ACTION Inc. provides assistance in Morgan and Walton County.

The low income in Morgan and Walton County Georgia, as well as the surrounding area, can receive assistance from ACTION Inc. They are a non-profit, anti-poverty organization that can provide short term help and longer term self-sufficiency.

The non-profit receives funding from the federal and state government. ACTION Inc., which stands for Area Committee to Improve Opportunities Now, may be able to provide the needy with a number of resources. Recently they distributed over 200 boxes of surplus government food stuffs and groceries to Morgan County senior citizens from their Monticello Highway office.

Resources are always limited. So to that end, the non-profit used a plastic banner sufficing as an advertisement/business sign. Then volunteers and employees from ACTION set up tables outside of their main office to register and distribute the food to seniors and the needy, which is provided by the federal government to supplement the diets of low- and fixed-income seniors.

ACTION Inc. will, on a regular basis, help senior citizens with resources such as emergency utility bill payments, a food pantry, home weatherization programs, and rent assistance. Some of the resources and programs are funded by the non-profit, and others are run by government agencies or other locations. For example, weatherization and LIHEAP are federal government funded programs, and ACTION Inc. can help low income families apply for them.

While the nonprofit has headquarters in Athens and Morgan County, they serve people across a 10 county area of Georgia. They have extensive lists and databases on all of the financial and public assistance programs offered across this entire 10 county region of the state. Please note the food program will usually have openings for qualified senior citizens and others who need aid.

Funding for providing residents with utility and rent assistance is more limited. However there is constantly new money being funneled into the nonprofit ACTION Inc. on a recurring basis. In some cases loans may also be issued to an applicant. Most of the money is provided to people who are qualified on a first come first serve basis.





Low-income families, seniors and others are aided on a case by case basis. Senior citizens' situations rarely change while younger folks can benefit from temporary financial help until they find jobs. So the support for the elderly is often prioritized.

Some of the other aid for seniors includes the following. ACTION has typically planted gardens for senior citizens to grow their own vegetables, which helps them stay healthy, nutritious, and active. The non-profit also holds workshops and seminars showing its older clients healthy recipes using commodity foods and garden items.

During the summer, ACTION also usually expands its outreach programs and services to younger people through a youth service program called Teen Work Experience. The non-profit organization also plans to offer financial aid and guidance to qualified high school students who need help in paying for ACTs or SATs, which are college-entrance exams that usually cost $75 each. The agency knows how important it is for students to improve their education, and possibly attend college. The agency will also help qualified adults pay the nearly $200 fee required to obtain a GED, and help people of all ages and backgrounds find jobs somewhere in Georgia.

Other programs are offered that promote self sufficiency of the low income, unemployed, and people who need help. For example, they provide budget workshops, crisis counseling, affordable housing searches, financial workshops, and job search assistance. Staff from ACTION Inc. work with federal job-training programs such as WIA and with the state of Georgia Department of Family and Child Services to help people find jobs and improve their skills.

While it is a good idea to call in advance (phone number 706-342-3343), the local office is open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays at 1140 Monticello Hwy, Suite 300. It is next to The Caring Place.




By Jon McNamara

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