Mid-Cumberland Community Action Ageny

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.

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 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


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


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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More Than Meets the Eye

Community Action spends a lot of time focusing on poverty- it’s our job, it what we do. “How do we eradicate it?” “How do we help people to overcome the barriers that poverty presents?” “How do we give people a hand up out of poverty instead of a hand out that enables poverty?” While all of these topics are critical to dealing with the complex issues that encompass poverty, there is another aspect of poverty that we need to always keep in mind: People are in poverty.

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Independence Day, Horatio Alger, and Community Action

The July 4th is just around the corner. I’m not sure at what point I started referring to the day as July 4th, as opposed to Independence Day, but I became aware of it sometime this weekend. I making a conscious effort to retrain myself to thinking of the holiday as Independence Day. You may be thinking “What’s the big deal? – it’s just a matter of semantics.” After all, Shakespeare, master crafter of words, wrote “A rose by any other name would still smell as sweet” Right?

But it is a big deal! The whole reason we celebrate on July 4th is because it is the day our founding fathers, representative of ‘we the people’, declared our independence from the tyranny and oppression of the mother country Great Britain. July 4th commemorates a pivotal moment in time that birthed what would become the greatest nation in the world: A nation based on the premise that all men are created equal and are granted by the creator with certain ‘unalienable rights’- Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Because of this guarantee to Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness, America has become legendary for its Horatio Alger stories: tales of men and women rising from the ashes of poverty and despair and through hard work and sheer determination acquiring a prosperous and secure life for themselves and their families. People from all corners of the world flock to our shores because of the opportunities that are present in THIS country that are non-existent in most other nations.

50 years ago Community Action was created in the Horatio Alger vein: Community Action Agencies would go out and equip the impoverished with the skills and resources they needed to rise up out of poverty and move on to self- sufficient lives. 50 years ago, the American dream was alive and real: people dreamed of a better and brighter day for their families: people understood that you work hard, live responsibly, and give back to your community.

Now in 2014, people question the American Dream. We have been conditioned to think that the American Dream is shallow and obnoxious. Why are we so worried about securing a ranch home in a nice neighborhood when there are 3rd world countries that lack fresh water? American’s have been convinced that to be better people we need to lengthen our focus to include the entire world. While it is applaud worthy to have a world view humanitarian focus, by lengthening our focus, we overlook what is going on in our own back yards.

Study after study indicates that following the Great Recession in 2008, poverty is once again on the rise. Further reports seem to indicate that income inequality is at larger rate than any previous time in our nation’s history. For many, these dismal indicators of the health of the American class system present the optimal time to transition America into a more cooperative economy. In this economic utopia the government pays for our homes, the government pays for our food, the government pays for everything, and we are all equal. You have what I have and I have what you have. Sounds fabulous doesn’t it?

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50 years of the War on Poverty

Did you know that 2014 is the 50th Anniversary of Community Action in America? In 1964, President Lyndon Johnson declared ‘war on poverty’. Not only did the historic “Great Society” speech result in the creation of Community Action Agencies but Head Start was launched in 1965 as an instrument to level the developmental playing field for economically disadvantaged children. Head Start programs are typically administered by CAA’s.

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Out with the old…

This past Thursday was Clean Up Day at MCCAA. This is the day when we clean out our storage room-out with the old and in with the new. Why do we designate a day for this? Imagine if you can: MCCAA serves approximately 10,000 households on an annual basis, resulting in over 10,000 files accumulated annually.

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Spring Magic!

If you close one eye, squeeze the other tight, and look to the left, you can almost see it….Spring is nearly here!

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Seeking Excellence

Last week, I spent three days at training based on ROMA- Results Oriented Management and Accountability. Community Action Agencies are being asked to build their management and delivery framework on ROMA principles. ROMA is about two main things- excellence in management processes and excellence in delivery of services.

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Working, Welcome, and Winning

It’s been a few weeks since we’ve had a blog post. A lot has been going on around here, keeping us all busy and on our toes.

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Happy New Year!

2013 is nearly at an end. 2014 is just around the corner, bursting with possibilities. There will be some good byes, some hellos, new beginnings, and a few endings. For many, the New Year is a time for reflecting on the year past and what we have achieved, and on the year to come and the possibilities of what can be. Resolutions will be made, habits forsworn, and lives changed. In reality, New Year’s Day is just another day, linearly speaking. But to many of us, New Year’s Day is this sort of magical day that breeches the space time continuum that allows the opportunity to press the “reset” button and start anew. And the possibilities are endless… For our clients, 2014 could be the year of affordable and decent housing. 2014 might be the year of stable employment with a company that provides decent wages, benefits, and longevity. 2014 can be the year of a balanced household budget and no disconnected utility services. 2014 may be the year that the children thrive in school. Will 2014 be the year that the SNAP card finally gets cut off and cut up, because it is no longer needed? 2014 could be all this and more for our clients. 2014 could be the year that they stand tall and stand proud of all that has been accomplished for themselves and their families! For MCCAA 2014 is bursting with possibility and opportunity as well! Over the past few months we have worked on staffing key positions with people that are dedicated to and passionate about the mission of community action. We have upgraded our technology so that we work smarter, not harder. We have worked to bring greater public awareness to the mission of the agency and the plight of our clients, to put a face on poverty so that it is identifiable and relatable. We have participated in training so that we are more sensitive to the situations that so frequently affect clients. We are prepped and raring to go! We are ready to take the lead in providing quality services that empower, not enable. We are ready to lead the way in promoting self-sufficiency instead of program dependency! We are ready to have a positive impact on the lives of the thousands of Middle Tennessee families that we serve annually. The point is that 2014 can be anything we want it to be. We get to decide what we want to do, who we want to be, or where we want to go. The important thing is to take the step- the whole world of possibilities lies before us!
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It's a Wonderful Life!

The Holiday Season is fully upon us. Trees are decorated, lights are strung, and shopping is in full swing. If not careful, it is all too easy to get caught up in the activity and forget to appreciate the magic and wonder that is Christmas.

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USDA December Commodity Distribution

Mid-Cumberland Community Action Agency will be distributing USDA Commodities Wednesday, December 11, 2013 and Thursday, December 12, 2013.

For more infomation contact your local outeach office.

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Give Thanks!

Thanksgiving is tomorrow. It is the particularly appointed day of the year that we are supposed to take the time to reflect on all of the things in our lives that we are thankful for. And really, no matter what our particular situation, we all have so much to be thankful for. So let’s get started.

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