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Advocate,

Last week we highlighted the loss of 430,500 jobs in Ohio through the Great Recession. Joe Fabiano, a 48-year-old father of two, was one of the people to lose his job.

Joe has been a vocal and visible advocate over the last week, sharing his story with the Senate Finance Committee and the media. He also shared his story with us:

Joe provided computer and technical assistance to a variety of companies and customers for over 20 years. Life for Joe, while not always perfect, was good until he was laid off in 2009 as a result of downsizing. Never in his life had Joe even applied for unemployment, let alone other government subsidy programs. Having exhausted his unemployment benefits, Joe was forced to turn to a food pantry to keep food on his table for himself and his daughters. While visiting a local pantry, a volunteer advised Joe of a program called The Ohio Benefit Bank, which would allow him to complete and submit an application for Food Assistance and Medicaid for both him and his daughters. After completing an interview with a Job and Family Services Case Manager, Joe was approved for Food Assistance and Medicaid.      

Shortly thereafter, Joe was seen by a doctor, who told him that only one-third of his heart was working and that in order for him to stay alive, he would need a heart transplant. Due to his rare blood type, Joe received a heart five weeks to the day after he was put on the National Donor List at the Cleveland Clinic. Though currently deemed disabled, Joe looks forward to the day when he can return to work and is now pursuing a degree in holistic medicinal practices. Joe attributes his life being saved to the volunteer at the local food pantry who connected him with The Ohio Benefit Bank, which enabled him to see a doctor for the first time in years. When speaking with Joe about what these programs mean to him, he said, “Folks have paid into these programs their entire lives and should not feel ashamed of needing them when the time comes.”

Watch Joe tell his story on YouTube.

Advocates for Ohio's Future needs your help to share the stories of real people, like Joe, and raise the voice of struggling Ohioans.

Will you call your senator and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chris Widener (614-466-3780) and send the following urgent message?

Along with new jobs, this budget should prioritize workforce supports for those who, despite working hard every day, still fail to provide adequate food, health care, and security for themselves and their families.

Any new revenue identified during the budget process must be prioritized for health, human service, and early care & education programs. If revenue projections increase, then those additional funds should be used to improve vital services for Ohio’s most vulnerable.

Prefer to send an email rather than call? Click here to email your senator and Senator Widener.

Finally, if you want to stay on our mailing list but opt out of the daily messages this week, just click here.

These daily emails will end on Friday, by which time the Senate Finance Committee will be considering amendments, but Advocates for Ohio's Future will continue to keep you informed throughout the upcoming Senate debate and conference committee process. Thank you for staying engaged and using your voice over the last week and a half.

Scott Britton, Coordinator

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