Tourism board kicks off an­nual food drive

Event ful­fills a prom­ise made to Pope Fran­cis

The Mercury (Pottstown, PA) - - BUSINESS - By Donna Rovins drovins@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @Mer­cBiz on Twit­ter

VAL­LEY FORGE » More than two tons of food — 4,500 pounds to be ex­act.

That is the am­bi­tious goal for the Val­ley Forge Tourism and Con­ven­tion Board’s third an­nual Val­ley Forge Free­dom from Hunger Food Drive.

The cam­paign runs through Sept. 30. Do­na­tions ben­e­fit the Montco Anti-Hunger Net­work, a coali­tion of hunger re­lief or­ga­ni­za­tions work­ing to­gether to make healthy foods avail­able to all com­mu­ni­ties in the county.

The re­turn of the food drive ful­fills a prom­ise made by the agency in 2015, when Pope Fran­cis stayed in Mont­gomery County at the St. Charles Bor­romeo Sem­i­nary dur­ing the world Meet­ing of Fam­i­lies in Philadel­phia. The tourism agency cre­ated the food drive as a “farewell” gift to the Pon­tiff.

The drive was of­fi­cially launched Thurs­day night dur­ing an open house at the tourism board’s King of Prus­sia of­fice. Join­ing in the launch were Mont­gomery County Com­mis­sion­ers Joe Gale, Val Arkoosh and Ken Lawrence.

For this third year — the Val­ley Forge Tourism and Con­ven­tion Board has set a

re­duce, but not elim­i­nate, the cost and fre­quency of re­pairs. Typ­i­cal monthly main­te­nance costs vary from a low of $25 a month in Phoenix to a high of $83 in Bos­ton, ac­cord­ing to an Angie’s List anal­y­sis of Cen­sus Bureau fig­ures. Gen­er­ally, the harsher an area’s weather and the higher its la­bor costs, the more home­own­ers pay for pre­ven­tive care.

That’s true for re­pairs as well, although how much you spend de­pends on what breaks and how badly. The usual rule of thumb is to set aside 1 per­cent of your home’s pur­chase price each year for re­pairs. Some years you’ll have money left over, but even­tu­ally you’ll face a cost like a new roof that over­whelms your sav­ings. When that’s the case, that home eq­uity line of credit can be a low-cost way to pick up the slack.

Med­i­cal bills

If you think health care costs are pre­dictable, you’ve never faced a sur­prise bill from an out-ofnet­work anes­the­si­ol­o­gist at an in-net­work hos­pi­tal — or any of the other ways that med­i­cal pric­ing de­fies sense and logic.

Ideally peo­ple would save enough to cover their an­nual de­ductibles, but that can to­tal thou­sands of dol­lars. (The av­er­age de­ductible un­der a “sil­ver” Oba­macare plan is $3,609 this year, and it’s $6,105 for a bronze plan, ac­cord­ing to the Kaiser Fam­ily Foun­da­tion.)

Save what you can, but your Plan B shouldn’t in­volve credit. Most med­i­cal providers offer in­ter­est-free pay­ment plans, and many also have some kind of dis­count for strug­gling fam­i­lies. They may not offer un­less you ask, and they al­most cer­tainly won’t if you whip out a credit card.

Isn’t this just an emer­gency fund?

The un­ex­pected wouldn’t pre­sent such a big prob­lem if we all fol­lowed fi­nan­cial plan­ners’ ad­vice to stow at least three months’ worth of ex­penses in an emer­gency fund . The av­er­age house­hold spends $4,688 each month, ac­cord­ing to the Bureau of La­bor Statis­tics, so such a fund would to­tal

The best way to deal with the un­pre­dictable is to pre­dictably set aside money ev­ery month. Make sav­ings an au­to­matic habit, and you’ll be bet­ter able to cope with what­ever sur­prises life of­fers.

about $14,000.

That’s a good goal, but the most im­por­tant thing is to tuck away some­thing — any­thing — ev­ery pay­check. The best way to deal with the un­pre­dictable is to pre­dictably set aside money ev­ery month. Make sav­ings an au­to­matic habit, and you’ll be bet­ter able to cope with what­ever sur­prises life of­fers.

SUBMITTED PHOTO

The Mont­gomery County Com­mis­sion­ers helped the Val­ley Forge Tourism and Con­ven­tion Board of­fi­cially launch its third an­nual Free­dom from Hunger Food Drive Thurs­day dur­ing an open house at the agency’s King of Prus­sia of­fice. The drive runs through Sept. 30 and or­ga­niz­ers have set a goal of col­lect­ing 4,500 pounds of food. Shown from left are: Com­mis­sioner Joe Gale, Monty the Fox (the agency’s mas­cot), Val­ley Forge Tourism and Con­ven­tion Board Pres­i­dent and CEO Mike Bow­man, Com­mis­sioner Val Arkoosh and Com­mis­sioner Ken Lawrence.

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