GD and his wife are both diabetic and with their costly bills struggle to have enough to afford healthy foods. On a regular basis, GD visits Highland County Community Action Organization’s food pantry program for help. The agency changed their intake process for the food assistance program to include a full assessment and realized they could provide more assistance to GD and his wife.

It was determined that GD and his family could receive both energy and prescription assistance, but at the time, he did not have the necessary paperwork to apply for the programs. Highland County CAO gave him a list of the paperwork they would need to provide him with this additional assistance.

GD was one of Highland County CAO’s first clients to come in and apply for the Winter Crisis Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP), which provides a one-time payment for people whose utilities have been disconnected or are at risk of being disconnected. Thanks to the list the agency provided, he brought all of the necessary paperwork and the agency was able to complete his application the same day and keep his electric from being shut off and he was able to receive propane to heat his home.

With his wife taking 22 medications for health issues, the agency was also able to provide prescription assistance. This created a monthly savings for the household of over $350, which he is now using to purchase healthier foods for him and his wife.

When the agency recently did a follow up call to GD he shared that he was able to help purchase diapers for his granddaughter when his son was laid off. This small step toward helping someone else was something he had never been able to do before receiving assistance from the agency. He has since referred both of his children to the agency’s Financial Capability program, a financial literacy class that provides information on budgeting, credit repair, meal planning and understanding banking. The agency hopes they will find the same success or better than their parents did.

For more information about Community Action programs in your area, visit www.oacaa.org. Note, not all Community Action Agencies offer these programs.

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