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Martin County Community Action programs.

In an effort to help end poverty in Beaufort, Martin, and Pitt Counties, the non-profit Martin County Community Action addresses the cause of it. This can include resources for children, such as Head Start applications, and employment resources for their parents. This is often combined with financial support for everything from food to housing or senior care.

Assistance starts with the MCAI Information and Referral Service. This identifies families who are in need of assistance and then connects them with appropriate agency resources in Pitt or Beaufort County. In addition, members of the staff gather and sort data concerned with needs that exist throughout local communities. That is used as a basis for the development of new assistance programs and social services.

Martin County Community Action Food Pantry is set up like a grocery store, providing clients with the opportunity to shop the aisles and select whatever grocery or sometimes fresh items they wish to take home to their families. The food quantities are determined according to household size and item availability.

Vouchers for the free food pantry visits are distributed to clients at the discretion of Case Managers, and those in greater need may be provided with more than one voucher in a given time period. Or they can get advice on applying for SNAP food stamps.

Volunteers from the regional Home-Delivered Meals Program bring hot, nutritious meals to home bound individuals 60 years of age and older. The resource is focused on those from the community who are mentally and/or physically unable to shop for food. There is help for people who can't prepare meals, or make it out to Congregate Nutrition Program sites. Note that the routes of delivery are limited.

In addition to the preceding requirements, the Martin Community Action Agency client must lack a friend or family member who is willing or able to provide them with those meals. The program also provides food assistance for a senior’s spouse, if one or the other is home bound by reason of illness or incapacitating disability. The program is funded through the Home and Community Care Block Grant (HCCBG).

The federally funded Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), also called Fuel Assistance, provides cash grants for low-income households experiencing difficulty in paying their light as well as heating bills. It may also help in some cases with air conditioning bills during the hot North Carolina summer months.





LIHEAP assists eligible households with paying bills for a variety of heating fuels, including oil, natural gas, propane, kerosene, cord wood, wood pellets, light, and electric. Some households whose heating costs are included in rental payments may be eligible for LIHEAP benefits from their local MCAI site.

Whichever type of power a family uses, the program pays only for the fuel they have actually used throughout the time period  of November 1 through April 30. If there is additional help needed, then find emergency electric bill help.

To increase the energy efficiency, health, and safety of qualifying residents’ homes, the state of North Carolina and Martin County Community Action supported Heating and Air Conditioning Repair and Replacement Program provides for the repair or replacement of systems. Whether the heating or cooling units are repaired or whether someone is given a new one is determined based on the results of a professional home heating and cooling inspection.

Martin, Beaufort and Pitt families can apply for Weatherization as well. The program furnishes energy-efficient home alterations, plus other measures, to improve dwellings owned or rented by residents whose incomes are at or below 150 percent of the federal poverty level.

Using funds provided by the State Department of Administration’s Division of Energy, Martin Community Action professionally trained Weatherization Assistance staff members perform an in-home energy audit that is used to determine which measures are most appropriate and cost-effective for each home.




The updates done may be Replacement of Existing Lighting with Energy-Efficient Bulbs, Installation of Smoke or Carbon Monoxide Detectors, patches for Sealing of Air Leaks, Duct Sealing and Insulation, Repair or Replacement of Furnace, Water Heater, and/or Refrigerator, and extra insulation of Attic or Walls.

Education services are offered from Head Start. This is a free national preschool program for three to five-year-old children from low-income families, however the parent can also benefit. The program’s goal is to promote school readiness by facilitating and supporting the emotional, cognitive and physical development of young children. Head Start’s support services include High-Quality Education, Disability Services and Support, Individualized Curriculum, and Health Screening and Assistance (including Dental, Vision, and Hearing). Parents can enroll into job placement or sign up for Family Case Management.

The innovative Martin Community Action's Mighty Men of Distinction Program provides access to careers, educational options, jobs and entrepreneurship opportunities for the fathers of Head Start enrolled children. MCAI will offer a wide range of support services are also available through collaboration and partnership with local, state of NC, and national service agencies.

The Martin County Community Action is located at 314 E. Ray St. in Williamston, North Carolina 27892, but they serve all the counties in question. Call 252-792-7111 for details.



By Jon McNamara











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