persons with disabilities, the elderly, and limited English speaking taxpayers who need assistance in preparing their own tax returns.  IRS-certified volunteers provide free basic income tax return preparation with electronic filing to qualified individuals.

Call 717-273-9328 to schedule an appointment or to learn more about VITA.

Kearney is Professor Emeritus of English at Lebanon Valley College, where he taught English literature and communications for 35 years.  Helping young people understand and appreciate Shakespeare, Chaucer, Dickens, and George Eliot is a pretty good assignment.  He also volunteers at Lebanon Habitat for Humanity.
A widower; his wife of 44 years, Carol, died two and a half years ago, John is the father of five living children, seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.  His hobbies or pursuits are travel (especially Italy and France), gardening, reading, running, reading the novels of Charles Dickens aloud among a group of friends, and occasional politicking.

John Kearney’s service to our community is an inspiration.  RSVP is proud to recognize him as the Volunteer of the Month for March 2015.

For more information on volunteer opportunities, email lebanonrsvp@rsvpcapreg.org or call RSVP’s Lebanon County office at (717) 454-8956 or the statewide Senior Corps of Pennsylvania hotline toll-free at 1.800.870.2616.

John Moyer named RSVP Volunteer of the Month

RSVP of the Capital Region has named John Moyer, a volunteer with Compeer of Lebanon County, as its Lebanon County Volunteer of the Month for March.  John has been matched with his Compeer friend Roland (not his real name) for more than four years.  Compeer matches volunteers with an individual in recovery from a mental illness such as depression or anxiety in what are called “friendship matches.”

John Moyer PictureWhen they first met, John noted that Roland was a very quiet man who preferred staying in his home. So, John goes over to Roland’s home each week, where they watch movies – both John and Roland are huge movie buffs!  When the weather is nice, John and Roland go for a walk before returning home to watch whichever film is the chosen one for the day.  While Roland prefers the familiarity of his home, occasionally the two friends do go on trips. John remarked that four years ago, Roland would never have gone out to a movie theater; his Compeer friendship has given Roland the confidence to branch out into more social settings.

John loves being a Compeer volunteer. He once said, “I make my Thursday afternoons with Roland as important as any other appointment in my life. I enjoy being with Roland so much, I’d never schedule a doctor’s appointment or anything else during that time. Getting to spend time with someone, helping them get comfortable in new settings, it’s a great feeling. Roland is a great guy, and I’m so glad that we get to be Compeer friends.”

John also drives a van for the VA Hospital, picking up veterans to transport them for appointments at the Lebanon VA Medical Center.  Moyer has a love of singing, especially religious music, and cantors at services held at Ft. Indiantown Gap Military Reservation.

RSVP is proud to recognize John Moyer as the Volunteer of the Month for April 2015.

Compeer of Lebanon County needs volunteers to be a friendship match generally, and in their new CompeerCorps Vet2Vet program where veterans are paired with other veterans.  CompeerCorps Brochure 2015  To learn more, please contact RSVP of the Capital Region at 717-454-8956.