| to Berks Chapter of PASR
Berks County Chapter of the Pennsylvania Association of School Retirees which is comprised of 1250 retired members who were employed at one of the following school districts: Antietam, Boyertown Area, Brandywine Heights Area, Conrad Weiser Area, Daniel Boone Area, Exeter Township, Fleetwood Area, Governor Mifflin, Hamburg Area, Kutztown Area, Muhlenberg, Oley Valley, Reading, Schuylkill Valley, Tulpehocken Area, Twin Valley, Wilson, Wyomissing Area, Berks County Intermediate Unit, Berks Career and Technology Centers, Reading-Muhlenberg Career and Technology Center, Reading Area Community College and Kutztown University.
Berks County Chapter of the Pennsylvania Association of School Retirees serves all retirees of the public schools and universities that receive a pension from PSERS. As Berks County has a large and diverse membership, there are 8 subchapters serving members.
Berks County Chapter of PASR is meeting the needs of former co-workers and friends, raising money for scholarships and educational grants, visiting members in nursing homes, doing volunteer work in the community, and lobbying state legislators on issues of importance to school retirees. We currently are working to support pension reform.
Come join us!
BERKS COUNTY ASSOCIATION OF SCHOOL RETIREES
Come out to the Grange meeting on September 6th. We will begin registration at 10:15 am. Our family style luncheon will begin promptly at noon. You will see so many facets of our Chapter with the Memorial Service, Lauretta Woodson awardees, the Communication Award and more. The Berks County Chapter accomplished the goals set forth by the Pennsylvania Association of School Retirees.
We also will be voting on the by-laws that were studied by a committee of 5 persons. The BCASR Executive Board approved the by-laws at the May meeting. They are located on our website: www.orgsites.com/pa/berks-chapter-pasr/. Highlights of the changes are on page 10. You may call me at (610)775-1597 or email me at email@example.com if you do not have access to the Internet. As you read this newsletter you will see how we have grown from individuals doing community service, to subchapter projects, and now to our new Hands Across Berks County initiative. All forms of volunteer work are being done. Join with us as we serve those in need. We continue to study legislative action on pension reform. We are proactive and approach legislators as needed.
We had a great information session on July 17th for executive board members and interested members. We learned about the services of both the Berks Area Agency on Aging and Berks Encore. Chapter presidents and our executive board have copies of the handouts.
We also learned about PASR insurances through its Membership and benefits services.
Our trip changed from Russia to a River Cruise from Budapest to Amsterdam. We did not want to risk political turmoil or endanger our members. See page 2 for details. Any proceeds from the trip will go into our educational support fund.
Hope to see you at the Grange! Remember we are serving others and helping each other enjoy retirement.
Dr. Sandra L. Becker, President
The Berks Chapter Executive Committee will review the updated Berks County ASR By-Laws on May 8th.
We would like our membership to check out our bylaws for adoption at the Grange Meeting.
Please click on the link below to review the Berks County ASR By-Laws.
HELPING HUNGRY STUDENTS IN BERKS COUNTY
To the dismay of the Berks County community, United States Census Bureau data has identified the City of Reading as the poorest city in America with a poverty rate of more than 41 percent. The Pennsylvania Department of Education reports that 39 percent of Berks County students qualify for free and reduced lunch – that is more than 27,000 children. With continued high unemployment and more anticipated budget cuts it is expected that the demand for food assistance will remain high through 2014 and beyond. That is why the board of directors of our parent organization the Pennsylvania Association of School Retirees voted unanimously to encourage all chapters to either continue or to initiate a special project or activity seeking to alleviate hunger in their communities during the 2013-2014 membership year.
The Greater Berks Food Bank is a first class organization in the fight against hunger. The mission of the organization is to feed the hungry by acquiring and distributing food to people in need. The Food Bank is appealing for increased financial contributions to support the Weekender Backpack Program, a program created to meet the needs of hungry children at times when other resources are not available, such as weekends and school vacations. Backpacks are filled with enough food for six meals and two snacks and include a non-food item such as shampoo, toothbrush or a book. The food is child-friendly, non-perishable, easily consumed and vitamin fortified. The Backpacks are distributed to children on Fridays or the last day before school holidays. The food is packed in nondescript backpacks to not draw attention. The Greater Berks Food Bank currently distributes about 700 backpacks a week at elementary schools located throughout Berks County.Volunteers are needed to assist with filling the Backpacks at our local schools. If you are interested in volunteering with this project, please call Ashley Snyder, the Volunteer Coordinator at the GreaterBerks Food Bank. She will provide you with a list of schools throughout the county where they need help filling the Backpacks. Ashley can be reached at 610.926.5802 ext. 212.
In our last newsletter, I suggested that BCASR consider giving financial support to the Greater Berks Food Bank “Weekender Backback Program” to help feed hungry children attending schools across Berks County. In response to my suggestion, Pat Bright, a retired school nurse from the Governor Mifflin School District and member of our South Berks subchapter, secured a generous $500 donation from Thrivent Financial for Lutherans in order to support this initiative.
