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CAP Coalition

Mission Statement of CAP

CAP Volunteer Fair


CAP Early Childhood Education Pilot Project

The Community Against Poverty (CAP) coalition was convened by the  Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) in early 2008 as an outgrowth of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs “There Shall Be No Needy Among You” initiative.

Mission Statement of CAP:

Community Against Poverty (CAP) is a broad-based coalition of St. Louis area interfaith and civic organizations coordinated by the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC). The problems of poverty run deep in our nation. Poverty impacts the ability of individuals and families to live their lives with dignity. Poverty impacts the ability of individuals to obtain quality education for their children; to meet basic needs for food, clothing and shelter; to find living wage jobs; to live in a safe and healthy environment; and to access quality, affordable healthcare.

CAP is dedicated to combating poverty through education, advocacy and service.

Currently, the following organizations are members of the CAP Coalition, in addition to the JCRC:

Bread for the World
Catholic Charities, Archdiocese of St. Louis
Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Missouri
Interfaith Partnership of Greater St. Louis
International Institute
Islamic Foundation of Greater St. Louis
Jewish Family & Children’s Service
Missouri Association for Social Welfare
National Council of Jewish Women-St. Louis Section
Operation Food Search
Presbytery of Giddings-Lovejoy
Ready Readers
St. Louis Clergy Coalition
Women’s Voices Raised for Social Justice

SAVE THE DATE: CAP Co-Sponsors Program on Ferguson and Economic Justice

The CAP coalition, along with National Council of Jewish Women-St. Louis Section and Women's Voices Raised for Social Justice, is co-sponsoring "Eight Months Post-Ferguson: The Journey from Recovery to Rebuilding." This program will feature speakers from the region addressing how Ferguson and surrounding communities can seek sustainable solutions to the economic and racial disparities exposed in the wake of the killing of Michael Brown.

Date: Thursday April 16, 2015
Time: 7 PM
Location: TBD

Stay tuned for more details.

JCRC/CAP Volunteers Help Refurbish "God's Creation" Preschool in North Saint Louis City

On December 14 and 21, 2014, members of the CAP Early Childhood Committee joined with others in the Jewish community to paint the interior of "God's Creation" early learning center in North Saint Louis City as part of the "Helping Our Community's Children Flourish" Project. CAP volunteers joined with staff at the school to make these physical improvements so that the center can remain licensed. There will be additional ways to help the school in the coming months. Some photos from the painting project are below.


Read the article in the January 18 St. Louis Post-Dispatch about the volunteer project and the work of the CAP ECE committee, which can be found here

7th Annual Community Against Poverty Volunteer Fair A Success

On Sunday September 28, over 125 people turned out for the 7th Annual CAP Volunteer Fair at The Heights. Those attending heard a pre-event interactive presentation on the beneifts of giving back from local author Alan Spector. Theyalso visited with dozens of agencies helping people living in poverty. Thanks to this year's co-sponsors (in addition to JCRC): Bread for the World, Eden Seminary Social Justice Council; Interfaith Partnership of Greater St. Louis; International Institute; Islamic Foundation of Greater St. Louis; Jewish Family & Children's Service; Mid-East Area Agency on Aging; Missouri Association for Social Welfare; National Council of Jewish Women-St. Louis Section; Presbytery of Giddings-Lovejoy; Ready Readers; St. Louis Metropolitan Clergy Coalition; Women's Voices Raised for Social Justice.

Below are photos from this year's event, which was co-chaired by Louise Levine and Ruth Schachter.




Interactive Presentation by Alan Spector.


Potential volunteer meets with a representative of Ready Readers.

"The Incredible Shrinking Middle Class"
Draws Large Audience To Learn More About Income Inequality

America is one of the richest, most technologically advanced nations on the planet. However, the typical American household enjoys a standard of living no higher today than its counterpart 25 years ago. The level of poverty is also about the same. About 200 people attended this program to hear Mark Rank, Ph.D., Herbert S. Hadley Professor of Social Work at Washington University, Robert Soutier, President, Greater St. Louis Labor Council, AFL-CIO and Mary Ann McGivern, writer and founder of the Peace Economy Project, speak on the topic of income inequality in America. Those attending learned that disparities in income have greatly increased in this country over the past 40 years. They also learned more about "right to work" laws and how these have a negative economic impact on working people. The speakers also discussed the need to focus on the American values of working for the common good and working to insure access to economic mobility as a way to engage more Americans to talk action against increasing income inequality.

This event was presented by Women's Voices Raised for Social Justice and co-sponsored by the CAP Coalition and the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet. Rev. Rudy Pulido was the moderator.


Pictured below are Professor Mark Rank, Bob Soutier, and a group shot of the audience.




