Roxann first became aware of Community Action of Allegan County (CAAC) in 2010 as she received food through CAAC’s Quarterly Food Commodity Program (TEFAP). As time passed, her household was able to sufficiently manage expenses without seeking assistance other than occasional help with food.
Things changed drastically during the winter of 2018. Roxann’s electric was pending shut off and her propane tank was empty. Roxanne called 2-1-1 for help. Little did she know the very same agency that had helped her with food assistance eight years prior would be the same agency to help her with her utilities. 2-1-1 referred her to CAAC as she qualified for Crisis Utility Assistance. CAAC quickly paid her electric bill to ensure she would not be shut off and filled her propane tank allowing her family to be safe through the winter. Soon after receiving assistance, the Governor of Michigan declared the winter of 2018 a State of Emergency. The timing of CAAC’s support couldn’t have been more perfect.
Within weeks Roxann was granted guardianship of three of her grandchildren. At the time of this placement, she was not given any compensation in the form of food stamps, clothing allowance, vouchers, or cash assistance to help her with the cost of raising them. The children would be returning to school and needed clothing, school supplies, food, and other necessities. While Roxann was grateful she was now able to provide a warm home for her grandchildren, she knew she needed additional support. Her utility bills, food budget, and general living expenses had doubled in weeks and Christmas was quickly approaching.
CAAC understands how beneficial wraparound services are and strives to help families from all angles. When CAAC staff heard about Roxann’s situation, they quickly intervened, providing her with food through the same program she had used eight years ago, referred her to churches and other community agencies that could provide clothing and helped Roxanne submit an application for all benefits she would qualify through MI Bridges as she now the legal guardian for her grandchildren.
Finally, after waiting for almost three months, she received her Food stamps. Things were finally looking up for Roxann, however, once she received her cash assistance her food assistance was reduced by 40%. While things were still going to be tight, Roxann did not grumble. She was very grateful for the assistance as she and her husband were sharing all of their Social Security income with their grandchildren.
Roxann had gone to many agencies in Allegan County and was very appreciative when she walked into CAAC. “How wonderful Community Action is! Staff is excellent, they really care about helping, you don’t see this in many agencies. They took the time to make sure I received all the help I needed and then some.” recalls Roxann.
Roxann was surprised at Christmas when CAAC informed her she qualified for their Christmas Giving Program. “I was able to actually walk around the large room filled with toys and select toys for them. They even thought of my husband and me, we received gifts also. Our grandchildren were so happy on Christmas morning. I teared up watching them scream and laugh and grab their toys! I am very very grateful for CAAC as they have assisted me whenever I have had to seek assistance”.