On behalf of all the hungry children in Berks County, I would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to Pat and all those involved with Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, Southwest Berks County Chapter, for providing a helping hand to BCASR.Our second awesome program is the after school program for C.E. Cole students in 5th and 6th grade. This year has been the most successful one for this program. The Foundation has partnered with the Park and Recreation Department of Muhlenberg Township who provides the staff of six counselors who are paid for by the Foundation. This program costs the Foundation $340 per week.
Parents must register their children with Dr. Gifﬁng, Principal of C. E. Cole. Two sessions are held each year – spring and fall. Students’ homework is checked while they receive tutorial help in the computer room. While one group does this, another group is in the gym to learn athletic skills and have fun. After a snack in the cafeteria they switch locations so all students can beneﬁt from the academic and athletic sessions. About 30 students are involved at this time with the hope we can enlarge this number. Everyone involved believes this to be an excellent program. The parents pick up their children at 5:00 p.m. Any parent interested should call the C. E. Cole building for information for next year.
In addition to these two programs, we are involved with supporting the high school “No Room for Hate” program by partially funding their yearly assembly. The foundation has also funded a variety of individual high school students’ requests for ﬁnancial assistance with special courses and/or needs.
If you are interested in volunteering to assist the foundation, call Nate DeLuca at 610-921-0419 or write to the foundation at P.O. Box #245, Temple, PA 19560. Donations are gratefully accepted at the Temple address. We are a 501C3 non-proﬁt education foundation. Contributions are tax deductible.
2014 BERKS ASR COMMUNITY SERVICE SURVEY
To access the Community Service Survey form please click on the link below.
Print this form, complete it and return it to: Mary Ann Zerkowski, 2146 Fairview Avenue, Reading, PA 19606-1810
Legislative - Political Education
When you were employed, the annual dues you paid to your union provided the cost of your legislative representation and lobbying. These dues amounts ranged up to several hundred dollars. In retirement, this is no longer true. Unfortunately, the annual dues charged by PASR is not enough to support all of our legislative efforts. L/PEC was created for those who could afford to contribute more, to help PASR establish a strong and effective legislative voice for all school retirees.
What is this money used for? It is used to provide the information and support our legislative volunteers and members need to promote issues of concern to all school retirees with their legislators. Your contribution to L/PEC enables PASR volunteers and members to effectively advocate for benefit improvements and fight to protect the benefits they are currently receiving and other school retirees.
Social Service Memorial Honor Fund
One of the SSMHF goals is to promote awareness of the activities that are undertaken by the association on behalf of our members in need. BCASR sub-chapters have a Social Service Memorial Honor Fund Committee whose function is to serve its members.
A memorial shrine is displayed at each meeting to perpetuate the memory of our members who are gone, but not forgotten. A basket is also in place if anyone wishes to contribute money towards the county or state Social Service Memorial Honor Fund. Funds for SSMHF are generated from interest on investments and by contributions from individuals and chapters. Last year, state wide $40,890.86 was given to members in need.
Because of the special efforts of sub-chapter SSMHF volunteers, many members were provided with attention, support, and recognition. Their hard work throughout the year is truly impressive and deserves heartfelt thanks!
Membership Services And Benefits
Good news concerning membership cards. You can obtain your membership card for BCASR from your sub-chapter president and begin using it for the following BCASR only discounts. In order to participate in these discounts your dues must be current. The discounts are good through June 30, 2015
. The Nosegay Florist, 7172 Bernville Rd. Bernville, 10% off cash and carry purchase of flowers and gifts.
Savage L&B Dodge, Chrysler Jeep, 1 Big Spring Rd. Robesonia, 10 % off service and parts and any new vehicle purchase friends and family program which is 1% under invoice.
Ruth’s Dress Shop, 42 South Fourth St. Hamburg, 20 % off one time only regular price item, women’s and missy apparel.
The Doris Berry Shop, Hamburg, 10 % off your total purchase.
Reading Symphony, 25% off tickets for performances and 50% off of a full year membership for 1st. time members only. Call the office directly. Do not go through a second party.
Adelphia Seafood, 10% off purchase on Tuesdays only.
Ronco Pharmacy, 10% off drugs over the counter drugs on Wednesdays only
CJ Tires, 10% off parts and labor, $40.00 off a set of 4 tires.
Sneaker Villa, 15% of purchase
Reading Farmers Market Wyomissing, 10% off purchase at most stands on Thursday’s only and must be 62 years old.
I HOP - 10% off
Any questions please call Candy Hartranft at 610-488-1568 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Most businesses offer discounts. All you have to do is ask.
Notice: Unpaid Dues for BCASR
We have all forgotten to pay dues and other items once and a while. Unfortunately, that doesn’t help us pay our bills.
If you pay Annually and have not paid your dues for 3 years or more years, you will be removed from our data base. Annual Dues is only $5.00. You may contact Mr. Kerry Hoffman at (610) 678-8828 or by email at KHOFF18@aol.com.
Berks Chapter will have our international trip (river cruise) from Vienna to Amsterdam beginning on June 18, 2015. Please contact Barry Kulakowsky at email@example.com for more information.
Click on 2015 BERKS GREAT RIVERS OF EUROPE CRUISE to access the Travel Brochure. Please be patient while brochure is downloading.