Mid-Cumberland Community Action Agency Blog

Help Middle Tennessee families achieve self-efficiency by investing in MCCAA. Your contributions will go a long way in allowing us to help those in need.
Help Middle Tennessee families achieve self-efficiency by investing in MCCAA. Your contributions will go a long way in allowing us to help those in need.

Creating New Partnership for Community Change

Shanna and Ronda

Communications Specialist Ronda Martin and CSBG and LIHEAP Program Assistant Shanna Garrison have teamed with the Wilson County Homeless Coalition. The group is chaired by Debbie Pare’ of the Wilson County Senior Citizens Awareness Network (SCAN) and comprised of several ministries, non-profits, and interested participants, including County Mayor Randall Hutto, with the mission of addressing the growing homeless population in Wilson County. While in its beginning stage, the group hopes to bring together players within Wilson County who can assist in the prevention of homelessness and/or the move from homelessness to self-sustainability. By working together and creating a network of resources, we can help the neediest of our community to find hope for a better life.

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Taking Her Turn to Make a Difference

Tiffony Robinson

Meet Tiffony Robinson. She is beautiful, poised, very professional, and gracious. One would never imagine she was once a disadvantaged youth who stayed in trouble in middle school and was suspended from high school. Such character seems in stark contrast to the caring, disciplined, and highly successful young woman she is today. Obviously, something happened to cause such a drastic change in her life.

Something, indeed, did happen to Tiffony. A high school principal and a guidance counselor who cared stepped into her turbulent life to make a difference. They purposefully gave her an accountability structure that mentored her, counseled her, believed in her, and helped her dream and strive for something bigger. They gave her much needed emotional support while not letting her get away with anything. Because of their efforts, Tiffony graduated high school and entered Tennessee State University as an electrical engineering major.

During Tiffony’s sophomore year of college, she received a phone call that changed her direction in life even more. She learned her beloved high school counselor had died, and she immediately changed her major to education. She wanted to be able to impact others as this counselor had impacted her.

Today Tiffony works as a Family Service Coordinator in the Early Head Start Childcare Partnership for Mid-Cumberland Community Action Agency’s Head Start Program in Rutherford County, TN. In her role, she supports the families of children served by the agency in Rutherford and Wilson Counties. In addition to providing services through Head Start and MCCAA, Tiffony serves families by referring them to other community resources to assist with needs that affect the entire family unit. If a family needs assistance, Tiffony helps them find it and sees her job much like that of a social worker.

One of her most memorable cases came to her shortly after she started her position with MCCAA Head Start. A grandmother saw children playing on the playground behind her building and came into the office to see if anyone could help her with the two grandchildren she had just inherited unexpectedly. She did not have appropriate housing, beds, support system, or money to care for them. On top of this, she had health issues she needed to address as she navigated through this time of forced transition. While she had physical custody of her grandchildren, she did not yet have legal custody of them and could not qualify for government assistance. She desperately needed help to get through the process, and Head Start became the support system she needed through Tiffony.

Tiffony connected this grandmother with many resources to equip and empower her to care for her grandchildren. The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program through MCCAA helped her with energy bills. Community Helpers, a nonprofit agency in Rutherford County, gave her assistance with food and household items. A TennCare Advocate helped her with medical insurance. She enrolled the grandchildren in Head Start, where they quickly began thriving. The grandmother began attending the Head Start events, and she soon found a greatly needed physical and emotional support system to equip and empower her to raise her grandchildren

Now three years later, the grandchildren have graduated from the Head Start Program, but the grandmother still keeps in touch with Tiffony. They have all acclimated well from personal tragedy but recognize the important role Head Start, Tiffony, and the EHS-CCP team have played in the transition. Tiffony made a real difference in someone’s life, as others had made in hers.

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Community Partners Help Overcome Homelessness

Cheatham County Community Partners

A homeless woman came to Mid-Cumberland Community Action Agency seeking help in November 2014. Having undergone emergency surgery, she had been out of work over a month and had lost her home and all of her belongings. Although she still had her car, she lived in fear of repossession. Her daughter, a middle school student, was failing and truant.

