Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Community Action Services offers a helping hand when things get tough

We are fortunate to have a variety of nonprofits doing good in our community: We have United Way of Utah County, with its South Franklin Community Center in Provo, Sub for Santa programs, tax help, Everyday Learners program, and more. 

There’s the Food & Care Coalition, which serves meals to people in need seven days a week, offers transitional housing, has a dental clinic, and more. 

Then there’s Tabitha’s Way, which operates food pantries in Spanish Fork and American Fork. 

There’s also the Utah Food Bank which offers mobile food pantries throughout the state. Community Action Services and Food Bank – celebrating our 55th anniversary this month – offers some of those same services, but we’re so much more. 

You probably know Community Action as a food bank – and that’s part of what we do. We have four main food bank locations – Provo, Heber, Coalville, and Springville – and smaller pantries serving neighborhoods and schools around Utah, Summit, and Wasatch counties. 

We also pack bags – called Kids Paks – every week for kids in need to take home on Fridays, so they have enough food for the weekend, and we supply local senior centers with boxes of food for seniors in need. 

However, getting food to people in need is only part of our mission. 

The Financial Learning Center provides one-on-one financial counseling and homebuyer education and mortgage courses to empower families to improve their financial situation. 

Bridges Out of Poverty: Our workshops educate community members about poverty in our area and why it exists while giving volunteers opportunities to work with people living in poverty.

Circles Initiative: This extended program helps low-income families and individuals stabilize and build self-reliance so they can move out of poverty.

Community Garden: We rent plots to community members for a small fee every summer.

Commercial Kitchen: Exclusively for food startups, it operates on a sliding-fee scale based on income.

Emergency assistance: We provide rent and utility assistance, bus tokens, transportation assistance, and vouchers for furniture, clothing, and hotels. 

In the 55 years we’ve been serving our community, we’ve helped thousands of our neighbors create better lives. 

We’ve helped them put food on the table, get out of poverty, grow their own food, pay their rent or utility bills, learn how to budget, start a business, and buy a house. 

In 2021 alone, we did the following:

Received 3,925,622 pounds of donated food 

– Distributed 3,441,113 pounds of food – Sent home 23,305 Kids Paks (an average of 728 per week) 

– Hosted eight commercial kitchen users 

– Had 38 Circles program participants, with four graduates – Helped 19 Circles participants reduce their debt and four get off all public assistance 

– Issued 555 motel vouchers – Made 1,634 rent payments and 1,207 rent arrears payments 

– Made 205 utility payments and 825 utility arrears payments 

– Hosted 63 garden users 

– Had 175 households attend home-buyer education classes 

– Had 84 households receive pre-purchase counseling and 163 complete the home buyer pre-purchase program, among many others. (Serve Daily submission by Jennifer Durrant.)

Guest Contributor
Guest Contributor
Articles from community members to share their viewpoints, or letter to the editor.
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