Community referral service Infoline provides assistance in the NE region including Morgan, Clarke and Walton County.

The low income in Morgan and Walton County Georgia, as well as the surrounding area such as Athens and Clarke, can receive assistance from a community referral Infoline. The hotline is set up as a non-profit, anti-poverty organization that can provide callers with information on short term help and longer term self-sufficiency.

There are non-profits and charities in the Northeastern Georgia region that receive funding from the federal and state government. The community referral hotline may be able to provide the needy with a number of resources. There are non-profits that have distributed over 200 boxes of surplus government food stuffs and groceries to Morgan County senior citizens, some people get financial help, and other aid is offered..

Resources are always limited. So to that end, the non-profit Infoline tries to direct the caller to the most effective program, but there are no guarantees to receiving support. Many services rely on volunteers and employees from to do things such as to 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.

The community service referral line will, on a regular basis, help senior citizens with financial 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 in Walton County Georgia. For example, weatherization and LIHEAP are federal government funded programs, and the team from the hotlinecan help low income families apply for them.

While the nonprofit has headquarters in the region, they assist people in Athens and Morgan County. There are also social services available for 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 nonprofits in Barrow County and the Northeast part of the state on a recurring basis. The community hotline will often be very aware of this. 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.

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

During the summer, local charities 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 local not for profit agencies in Walton and Morgan County know how important it is for students to improve their education, and possibly attend college. As funding allows, 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 in communities such as Athens Georgia. For example, the community service hotline has information on groups that provide budget workshops, crisis counseling, affordable housing searches, financial workshops, and job search assistance. Staff from local charities 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 (text a need and place where you live to 898-211), the local office of the community service infoline is open during most business days to support the needy.



By Jon McNamara

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