story by Brittany Shepard
The Southeast Alabama Community Action Partnership is one of the oldest service organizations in the Wiregrass. Formerly HRDC, the organization was incorporated as a community action agency in June 1974. The goal was to serve and partner with individuals and communities to promote an attitude of self-help.
The Southeast Alabama Community Action Partnership is a private nonprofit organization that serves residents in five counties: Barbour, Coffee, Geneva, Henry and Houston. Perhaps one of the most unique aspects of SEACAP is that neighborhood residents from the five counties make up the majority of the organization’s board.
Through its central office in Enterprise, Neighborhood Service Centers in the local communities and a network of Policy Advisory Committees, SEACAP is able to provide a variety of services including everything from a brown bag food program for area seniors to a community garden program to energy assistance for families struggling to pay their energy bills.
Angel Pullman, current Director of Human Resources and Public Relations, has been involved with SEACAP for seven years.
“Today…SEACAP continues to implement a philosophy of self-help through a process that provides innovative, practical, timely programs and services which emphasize developing problem-solving skills for people and neighborhoods,” said Angel.
What is the vision and mission of the Southeast Alabama Community Action Partnership?
Our mission is to provide low-income persons with the information, opportunities; education and increased self-assurance that they need to become self-sufficient: “Helping people. Changing lives.”
Our method is:
• To help vulnerable persons avoid slipping into poverty;
• To alleviate the suffering of persons caught in poverty;
• To assist persons who, with help, would be able to lift themselves out of poverty; and
• To teach affluent people about the root causes of poverty, its debilitation impact and what they, as responsible and caring persons, can do in the struggle to overcome poverty.
•Our process is based on advocacy, empathy and empowerment.
What services does the organization provide to the community?
We provide assistance to low income families in Barbour, Coffee, Geneva, Henry, and Houston Counties with the goal of alleviating poverty and bringing them into self-sufficiency. One of our largest programs is the LIHEAP Program which assists families with their heating and cooling bills. We also offer a program called Work Readiness that provides internet access to customers to search and apply for jobs as well as child care, clothing and transportation to customers entering the workforce. Our Emergency Services program helps eligible customers prevent an eviction. Growing Hope is a community garden program with a goal to provide access to healthy foods. Adopt an Apple serves families who are not able to provide school supplies for their children. Foster Grandparents connect volunteers over 55 with area children (often through the local Boys & Girls Club) to provide mentorship and tutoring to children and young people with exceptional needs. These are just a handful of the many service programs we provide!
Tell us specifically about some of the programs that help individuals with financial needs.
LIHEAP and Emergency Services, already mentioned, are two of the programs that assist area residents with financial needs. We offer an Emergency Food and Shelter program to provide emergency utilities, rent, mortgage, shelter and food to eligible customers. We also offer budgeting classes. From January 1, 2016, to date, we have paid nearly $2 million directly to area vendors on behalf of our clients through our programs.
In its history, what impact has SEACAP had?
In addition to the financial impact we are able to have on our clients through our many programs (mentioned above), we also utilize many volunteers that give countless hours each year. Our Foster Grandparents have contributed 54,241 in volunteer hours to date. We also provide funds to other service groups in our area. Through our Child and Adult Care Food Program we have given home day care centers $344,512.73, day care centers $86,702.97 and summer feeding programs $4,575.80.
But, the best evidence of our impact is through the stories that are told by our customers and volunteers. We have so many wonderful stories to tell about how lives have been changed through the programs we offer.
In your opinion, what is the most rewarding thing about being involved with the Southeast Alabama Community Action Partnership?
Working with SEACAP, I am able to see parts of our community that people generally don’t see and meet many amazing people from diverse walks of life. There are so many needs in our community and we are able to utilize our resources to help meet the needs of so many people. I think that the best part of my job is that I get to work for an organization that is mission-driven and I’m surrounded by people who care deeply about making the Wiregrass Area a better place.
What is your organization’s greatest need and how can our readers help?
With the holidays coming up, we will be doing food and gift drives for Thanksgiving and Christmas boxes for low income families in our areas. We rely on donations from the community to meet these needs. For more information, visit our website or Facebook page.
Food or monetary donations can be made in any of our county offices. These donations will be kept within the county that the donation was given.
Where can our readers for more information?