MCCAA Case Manager, Bobbie Greene, contacted community partners and churches for help, as well as the daughter’s school system. The community partner organization immediately went to work to help this homeless, single mother. The Parent Involvement Coordinator at the school intervened immediately to get the daughter back on track to academic success, helping her pass her courses for the semester. An apartment complex in the community partner organization had an opening, and MCCAA provided a rent deposit for the family. United Way and private donations covered the first month’s rent. Another community partner paid the electric deposit, while private donors contributed furniture, mattresses, and cleaning supplies. A local football team assisted with the move. Thankfully, a village was willing to take action to help one of their own who was struggling.

CM Bobbie GreeneCM Bobbie Greene

Although the woman’s car was eventually repossessed, Case Manager Greene helped her develop a budget to get it back. The lender agreed to an aggressive payment plan to help her get caught up on payments, and she picked up extra shifts at work to help make the payments on time. Her son and other volunteers took her to work while she was without transportation so she would not lose her job.

The daughter received Christmas gifts through a local charity known as Christmas Anonymous. MCCAA provided food and hygiene products from the food pantry to help during the holiday season. A partner organization also helped with food and clothes.

When the woman received her electric bill the following month, she was given the opportunity to apply for LIHEAP assistance but declined. “I don’t need it now,” she stated. By staying on her budget, she was able to pay all of her current bills and move forward from her sudden health and financial set-back. Her move from homelessness to self-sufficiency could not have happened without the help of MCCAA and many partners within her community. Together, this community provided a family the hand-up they needed to overcome homelessness and the effects of extended poverty.

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The Power of a Budget

Case Manager Paula DanielsCase Manager Paula Daniels

A single, disabled mother entered Mid-Cumberland Community Action Agency’s Case Management Program in August, 2017. Her monthly Social Security and SSI income was $755.30. Her son had just been sent to prison, and her daughter had an impending court date. The woman had been pouring most of her meager monthly income into her children’s court fees. In addition, this woman was caring for her elderly mother and trying to move closer to her.

After meeting with MCCAA Case Manager Paula Daniels, the woman admitted she had never followed a budgeting plan and was eager to do so. CM Daniels helped her develop a personalized budget, which excluded court fee payments for her grown children and a plan to keep her accountable for her monthly spending. By sticking closely to her new budget, she immediately began saving $30 per month.

The woman had received a Section 8 voucher, and CM Daniels referred her to a local housing authority, where she found housing closer to her mother. With the help of SNAP food program and commodities from MCCAA, she has been able to adhere to her budget and increase her savings to $200-250 per month! Her goal is to have at least $1,000 in her savings account by July and has vowed to CM Daniels she will succeed.

When asked about what area of Case Management impacted her life most, the woman answered, “Learning how to budget and being consistent with budgeting has helped me stay on track with my spending and also pay my bills on time.” CM Daniels succeeded in the overall goal of MCCAA to help make those who are elderly and disabled more self-sufficient. Congratulations, CM Daniels!

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Angels Among Us

Case Manager Bobbie GreeneCase Manager Bobbie Greene


Greater Nashville Resource Council (GNRC) contacted Case Manager Bobbie Greene about an elderly woman with no working heat. After a home visit, Bobbie found the report to be true. The woman was age 63, disabled, homebound, using a wheel-chair and walker, and greatly in need of assistance. Her only income was a monthly Social Security check of $606.

Bobbie’s customer had enlisted a HVAC company to charitably help her, but they did more harm than good, leaving her duct work disconnected from the vents. After viewing the damage, Bobbie contacted Westminster Home Connection (WHC) to evaluate her situation and help her repair or replace the HVAC unit and repair the duct work. WHC continues to work with the customer.

Fortunately, Bobbie was able to put $104.90 back into the customer’s income by having her apply for the Medicare savings program with extra help and eliminating Medicare Part B. In addition, Bobbie assisted her with electricity bills, property taxes, LIHEAP, WAP, food pantry items, personal hygiene products, and referrals to other community partners, who provided further assistance through anonymous donors. Bobbie’s comprehensive knowledge of all of MCCAA’s programs and community resources made a huge difference for a customer who was completely unable to help herself. If you look closely, you might find our Case Managers wearing wings!

