OCAP benefits from United Way funding

Published 4:00 am Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The Organized Community Action Program (OCAP) in Troy is one of 18 United Way Agencies that benefit the Pike County community.

OCAP is a private, non-profit community based, community action agency dedicated to improving the quality of life for low income, disabled, elderly and unemployed people by assisting in providing for their basic needs when they have no available means for themselves.

Cindy Hinton, OCAP services director, said knowing that OCAP will receive quarterly United Way funding assists in planning for the funding of OCAP programs and gives the OCAP budget a good boost.

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“We have received funding from the United Way for about 10 year and it is greatly needed and greatly appreciated,” Hinton said. “It makes a difference in the lives of many.”

Hinton said OCAP has a variety of programs to assist its clients with their needs.

The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program helps low-income clients with the cost of cooling their homes in summer and heating them in the winter.

“The weatherization program assists with improvements to homes to make them more energy efficient and, therefore, reducing energy costs. This program is especially for the elderly and handicapped,” she said.

OCAP also provides emergency assistance to unemployed and under-employed people in the way of food and shelter.

“When funds are available, OCAP can make a one-time rent or mortgage payment to keep the clients from being evicted from their homes or a one-time utility payment during a time of crisis,” Hinton said.

Head Start is perhaps OCAP’s poster child program.

“Head Start is the OCAP program that most people know about,” Hinton said. “Head Start provides underprivileged and special needs children, ages three and four and pre-K in some areas, with nutrition, education and medical services.

“Students are taught preschool subjects to prepare them for school and to fulfill their developmental potential.”

The children are served two balanced meals a day and have access to a comprehensive health program.

There are two Head Start centers in Pike County, in Troy and Brundidge, and they operate on the same calendars as the local school systems.

OCAP also offers a Fatherhood Initiative Program that promotes healthy relationships between fathers and their children. The men are referred to the program through the court system and the Department of Human Resources.

“We want the fathers to stay in the good graces of the courts,” Hinton said.

“OCAP provides education that will empower men to be responsible fathers. We want to see the fathers back in the homes with their children.”

Hinton said there are always emergency situations that arise after funded programs end and the United Way funds are there to assist in between programs.

“Sometimes we need money to buy something a vital as a bus ticket back home for an abused mother and her children,” she said. “We never know what our emergency needs will be but we can count on the United Way being there for us.”