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Financial support from Gaston Community Action Agency.

Much of the funding for the Gaston non-profit agency comes from the Community Services Block Grant Program. The number of services and resources that are part of CSBG are wide ranging and can change over time. However, there may be utility bill assistance, emergency food programs, GED training, and many more programs. Gaston Community Action focuses on the region of Stanly, Gaston, Cleveland, and Lincoln Counties.

A Regional Food Pantry is available to residents from the area who are struggling with trying to feed their families. Too many North Carolina households are stretching their household budgets past the breaking point in order to obtain food, groceries, or baby formula. This center can help alleviate that financial stress.

The Gaston Community Action Food Pantry provides short-term emergency assistance, distributing a three-day supply of nutritious foods to each qualified household in need. Referrals and other aid is offered too. Find more details on this resource as well as other free food pantries in North Carolina, including Gaston, Cleveland and other counties.

Funding comes from a number of sources, such as the Hunger Prevention Nutrition Assistance Program, the Food Bank of Central NC, the EFSP - Emergency Food and Shelter Program and the Community Services Block Grant. In addition, the pantry depends on the generosity of area individuals, churches and business owners who make both monetary donations and coordinate various community food drives.

CSBG - Community Services Block Grant Program serves as an administrative framework to support the other low income assistance programs described on this page. The unique and comprehensive approach to providing social services as well as community assistance has as its goals the removal of the multiple barriers faced by unemployed or working poor families on a daily basis. Staff work with clients on self-sufficiency for all residents.

Individuals can get referrals to non-profits or charities in counties such as Gaston or Cleveland. They can also get assistance with completing applications to other programs and agencies that provide assistance with shelter, food, rent, childcare, education, transportation, and employment as well. A brief list of resources offered by Gaston CA is below.




  • Employment Search Support, Education, and GED self-study.
  • Referrals to short term loans - Some government resources, such as the ESG program, may offer funds for expenses such as rent or other housing expenses.
  • Utility bill assistance – There may be grants or cash assistance for income-eligible individuals with payment of overdue energy bills and a notice of service termination. Also, there are applications for LIHEAP - Low-Income Energy Assistance Program.
  • Food Pantry includes emergency assistance for seniors, children, families and other income eligible individuals and families.
  • Volunteer Income Tax Assistance, or VITA, from Gaston CA is free tax preparation for income-eligible individuals and families.
  • Senior Congregate or Home Delivered Meal Program in Lincoln and other counties.

GCA’s Total Family Achievement Program operates around the concept of helping people help themselves in reaching the goal of self-sufficiency. This can go a long way towards transforming their lives. TFAP is a comprehensive program of social services and guidance that help individuals discover their strengths and assets. Clients work together with case managers as a team to achieve economic stability and take charge of their lives.

The advice is wide ranging. Total Family Achievement support services also include providing adults or seniors with the skills needed to market themselves effectively in order to find better jobs, to locate suitable housing, to reduce debts, and to budget their money. Children of the parents are included in all activities to foster an understanding of the importance of cooperation among all family members.

In addition, trained case management specialists are available to work with clients of all income levels in identifying their needs and establishing goals for enhancing their lives. TFAP is funded with pass-through funds from the US Department of Health and Human Services as well as the NC Department of Health and Human Services.

The North Carolina Heating and Air Conditioning Repair and Replacement Program performs repair, inspection or replacement of heating and air conditioning systems. It is offered in an effort to improve household energy efficiency, health, and safety. The program is funded by the Office of Economic Opportunity of the NC Department of Health and Human Services.

Another energy resource is administered through the North Carolina Department of Commerce’s Energy Office. The free Weatherization Assistance Program helps low-income individuals and families in Stanly, cleveland and other towns make their homes more energy efficient. It can save costs on their energy bills, enhance quality of life, and improve overall air quality.





The trained technicians from the community action agency and the weatherization program begin by conducting an energy audit of the home. This will be done in order to evaluate the needs of each residence. The next step is to suggest cost-effective energy efficiency modifications to make the home as comfortable and safe as possible. Then the Gaston Community Action installs the necessary equipment. Examples of what may be done is below.

For income qualified homeowners, weatherization may Replace Existing Lighting with Energy-Efficient Bulbs, Sealing and Insulating Ducts, Insulating Attics, Walls, and Floors, Tuning and Repairing Heating and Cooling Systems, and also seal air leaks. Other updates may also be done, as needed.

Head Start centers are operated by Gaston Community Action and help hundreds of income-eligible families in Gaston, Stanly and Lincoln Counties every year. Head Start is a national program that is offered in North Carolina and is involved in promoting school readiness for children aged three or four.

Each location’s services are tailored to meet the needs of the children and families who participate, recognizing all family as well as the children’s cultural attributes. Programming focuses on supporting every child’s cognitive and social development with the following services including Disability Services and Support, High Quality Education, Health Screenings, Family Case Management, Free Food, and Mental Health Services for Children if needed.

Locations and how to apply to community action in Gaston area

Low income families can also get other support from the Gaston Community Action. Case managers can direct individuals to local non-profits, other provide advice on how to apply for government benefits such as food stamps or disability, among other programs. The main centers are.

  • Gaston County, 223 Morris St., Gastonia, North Carolina 28053, dial 704-861-2283
  • Lincoln County center is at 124 East Main St., PO Box 1653, Lincolnton, NC 28092, telephone number is 704-748-9744
  • Cleveland County, 827 S Washington St., Shelby, North Carolina 28150, 704-480-0722
  • Stanly County, 507 Old Charlotte Rd., Albemarle, NC 28002, main phone 704-985-1928


By Jon McNamara











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