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Case Management Helps Single Mom out of Poverty

Paula Daniels - Case Manager ImagePaula Daniels - Case Manager at MCCAACase Manager Paula Daniels assisted a single female parent, age 35, who came to MCCAA in July, 2017, seeking help with rent, emergency energy assistance, employment, food, and personal hygiene items. She had been laid off her job, and the only income she had was Tennessee Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) and Child Support. Her poverty level was at 55.74%. Paula gave her referrals for several temp agencies and to Tennessee Career College to improve her clerical skills. In addition, Paula referred her to Murfreesboro Housing for affordable safe housing, to Greenhouse Ministries for a gas card, and to the Mental Health Co-Op for mental health challenges she was facing.

After following through with all referrals, Paula gave her budgeting sheets, which she completed and returned. She began aggressively seeking employment and landed a job at an insurance agency. Amelia’s Closet provided her with clothing, shoes, and a gift certificate to Georgia Career College for a complete makeover. Paula sent a “Thank You” letter to them for assisting her.

Overall, this single mother’s income increased to 197.57% of poverty level, and her matrix score increased from 35 to 66 with an increase in all areas of the matrix. On her last appointment, she noted she had applied for FAFSA for college and is still enjoying her job. She is a huge success story for the Case Management Program!

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A Light Bulb Moment

Jamie-Hebert---Mid-Cumberland-Community-Action-Agency

Case Manager Jamie Hebert recently worked with a disabled woman in her fifties who wants to go back to work after having graduated with an associate’s degree. The woman cares for an adult daughter, who is also disabled. Jamie helped her develop a money management plan to eliminate unnecessary spending, such as buying McDonald’s ice tea every day. This habit was costing about $33 a month, which equates to a tank of gas.

After visiting a local career center and applying for multiple jobs, the woman returned to Jamie excited to report she had changed her spending habits. She had cut down on her ice tea and had taken a further step to save the money in a pickle jar. Her savings amounted to $27, and her daughter had managed to save $12, as well! This seemingly small accomplishment gave Jamie’s customer the encouragement she needed to take further steps toward coming out of poverty. She no longer wants to be on food stamps and is doing everything she can to move away from government assistance. To celebrate, she is planning a “girls’ weekend” with her daughter with the money they save.

For this customer, it was a “light bulb” moment that allowed her to make a change – one she decided for herself. Saving $27 empowered her to make the necessary changes that will allow her to become economically independent. One small step can create the momentum needed for greater ones!

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Volunteers – Hearts that Love to Serve

Volunteer Crew at Mid-Cumberland Community Action Agency in Robertson County

Mid-Cumberland Community Action Agency holds quarterly commodities distributions at each county office they serve to provide low-income families with much needed food boxes. Last year, the agency as a whole distributed 12,515 food boxes to needy families, which translated into 493,907 lbs. of food. MCCAA could not help the thousands of individuals they serve without the help of great volunteers, like those in Robertson County.

Janice Tucker - Mid Cumberland Community Action Agency Robertson CountyJanice Tucker, Crisis Specialist in the Robertson County office, relies upon local high schools and a few long-term volunteers to help her distribution days run smoothly. Her excellent organizational skills combined with the assistance of some truly great people who just want to help others create an extremely efficient and effective distribution process. On Valentine’s Day, MCCAA decided to recognize those long-term volunteers who help make the agency a success by awarding them with certificates of appreciation.

Pat Ragland has volunteered with MCCAA for “years-upon-years-upon-years.” She considers herself to be one of the fixtures of the agency when it comes to the work of food distribution. Having served as a volunteer longer than Janice has been an employee, Pat actually helped train Janice when she first came to MCCAA. Pat enjoys what she does as a volunteer and loves the people involved. Her favorite part of volunteering is meeting people and greeting customers. She truly has a heart to serve her community.

Willie Strain was declared disabled after a back surgery in 1997. Now 65, he has been a faithful volunteer for five years. With Osteoarthritis, Willie gets stiff if he stays still too long. Volunteering helps him keep moving to relieve pain and enables him to work and be productive. Helping others has been very therapeutic for him, and he always wears a smile while working.

Emma Jamison has been volunteering with MCCAA for five years. Retired from Delight Products Company, she loves spending her time helping others. She enjoys meeting new people, striking up conversations, and the laughter that ultimately results from those conversations. With a heart that cares for people, she finds her volunteer work to be personally fulfilling and rewarding.

In addition to these long-term volunteers, students from Jo Byrns High School helped move the many boxes to make the distribution a success. Students involved were Jesse Smith, Dalton Sayle, Elizabeth Brooks, Jodi Arms, Garrett Jackson, Carol Dugger, Dillian Speights, and Nolan Hale. These students were part of the Work Based Learning Program, led by Jill Wingo.

