Big Five Community Services assistance programs.

The main poverty fighting organization in the counties of Carter, Bryan, Coal, Love, and Pontotoc Oklahoma is Big Five Community Services. This non-profit organization is involved in administering several different assistance programs. The intake process will involve extensive Outreach, which then directs the client to resources such as RX for Oklahoma, Head Start, or financial help from government grants.

The community action agency has several offices in their service area. Each is open limited hours and will focus on the residents of that particular county. Much of the support is from referrals. They include the following:

The main office is at 1502 North 1st Avenue, Durant, Oklahoma 74701, dial (580) 924-5331.
Another site is at 910 W. Main, Marietta, Oklahoma, 73448. Dial (580) 276-3198.
Ardmore Office location is 201 A St. SW, Ardmore, OK 73401. The main number is (580) 223-4613
Colgate center - 210 N. Main, Coalgate, OK 74538. Dial (580) 927-2381.

The disabled and elderly, that have someone taking care of them, can enroll into the Family Caregiver Support program. This Big Five Community Services service provides assistance to the person giving the care. There are support groups available, volunteers who can step in to allow that person to have a break, and other ways to give the person time. Maybe they just need to go see a doctor in Carter County and need a few hours off, or they have some other appointment. This is when Family Caregiver can help.

Senior citizens over the age of 60 can enroll into the Chronic Disease Self-Management Program. This is for the entire service area of Love, Carter, and other counties. It covers many medical and health care needs, ranging from eating well to applying for Medicare or locating clinics.

With the increasing cost of medical bills, many older people (and even youth) need help paying for health care or dental costs. This can also be covered by the program. Counselors from Big Five Community Services will help the patient get help with settling medical debts as well as learn about other ways to save money.

My Free Taxes from Big Five Community Services is the name of their VITA service. It operates during the December to May income tax filing season. The program not only provides the client advice on how to file their taxes, but it will even submit the forms to the IRS for free or provide advise on debts owed to the IRS.





The applicant to VITA needs to be elderly and/or low income. This is an effective service for families with children in Pontotoc as well as Bryan and other counties as well as it ensures they get all the tax credits they are entitled too. The savings then free up their hard earned income for paying other bills.

Discounted, maintenance prescription drugs can be provided. Big Five Community Services helps clients apply for prescription assistance programs, such as RX Oklahoma. To apply, bring proof of age, gross household income, SoonerCare or Medicaid Denial Letter, copies of insurance, and other documents. The community action agency does not provide medications directly to the patient, but they help them locate affordable drugs for their needs.

The Big Five Community Services Head Start/Early Head Start Program:
The community action agency is a local administrator of this government benefit. The program goals are to both enhance the development of young children as well as infants and in general promote healthy family functioning. To meet this end, Head Start/Early Head Start supports both children and the parent.

  • It works by promoting healthy prenatal outcomes for expecting as well as currently pregnant women.
  • Parents with a child enrolled can gain life-long problem-solving skills.
  • The service will also promote school readiness by enhancing the social and cognitive development of children.
  • The entire lower income family can get help in increasing overall self-sufficiency.

Big Five meets these goals by offering high-quality early childhood education in age-appropriate sessions across Bryan, Coal, Love, Pontotoc, and Carter. There are classes and workshops held in the community, and if a child can't make it there, the next step is a home based option. Everything from food to classes, medical care, and more is given as part of  Head Start/Early Head Start.




Big Five outreach and referral services

Energy bill help is offered mostly through Weatherization. But Big Five Community Services can also help their clients apply for LIHEAP in Oklahoma or find charities in Pontotoc County that may offer financial aid. Weatherization uses some of the latest and greatest technologies to help very low income families save money on their heating and cooling bills. It may provide them with roof repairs, caulking, insulation, and much more. The community action agency will also offer this updates (for free) to applicants that are within 200% of federal government poverty levels.

The Big Five Community Services emergency assistance program helps low income families and individuals. The grants from the charity, which may be available via referrals from Big Five, are used to help people maintain basic utilities as well as avoid eviction by providing money for rent, electric bills, food, or even car repairs to access work.

  • -The application process from will verify the temporary nature of the problem.
  • -Staff from Big Five also work with churches as well as non-profit community action agencies.
  • -Minor Home Repairs.
  • -Chore Services, including maintenance, repairs, landscaping, and the like.
  • -Low cost public transportation from SORTS.

Only if the bills can be paid over the long term by the client may Big Five even think about helping to meet the need. In addition, if qualified, all cash grants is paid directly to the company that is owed money, such as the landlord.

As noted above, Big Five Community Services has multiple offices in their service area. Call the nearest for more information.




By Jon McNamara

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