Hundreds Attend Hunger Awareness Week Events

As a follow up to it January 2013 forum “Where Charity and Justice Meet: Fighting Poverty in Saint Louis,” The CAP Hunger Task Force joined forces with many area anti-hunger organizations to present “Saint Louis Hunger Awareness Week 2013.”  From October 11-18,  there were a range of  community events focused on providing food to those in need, raising money for local food pantries and educating the public about the ways to help in the fight against hunger.    Activities included the annual CROP Anti-Hunger Walk at Eden Seminary on October 13, two lectures and a lunch meeting for students with speaker Rev. David Beckmann, President of Bread for the World on October 14 and 15, and a showing of the film "A Place at The Table" at Saint Louis University on World Food Day, Wednesday October 16. Shown below are several photos from the CROP Walk along with a photo from another Hunger Week event focused on Hunger and Health and co-sponsored by CAP Agency Missouri Associaiton for Social Welfare.


Attendees also signed post cards and petitions to members of Congress opposing any cuts to the food stamp program in the 2013 Farm Bill or in the federal budget.

Sponsors for Hunger Awareness Week Were:  Bread for the World;  Community Against Poverty (CAP) Coalition, coordinated by JCRC; Church World Service; Jewish Family & Children’s Service; Missouri Association for Social Welfare, Operation Food Search, and  Saint Louis University    


Read the article in the Saint Louis Beacon about Hunger Awareness Week:

Hunger Awareness Week Article


2013 CAP Volunteer Fair Attracts Large Number of Agencies and Potential Volunteers

32 Volunteer Agencies helping people living in poverty recruited from approximately 175 potential volunteers at the 2013 CAP Volunteer Fair, which took place on Sunday September 29 at The Heights in Richmond Heights. Those attending learned about opportunities to help agencies that mentor children, do environmental projects, help senior citizens and more at this year’s Fair. The Fair was chaired by Roberta Gutwein and Martha Scharff.

Photos from the 2013 Volunteer Fair:

  (left to right) Event Co-Chair Roberta Gutwein with Planning Committee Member Anna Lehrke                                                                                  of Jewish Family & Children’s Service

  (left to right) Sarah Swinney of UrbanFuture with potential volunteers



Rev. C. Jessel Strong; CAP Chair, Renee Marver                 Potential volunteers meet with Safe
Martin Rafanan; CAP Fair 2012 Co-Chair Martha                 Connections

Potential volunteers meet with OASIS                               Lisa Kraner and Susan Zuckerman after visiting
                                                                                   with agencies at this year's Fair


Advocacy highlights of the 2013 Missouri Legislative Session

The CAP Hunger Task Force has spent the past few months providing updates on proposed legislation moving  in the Missouri State Legislature. The 2013 Missouri legislative session ended on Friday  May 17. Below are a few highlights of poverty and hunger related measures that did and did not pass.

Food Pantry Tax Credit Bill Passed and Signed Into Law

In March, the Missouri Legislature passed and Governor Nixon signed into law a renewal of several tax credit programs to benefit area food banks and food pantries.  The renewal of the Food Pantry Tax Credit, which was retroactive to donations made as of January 1, 2013, was a victory for anti-hunger advocates in the state.

HB 343 Fails to Pass 

This bill would have imposed a number of punitive and unenforceable rules on food stamp recipients and their families, including requiring almost everyone over 16 years of age who receives TANF to make at least 20 job contacts a week to retain benefits.  It also would have created school attendance requirements for children in families receiving Medicaid, SNAP and TANF that would be difficult to administer and track.  This bill did not pass.

Tax Cut Bill Passes - Tax Cut Bill Passes; Governor Issues Veto

A bill that would drastically reduce income taxes for businesses and individuals passed in the final days of the legislative session. This bill, HB 253, will potentially lead to major reductions in state revenue that will negatively affect services to low-income residents in the state. Governor Nixon vetoed this bill on June 5, calling it “fiscally irresponsible.” We will be working to sustain the veto of this bill.


75 people attended the second annual Interfaith Hunger Seder organized by JCRC and Saint Louis University’s Center for Service and Community Engagement. The Seder took place on Tuesday March 19 and was part of a national Hunger Seder Mobilization coordinated by the Jewish Council for Public Affairs and MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger. The Seder was lead by Rabbi Josef Davidson, Adjunct Rabbi at Congregation B’nai Amoona. Father Paul Stark of SLU gave the invocation. Students from SLU’s Interfaith Alliance presented readings on hunger from different faith traditions. Those attending also wrote postcards to their US Senators asking that funds be restored to the Federal WIC program which helps low-income women and children.





On Friday January 18, over 60 anti-hunger advocates and direct service providers attended “Where Justice and Charity Meet: Fighting Hunger in Saint Louis.” CAP was a co-sponsor of this program. Those attending heard from keynote speaker Jeanette Mott Oxford, Executive Director of the Missouri Association for Social Welfare (MASW). Mott Oxford emphasized that both individual acts of charity and advocacy for laws that improve the safety net for the hungry are needed. Additional speakers included Josh Protas, Director of Government Relations for MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger, Sunny Schaefer, Executive Director of Operation Food Search, Frank Finnegan, Executive Director of the Saint Louis Area Foodbank, and David Sykora, Director of the Saint Louis Area Agency on Aging. The forum concluded with breakout sessions on networking and advocacy.


