Many Angelina County households have lost income as COVID-19, coronavirus slows day-to-day business worldwide. But some regional services are reminding people that help is available.
The Greater East Texas Community Action Program is offering assistance to East Texans whose finances have been impacted by COVID-19. Their program helps elderly, disabled and working-poor families in Angelina and surrounding counties.
“There are many who are experiencing reduced hours or lay offs due to COVID-19,” local case manager Regina McKay said. “We are making a special effort to reach people who have never applied. Community Action is very concerned for people in our area.”
Individuals in need can apply by mail or online at get-cap.org because community action offices will not see people face-to-face, officials said. Executive director Karen Swenson said individuals don’t have to come back once they qualify, and many may qualify for help until the end of the year.
“The application process is the minimum required by guidelines,” she said. “Proof of income for the previous 30 days and evidence of citizenship is required. For those in financial distress, keeping the lights on is critical.”
For more info, she said to call 1-(800) 621-5746, and asked that people be patient because of the high call volume.
The organization Love In the Name of Christ works with the Christian Information and Service Center to distribute aid money CISC receives from the TXU Energy Aid Program, Stephen Jansen, Love INC’s executive director, said.
“At this time, we are providing more flexibility on pledge amounts and the number of times a client can get help within a 12-month period,” he said. “All other utility requests are being referred to Community Action and Salvation Army for assistance.”
He recommended new callers call the helpline at 637-6637 where they will be connected with a staff member to help them find resources.
“We are also networking with our church and agency partners to help neighbors who need assistance getting food,” Jansen said. “Seniors 65 (and older), the immune/health compromised and/or single parents are welcome to call us to see how we can help them find available food or pick up and deliver food to them.”
He said that the organization doesn’t need donations, but it does need more phone volunteers to provide help to those calling. They’re open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 9 a.m. to noon on Friday.
“Our mission is to mobilize local churches in Angelina County to transform lives and communities in the name of Christ,” he said. “We want the light of Christ to shine through our churches as they help their neighbors in need during these challenging days. Neighbor taking care of neighbor.”
At the south end of the county, the Zavalla Area Ministries is also available. They work only with Zavalla residents because there is already a shortage of resources available for the low-income members of the community.
“To receive assistance from ZAM Outreach Inc., the person must live in the 75980 ZIP code and fill out an intake form along with a copy of the bill,” ZAM director Linda King said. “ZAM does not pay TXU utility bills.These are paid by Love INC. For assistance, call 897-2695. Leave a message if the answering machine picks up and I will call them back.”