APRIL 2015 - In This Issue:
"Worcester Community Action Council is proud to be celebrating 50 years of service to the people of Worcester and Central Massachusetts. Our new strategic plan sets the course for action with our core self-sufficiency programs - education and employment, energy, asset development and youth & family support initiatives. We hope to utilize this new enewsletter to educate you about the many programs available through WCAC; to encourage you to advocate for the issues which so greatly impact limited-income individuals and families; and motivate you to join us in supporting our neighbors in this way. "






Jill C. Dagilis

Executive Director

Save the Date!
50th Anniversary Celebration
Thursday, May 21, 2015
Worcester City Hall Plaza
455 Main Street, Worcester
Keynote Speaker
Governor Charlie Baker
WBDC & WCAC: Celebrating fifty years of working together for the people of Central Massachusetts!
Making a difference in the lives of those we serve


"You know dear people, every day I go to the basement to look at the furnace it is so beautiful, I really do not know how to thank you. I wish my husband could see the furnace. I just came from downstairs, I did not know I was crying - it just came automatically. I pray a lot, believe me the people that help me are in my prayers forever. Again thank you from the bottom of my heart." - 87 year old from Webster

"Thank you most sincerely for all your efforts in obtaining assistance for me in paying my gas bill. It was especially helpful having received the funds during the months of the highest bills. I am aware that your work is not easy, and for that I am most appreciative. God bless you all!" - Louise from Auburn

"I want to take this time to thank you so much for installing a new furnace for me, and also a new tank for fuel. There would be no way for me to afford a new furnace, you came to my rescue. Also, for allotting me so much for my fuel assistance. You are a big blessing to me. Again I thank you!" - Connie from Sturbridge

Be a Head Start Hero!

Help Turn Up the Heat for those struggling with home heating bills!

Make a difference in the life a young person today!

Support WCAC programs with a tax-deductible donation!

bills_coins.jpg WCAC is part of a twenty-member coalition of business, financial institutions and non-profit organizations promoting free income-tax credit benefits to low and moderate income individuals and families as a strategy to build assets and increase their self-sufficiency. More than 100 volunteer tax preparers were recruited, trained and certified to provide pro bono services at three sites throughout the City of Worcester. $2.9 million dollars in refunds were returned to the local community in tax year 2013 through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. Households with earned income less than $53,000 in 2014 were eligible for participation. Disappointed by your own return for 2015? Learn more about the program online and be sure to sign up for this vital VITA service next year!

Support WCAC when you shop!

Amazon will donate 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to Worcester Community Action Council, Inc whenever you shop on AmazonSmile.
Don't forget - Mother's Day is right around the corner!

New venues, same commitment to children
After unprecedented snowfall exacerbated an already aging roof at WCAC's Head Start location in Oxford, the program face an uncertain future with an emergency evacuation and subsequent eviction in February. Fortunately alternate sites were promptly secured in neighboring  communities to ensure the continued support of these most vulnerable children and families. The 81 children impacted have successfully been relocated to classroom sites at WCAC's existing program at Cole Avenue in Southbridge, at the Guild of St. Agnes Daycare in Webster and in classrooms at St. Joseph's Parish Center in Auburn.

WCAC hosted a Relocation Celebration on Monday, April 13th to acknowledge our Head Start Heroes who were instrumental in making the relocation happen. Check out our photo album from the event here.

Head Start promotes school-readiness, providing not only educational programming, but supporting children's emotional development, healthy, nutrition, parent education, and social services as well. National evaluations have shown that Head Start children do better in learning, language and socio-emotional development than do similar children not given the opportunity to participate in a Head Start program. By shaping the early skills that ultimately lead to success as an adult, Head Start reduces the high costs of remediation and social dependence.  Head Start Works!
Winter not to be forgotten
A perk to being America's snowiest city? Capturing the attention of national media. NBC Nightly News sent a crew to interview WCAC's Director of Energy Resources Mary Knittle about the impact the severe cold and record-setting snowfall was having on those already struggling with high home heating costs. All told, WCAC's Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) will process over 15,000 fuel assistance applications this year, having provided more than $9.9 million dollars in assistance in 2014. Despite drops in the cost for home heating oil, the maximum benefit allows for just $1,025 for the poorest families - enough to provide less than two tanks of oil, not nearly enough to last a winter as long and harsh as we've experienced this year. And higher electricity costs exacerbate the problem for many low income household who supplement oil heat with electric.

WCAC is fortunate to have strong community partners which helped provide over $200,000 in additional assistance in 2014 raised through private contributions. National Grid contributed $50,000 to WCAC in March, funds which WCAC utilizes to assist clients who have exhausted traditional assistance means. If you or someone you know is having difficulty paying for home utility costs, WCAC may be able to help. Information about eligibility guidelines and applications available online.
The deadline for applying for LIHEAP funds has been extended from April 30th until May 15th. 
First time and returning clients are welcome to apply.  
Benefits can be used for heating costs incurred between November 1st and April 30th. 
Advocating for individuals and families in need
Advocacy is an important component of WCAC's mission. Recently WCAC's Director of Operations Kerry Brennan and Executive Director Jill Dagilis met with Congressman James McGovern in Washington D.C. as part of the National Community Action Foundation 2015 Legislative Conference.

And then on April 1st, WCAC hosted its Annual Legislative Breakfast at our Worcester office with many of our elected state senators and representatives attending to learn about WCAC's priorities within the state budget. S upport for the line items we discussed - such as increased funding for fuel assistance, grants for Head Start programs, Department of Labor & Workforce Development funding to support youth jobs, and the expansion of the state Earned Income Tax Credit - is critical to ensuring our collective success in moving individuals to economic self-sufficiency, and WCAC is grateful for our elected officials' tireless efforts on behalf of the individuals and families we serve.  Reach out to your elected officials to let them you too support these important programs! Find your state rep or senator here

The best is yet to come
WYLI 2014 Montage
WYLI 2014 Montage
After that long, long, long winter WCAC looks forward to welcoming young people back for its YouthWorks Summer Program very soon! Nearly 400 low-income/at-risk youths between the ages of 14-21 are expected to be employed at more than 50 area employers. Additionally, WCAC is pleased to be participating in the second year of the Worcester Youth Leadership Institute in partnership with the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce, Central Mass Workforce Investment Board, the United Way of Central Mass, Worcester Education Collaborative and the city's Youth Opportunities Office which will recruit approximately 25 YouthWorks students for participation in a seven week program exposing them to leadership structures in a variety of business, government, education and non-profit sectors. If you are a local business interested in working with WCAC's Jobs & Education Center to provide employment opportunities for area youth, please contact us.

WCAC: The Antipoverty Agency for Central Massachusetts

Helping people move to economic self-sufficiency through programs, partnerships and advocacy.

Serving the City of Worcester and neighboring communities of Auburn, Blackstone, Boylston, Brimfield, Brookfield, Charlton, Clinton, Douglas, Dudley, East Brookfield, Hardwick, Holden, Holland, Hopedale, Hubbardston, Grafton, Leicester, Mendon, Milford, Millbury, Millville, Monson, New Braintree, North Brookfield, Northborough, Northbridge, Palmer, Oakham, Oxford, Paxton, Rutland, Shrewsbury, Southbridge, Spencer, Sterling, Sturbridge, Sutton, Upton, Uxbridge, Wales, Warren, Webster, West Boylston, West Brookfield, Westborough.