Chesterfield-Marlboro Economic Opportunity Council programs.

Emergency assistance from Chesterfield-Marlboro Economic Opportunity Council is combined with education and job placement. The non-profit community action agency and its case managers are focused on helping families in Chesterfield and Marlboro Counties. The agency arranges a wide variety of services for seniors, the unemployed, and others in the region.

In a crisis, the General Emergency Assistance Program provides cash grants and other aid to qualified low-income households. The funds can be used to alleviate crisis situations involving delinquent rent, food, clothing, medical services, or housing. Other aid from the non-profit is for child care expenses and transportation emergencies. GEAP also makes repairs to home-heating units.

CFNP - Community Food and Nutrition Program from Chesterfield-Marlboro Economic Opportunity Council is to supplement the medical and dietary needs of low-income and elderly residents. The resource is focused on residents in Chesterfield and Marlboro Counties. Services are provided to clients in collaboration with various local churches, medical and social services providers.

Residents of the region who are 60 years old and over can benefit from the Senior Farmers' Market Nutrition Program, or SFMNP. Income limits are in place, and also proof of participation or enrollment in other means-tested programs, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance or Commodity Supplemental Food Programs, may be accepted by some state agencies as criteria for SFMNP eligibility.

The aim of the SFMNP is to provide low to moderate income senior citizens in Chesterfield and Marlboro Counties with fresh, nutritious, vegetables, fruits and even herbs from local farmers' markets. The items may also originate from roadside stands and local community-supported agriculture programs.

Some of what a senior can buy using a voucher includes unprocessed fruits, cheese, vegetables, honey, and fresh-cut herbs. This service greatly benefits not only the elderly in the area by giving them access to healthy sources for food. It also benefits existing vendors and local markets by increasing their customer base, and providing opportunities for the creation of new locally owned and operated businesses.

CMEOC offers a number of programs that provide assistance with the high costs of heating and cooling a home. There are credits available for air conditioning expenses during the South Carolina summer months.




The US Department of Energy created Weatherization Assistance Program has provided homeowners with free energy-efficient additions and alterations to the homes. The goal of the program is to ease the burden of high energy costs in South Carolina, including in Chesterfield County.

The program is sometimes called WAP, and it will perform various home improvement tasks at no cost to qualifying households. Such tasks and additions undertaken by contractors may include repair or replacement of doors and/or windows; weather stripping; caulking; and insulation of floors, attics, and walls.

Additionally, depending on funding availability, WAP’s Heating and Air Replacement Program (HARRP) provides grants to pay for the replacement or repair of broken or obsolete heating and air conditioning units. Typically, the updates provided by the community action agency are limited to $6,000 or so per home, which allows for numerous updates to be done.

LIHEAP is also known as the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance. This is yet another federally-funded program that helps people pay their heating bills both year round and in a crisis. It works by providing home heating energy assistance grants and crisis grants to tenants and homeowners.

Chesterfield-Marlboro Economic Opportunity Council is focused on vulnerable individuals, and it can help them remain in independent living situations. To this end, the Community Services Block Grant Energy Support Program provides the delivery of energy-related emergency services. While funding levels will vary, it may help hundreds of low-income, elderly, and/or disabled households each year.





Education and job training from CMEOC

The agency provides continuing education programming at the Robert Smalls Family Center. Workshops and courses offered by the center include Renters 101, Math and Basic Computer Technology, Pre-G.E.D. and G.E.D. Training and Testing, English as a Second Language or E.S.L., Parenting Workshop, Worldwide Interactive Network (W.I.N.), and Work Keys.

Work Keys is available to participants in the federally funded Workshop Investment Act, which is also run by Chesterfield-Marlboro Economic Opportunity Council. It assists in preparing clients for passing a test that can help clients to obtain industry-related jobs.

Head Start is for low income parents with children. It was set up as a child and educational development program intended for low-income families. With the goal of helping children reach their full potential over the mid to long term, Head Start provides a wide range of services, including medical care, food, and of course developmental and educational guidance.

Tax filing is part of the VITA - Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Programs. Individuals considered low to moderate income, and that are current residents of Chesterfield and Marlboro Counties, may enroll. It is for those who cannot prepare and file their own taxes. They will be given free access to preparation and electronic filing services, provided by certified volunteers who are sponsored by various community organizations.




The VITA sites in South Carolina are most often provided at community and neighborhood centers, shopping malls, libraries, schools, post offices and other convenient locations. The Tax Counseling for the Elderly Program is a similar free service specifically targeting residents aged 60 and older. The people who offer the advice and filing service are often retired individuals who work with non-profit organizations that receive grants from the Internal Revenue Service.

The Chesterfield-Marlboro Economic Opportunity Council is headquartered at 318-322 Front St., Cheraw, South Carolina 29525. Call the non-profit at 843-320-9760.


By Jon McNamara

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