Read more about the problem of hunger and the CAP Hunger Forum in the St. Louis Beacon




Dedication Ceremony for CAP ECE Project Playground
Held August 22, 2012

On August 22, the CAP coalition celebrated the opening of a new toddler playground at Perfect Gift II early childcare center in North Saint Louis City. Perfect Gift II was selected as the site of CAP ‘s ECE pilot project. Funding was received from the Incarnate Word Foundation, the Energizer Trust Fund, the Saint Louis Mental Health Board and individual donations. In-kind assistance was provided by Ibrahim Engineering Corp, Ready Readers and the Children’s Environmental Health Program at the City of Saint Louis Department of Health. Other partners include United4Children and the United Way.

Perfect Gift II was identified as a high performing early childhood center in need of physical improvements to enhance the educational experience of the children enrolled, all of whom are low-income. Funding will also be used to add windows to several of the classrooms.


Left: CAP Chair Renee Marver talks about the importance of physical improvements to area childcare centers serving low-income children, such as those CAP has implemented at Perfect Gift II

Right: Left to right—JCRC Domestic Issues Director Gail Wechsler, Zubaida Ibrahim of CAP Coalition member Islamic Foundation of Greater Saint Louis, CAP Chair Renee Marver, JCRC President Phyllis Markus, Perfect Gift II owner LaToya Davis-Hayes

Below: The children of Perfect Gift II, along with Zubaida Ibrahim of the CAP coalition(rear, center) and LaToya Davis-Hayes, owner of Perfect Gift II (rear, right)

Contact the Volunteer Agencies from the 2011 CAP Volunteer Fair






APPNA Health Clinic

Provides free healthcare services to low-income individuals




Beyond Housing

Strengthens neighborhoods through housing and support services

   Economic     Justice,
   Education,    Healthcare



Bi-Lingual International Assistant Services

Provides support to the frail & disabled elderly, particularly immigrants, refugees and racial minorities




Big Brothers Big Sisters of Eastern Missouri

Mentoring children in need of an extra role model




Casa de Salud

Provides health and wellness services for un/underinsured patients,  primarily Latinos




Circle of Concern

Provides food and other emergency help to struggling families





Provides housing and other support services for people living with HIV/AIDS




Employment Connection

Provides positive employment outcomes for at-risk populations




Family Health Care Centers

Preventing lead poisoning by doing pre-natal home lead inspections



Foster & Adoptive Care Coalition

Finds foster & adoptive families for children in foster care; volunteers needed for its ReFresh resale shop for teens and young adults





Gateway 180:  Homelessness Reversed

Largest emergency shelter in the state serving women, children and families

   Children and    Families



Immigrant & Refugee Women’s Program

Provides one-on-one instruction in English and practical skills to isolated immigrant and refugee women




International Institute

Dedicated to helping refugees and immigrants to independence and integration into our society




Islamic Foundation of Greater St. Louis

Non-profit Muslim mosque network-works on community service projects such as serving meals to the needy




Jewish Family & Children’s Service

Helps families and individuals meet the challenges of daily living; runs Harvey Kornblum Jewish Food Pantry




Kids’ Place

After-school program serving at-risk students




Legal Services of Eastern Missouri

Provides free legal representation to indigent people

   Housing, Hunger,    Children and



Let’s Start

Aims to break
the cycle of
incarceration in families by working with formerly incarcerated women and their children to support recovery

  Children and
  Suppot for  those    in criminal
   justice system  



Lydia’s House

Provides transitional housing and support services to domestic violence survivors

    Women and
    Domestic     Violence     Recovery,     Housing



Neighborhood Houses

Provides early childhood education, after-school programs, parent  ed




Operation Food Search (Cooking Matters)

Provides food to hungry families-Cooking Matters provides courses on nutrition, cooking, budgeting




Peter and Paul Community Services

Provides  transitional housing and support services to homeless 




Ready Readers

Inspires at-risk preschoolers to become readers by reading aloud to them




Redevelopment Opportunities for Women

Empowers women and their families to build skills, economic security, safety

   Women and
   Domestic    Violence Recovery



Room at the Inn

Homeless shelter for women and families

    Women and
    Housing,     Homelessness



Safe Connections

Serves survivors of domestic and sexual violence

    Domestic     Violence



Scholarship Foundation

Runs retail shop benefitting  interest free educational loan program




St. Louis Crisis Nursery

Temporary shelter for children at risk for abuse and neglect




St. Louis Naturally Occurring Retirement Community (NORC)

Supports healthy aging of older adults in their homes, including by providing support services

   Older adults



United Way of Greater St. Louis

Creates awareness of needs in community

   All aspects of




Runs mentoring and tutoring programs for urban youth




Voices for Children

Advocates for best interests of abused and neglected children




Volunteers in Medicine

Provides primary care for uninsured adults



Women’s Safe House

Provides safe shelter and support services to battered women and their children 

   Housing, Families
   and Children,



For information about  CAP, contact Gail Wechsler at 314-442-3894 or gwechsler@jcrcstl.org



Jewish Community Relations Council of St. Louis | 12 Millstone Campus Dr. | St. Louis, MO 63146 | 314-442-3871 | jcrcstl@jcrcstl.org