On Friday, Feb. 9, students from Robertson County High and Greenbrier High helped sort and pack the boxes. Included here were Madison Jared, Hermangi Patel, Savannah Trewater, Emma Clayborn, Karen Cornett, Cameron Vestal, Grant Corbin, and Jesse Ayers. They were led by their FBLA sponsor, Beverly West. Zachary Elmore and Edwardo Sandoval of Greenbrier High also participated as a part of the Work Based Learning Program.

MCCAA extends its sincerest appreciation to all who volunteered their time. The Robertson County community has been greatly blessed by your efforts. Every community needs hearts that love to serve.

Volunteers Moving Boxes Mid Cumberland Community Action Agency Robertson CountyJanice Tucker and Emma Jamison at Mid Cumberland Community Action Agency Robertson County Willie Strain and Janice Tucker Mid Cumberland Community Action Agency Robertson County

Pat Ragland and Janice Tucker at Mid Cumberland Community Action Agency Robertson County

Charlie Cook at Mid Cumberland Community Action Agency Robertson County

 

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Notice for Election to Mid-Cumberland Community Action Agency’s Board of Directors

This announcement is for the general public to inform of an opening on our Board of Directors to represent

Rutherford County. This position will serve in the Target Sector and be a voice for low-income families for

Rutherford County and across the entire MCCAA service area.

There will be an election on Wednesday, February 21, 2018 at 1:45 pm at the Murfreesboro Head Start Office, 219 S. Maney, Murfreesboro, TN 37129.

Mid-Cumberland Community Action Agency has a mission to help low-income individuals and families become economically self-sufficient.

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Weatherization: A True Blessing

Karina McMahanA single mom on a budget looks for every way she can save a dime in order to cover expenses from month to month. As Karina McMahan looked at her ever-increasing electric bills during the winter of 2015, she knew she had to do something to cut her energy cost, but she didn’t know just what that something would be until a neighbor told her about the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) with Mid-Cumberland Community Action Agency.

Karina works full time and is going to school full time to become a dental assistant. With very little free time on her hands, she was at a complete loss of how to make her home more energy efficient. Once she applied for the WAP program and was approved, a weatherization technician from MCCAA evaluated her property and initiated several things to improve Karina’s home.

First the duct system in Karina’s home was leaking, so the technicians corrected and insulated it. Next, they measured how much air was leaking from the home and performed general air sealing to make the house more air tight. They then insulated pipes within six feet of the water heater and provided pressure relief piping. Since her roof was leaking, they corrected the leaks and included roof fiberglass insulation. They then replaced the bathroom fan to control fresh air in the home and keep it healthy with a fan compliant with the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). In addition, they provided proper venting for her dryer and installed new smoke detectors in every bedroom and within 20 feet outside each bedroom. They replaced her HVAC system with a new EnergyStar compliant heat pump system. Finally, the technicians replaced a damaged stud or vent on her drain line to allow waste water to properly flow out of her house. All of the improvements performed were designed specifically to make Karina’s home more energy efficient and create a healthy living space for her and her son.

According to Karina, “angels sent from God” helped her get approved for the program, and she praised the work of all the MCCAA technicians who performed her weatherization. While her former winter electric bills ran well over $300, her current high energy bill runs around $220. She is saving an average of $100 per month in electricity cost due to WAP. She would highly recommend the WAP program to anyone wanting to reduce home energy costs and explained, “You have been a true blessing to me!”

Karina McMahan Weatherization 2

Karina McMahan Weatherization 4 Karina McMahan Weatherization 

Karina McMahan Weatherization 5

Karina McMahan Weatherization

Karina McMahan Weatherization

 

 

 

 

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Healthier and Happier

Anita SandersIn 2012, Anita Sanders was declared disabled after she almost died from complications from Wegener’s Granulomatosis, an autoimmune disease that overworks the immune system. No longer able to work her job as manager of a local movie theater, she found her life changing in ways she never imagined. She had to concentrate on keeping herself well and avoiding even minor illnesses if possible.

