Breaking the Cycle

Breaking the CycleGalen Morehead. Provided photo.

By Galen Morehead, Outreach Services Coordinator, TCRM —

Addressing food insecurity in Tioga County isn’t just a matter of charity. It’s a fundamental obligation to ensure the well being of everyone in our community. 

I speak from personal experience, having grown up in a single-parent household where financial struggles were a daily reality. While we never went hungry, the meager assistance from SNAP benefits often left us scraping by, unable to afford basic necessities such as butter, eggs, or milk. Dinner was often a simple meal of pancakes without syrup, or pasta without sauce.

My mother’s disability meant she couldn’t work, and the Social Security payments she received barely covered essential expenses such as rent and utilities. We couldn’t afford the luxury of a car. Simple pleasures such as school trips or outings to the movies were beyond our reach.

Unable to find stable housing, we had to move frequently. In times of desperation we turned to local churches for help, as there was no organization like Tioga County Rural Ministry in Chenango County. 

At 16 I took my first job at Fashion Bug. My job provided a semblance of independence; but despite my earnings, poverty continued to cast a shadow over my life. 

Despite these challenges I persevered, eventually finding my way to college. Still, the specter of poverty lingered. I often spent Christmas in my dorm room because my family back home lacked stable housing.

Today I stand as a testament to the resilience born of adversity. My journey from hardship to stability has imbued me with a deep sense of purpose, driving me to make a meaningful difference in the lives of others.

As the Outreach Services Coordinator at TCRM, I am committed to leveraging my experiences to support families facing similar circumstances. It’s not just a job; it’s a calling rooted in empathy and a steadfast commitment to fostering a more equitable society.

Tioga County boasts an array of programs specifically tailored to confront the challenges of poverty head-on. From food assistance initiatives to job-training programs, these efforts provide our neighbors with the resources and support they need to build brighter futures. 

Alongside these other organizations, we at TCRM are working tirelessly to address the root causes of poverty and break the cycle of deprivation. Our goal is to ensure that no family in Tioga County experiences the hardships that defined my upbringing, empowering people to transcend the limitations imposed by poverty and reach their full potential.

To learn more, visit or call (607) 687-3021.

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