NEPA Organizing Center Takes on Local Poverty

A local poverty-fighting program will begin tonight at the headquarters of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Organizing Center in Wilkes-Barre.

Frank Sindaco, coordinator of the center at 198 S. Main St., said tonight’s event at 7 will mainly be an effort to develop relationships with leaders in local religious communities, but the meeting is open to anyone.

"The faith community is a massive part of people’s lives so it just seems sensible," Sindaco said as to why tonight’s event is mainly focused on the religious community.

Sindaco, who has worked in human rights for the past 15 years, arranged for members from the New York City-based Union Theological Seminary’s Poverty Initiative at Columbia University to kick off the local program tonight.

John Wessel-McCoy, the organizer of the Poverty Initiative, said members of his group will be facilitating discussions among leaders of different faiths in the Wyoming Valley as to what they can do in this economic time of crisis, and what they can do in the future.

This initiative is similar to the civil rights movement, or the labor movement, in that it is an effort to unite leaders and community members nationwide promoting change, Wessel-McCoy said.

"Largely, it is up to the community. It is up to the people who come to talk about where they want to go from here," Wessel-McCoy said. "We are coming to the people to see if they are interested."