While attending a 4th of July gathering at her church in 2017, Anita met Leslie Sadler, who works for Mid-Cumberland Community Action Agency. After striking a conversation, Anita mentioned a concern about air coming in through her windows and creating a draft within her home. Leslie told her about the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) and suggested Anita apply for the program to help make her home more energy efficient.

After being approved for WAP, a MCCAA technician contacted Anita for an evaluation of her home. His recommendations included blowing more insulation in her attic, adding insulation underneath her home, wrapping her hot water heater, sealing large wooden beams on her ceiling, and sealing around her windows, doors, and underneath her sink. Air was escaping through her attic, so the technicians built a box to place in the pull-down steps to create a seal. They also added an American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) fan in her bathroom to redirect air outside the house. As with all homes, they added smoke detectors in every bedroom and a carbon monoxide alarm. In addition, they repaired duct work that had been damaged, allowing her air conditioning unit to better keep conditioned air in the home.

Since the weatherization was performed on her house, Anita has noticed that her tile floors are warmer. Her house is staying cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter, thereby, using less electricity. She normally keeps her thermostat on 70 year round, and she is saving $150-$200 each month on average.

Anita is extremely happy with the adjustments WAP made to her home, and she frequently recommends the program to friends and relatives. WAP has been able to save her money and make her home a healthier environment.

Anita Sanders Success StoryAnita Sanders Success Story 2Anita Sanders Success Story 3

 Anita Sanders Success Story 1Anita Sanders Success StoryAnita Sanders Success Story

Anita Sanders Success StoryAnita Sanders Success StoryAnita Sanders Success Story

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Notice for Election to Mid-Cumberland Community Action Agency’s Board of Directors

Mid Cumberland Community Action AgencyNotice for Election to Mid-Cumberland Community Action Agency’s Board of Directors

This announcement is for the general public to inform of an opening on our Board of Directors to represent Robertson County. This position will serve in the Target Sector and be a voice for low-income families for Robertson County and across the entire MCCAA service area.

There will be an election on Monday, February 19, 2018 at 6:00 pm at The Catfish House located at 3424 Tom Austin Hwy., Springfield, TN 37172.

Mid-Cumberland Community Action Agency has a mission to help low-income individuals and families become economically self-sufficient.

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Mid-Cumberland Community Action Agency Welcomes Dr. Paul Graden as Executive Director

Dr. Paul Graden - Executive Director Mid Cumberland Community Action AgencyDr. Paul Graden - Executive Director Mid Cumberland Community Action AgencyMid-Cumberland Community Action Agency warmly welcomes Dr. Paul Graden as interim Executive Director. A resident of Robertson County, Dr. Graden joined the agency January 10 after being appointed by the Board of Directors for MCCAA. In addition to his new role at MCCAA, he is an ordained minister and has served as Executive Pastor for Purpose Life Church in Springfield.

As a dedicated community philanthropist, Dr. Graden’s Board of Directors experience include Chairman of the Accelerated Learning Center, Vice-Chairman for the Robertson County Republican Party, Tennessee Christian Chamber of Commerce, Springfield Preparatory Academy, Oro Milagros, Inc., and Ironwood Charities. He brings over 30 years experience in operations, finance, and marketing in both For-Profit and Non-Profit organizations.

Dr. Graden holds an Associate’s Degree in Liberal Arts and Sciences, General Studies, and Humanities from New York University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services from The New School, a private non-profit research university in New York City. He has earned a Ph.D in Education/Theology from Bethel Graduate School of Theology.

MCCAA is both proud and excited to have Dr. Graden as a part of their dedicated and compassionate team to help meet the needs of low-income families in Middle Tennessee.

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MCCAA Board of Director's Meeting Schedule

Public Announcement

MID-CUMBERLAND COMMUNITY ACTION AGENCY

Board of Director’s Meeting Schedule

2017 -2018

Meetings held at 5pm at the MCCAA Corporate offices located

at 233 Legends Drive, Lebanon, TN 37087

 

                         Thursday, August 24th, 2017

                 Thursday, October 26th, 2017

                 Thursday, December 28th, 2017

                 Thursday, February 22, 2018

                 Thursday, April 26th, 2018

                 Thursday, June 28th, 2018

                 Thursday, August 23rd, 2018

                 Thursday, October 25th, 2018

 

Finance Committee Meetings typically held the Tuesday or

Wednesday before the board meeting at the same address at 6:30pm.

 

 

 

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