NOVEMBER 2015 - In This Issue:
The season of Thanksgiving is upon us and I find myself taking pause to reflect on the many triumphs and challenges WCAC has faced during the past year. I feel truly blessed and thankful to serve as the director of an amazing agency with a staff so dedicated to helping others in need everyday. To do so in a community that is so incredibly supportive of the work we do is simply tremendous. 

As we ready to launch our annual appeal we invite you to be a part of our mission - helping individuals and families reach economic self-sufficiency. Please know that every dollar raised will make a life-changing impact on the vulnerable families we serve. Opportunity is knocking - will you help WCAC open the door?

I do hope you, your family and friends will join me in celebrating this year of success, to culminate our fifty years of service at the Hanover Theatre on December 23rd. Best wishes for a truly happy and healthy holiday season!






Jill C. Dagilis

Executive Director


Special thanks to the volunteers from the United Way of Southbridge, Sturbridge, & Charlton who visited WCAC's Head Start program for their annual Day of Caring recently. We are most appreciative of the team who landscaped the program's entry way - raking, mulching and planting more than 100 spring bulbs (something to look forward to!) as well as spending time visiting and reading with children in their classrooms. Click here to view the photo album from the day.

Support WCAC when you shop this holiday season!

Amazon will donate 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to Worcester Community Action Council, Inc whenever you shop on AmazonSmile.

Have you fallen behind on your electric bill?

A National Grid Consumer Advocate will available at WCAC on Wednesday, November 4th and November 25th
10 a.m. - 1 p.m.
to discuss your utility bill and provide assistance regarding payment plan options or programs available.
No appointment needed. Just drop in.
Call 508.754-1176 for details.
Making a difference in the lives of those we serve


"A wise man once told me - you are the company you keep... I never understood that until I came here. WCAC is good company. It has opened my eyes to rights and wrongs and makes me feel like a better person every time I come here. If I wasn't here, it's sad to say I'd probably be dead or in jail." - David from Worcester, newly enrolled JEC student

"I wanted to thank you for the winter jacket my grandson received. Thank you for taking the time to get people to donate, it really helped me out. As a grandparent who is taking care of her grandchildren, it helps greatly."- Barbara from Southbridge

"I want to take this time to thank you so much for installing a new furnace for me, and also a new tank for fuel. There would be no way for me to afford a new furnace, you came to my rescue. Also, for allotting me so much for my fuel assistance. You are a big blessing to me. Again I thank you!" - Connie from Sturbridge

Be a Head Start Hero!

Help Turn Up the Heat for those struggling with home heating bills!

Make a difference in the life a young person today!

Support WCAC programs with a tax-deductible donation!
We've made our list, checked it twice... and not to brag, but we think we've been pretty good this year so here's a few things we're hoping to find underneath the 
WCAC holiday tree:
  • Donations of new sweatshirts, sweatpants, hats, gloves and socks for the youth (ages 16-24) who frequently arrive to the agency underdressed for our harsh winter weather
  • Donations of gift cards to places such as Subway, Dunkin Donuts, Walmart or Target to allow the youth who frequently arrive to the agency hungry to purchase food and other necessities
  • Donations of WRTA bus passes to ensure our youth - many of whom face transportation barriers, are able to attend their classes as the agency. To make a donation please contact Linda Taylor, Job Developer & Counselor at 508 754-1176 x158.
  • Donations of new and very gently used infant and toddler clothing for WCAC's Healthy Families Baby Boutique - providing support for first time teen parents and their children. To make a donation please contact Charlotte Operach, Program Director at 508 909-0061.
Coat Drive For Kids keeps little ones warm
Each year WCAC undertakes a Coat Drive for Kids in order to provide every child enrolled in our Head Start, Early Head Start and Healthy Families programs, as well as the children of teen parents attending our Job & Education Center, a new winter coat. The response from the community this year, as always, has been simply incredible! More than 400 jackets have been requested, and nearly all were accounted for at press time, to help us ensure that the most vulnerable of those WCAC serves will be warm as another New England winter settles upon us. If you are interested in making a donation of either a new coat or financial contribution to support the effort, please contact us. Distribution of the new coats to the children will take place over the next several weeks, prior to the Thanksgiving Day holiday.

In particular, WCAC wishes to extend heartfelt thanks to National Grid and Commerce Bank for their sizable donations and tireless support of our Coat Drive once again this year! We are so appreciative of our many other supporters including: Bay State Savings Bank, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Penta Communications, Dr. Sayta Mitra, the City of Worcester, Webster Five, AllCom Credit Union, the Knights of Columbus of Auburn, Southbridge Savings Bank, Bancroft School, Worcester Senior Center and the countless individuals who provided donations. Click here for a photo album of donations to date. Many thanks to one and all!
Performance to benefit WCAC
Enjoy one of the area's most beloved holiday traditions while supporting the programs and services provided by the Worcester Community Action Council. Join WCAC for a special performance of Charles Dickens' classic A Christmas Carol on stage at the Hanover Theatre for Performing Arts, 2 Southbridge Street, Worcester, on Wednesday, December 23rd, 7 p.m. With lavish sets and costumes, remarkable choreography, choral performances and special effects, you'll love the message of Christmas redemption and the love for mankind that the production brings! In a true demonstration of the spirit of the season, the theater will be donating a portion of all tickets purchased for that evening's show to benefit WCAC.

For $75, attend a 5:30 p.m. VIP Pre-Show Reception at the theatre which will include a ticket to the 7 p.m. show, a meet and greet with members of the cast, hors d'oeuvres, cash bar and a commemorative WCAC 50th Anniversary holiday ornament. Reserve your tickets today by calling the box office at 877-571-SHOW or online (select Level 1, yellow highlighted seats for VIP option).

We hope you'll join us and make this magical evening a part of your family's holiday tradition.
Fuel assistance applications now available
 As the temperatures out-side drop the inclination is to simply nudge the thermostat upward inside to remain comfortable all winter long. For many of our neighbors, however, that option doesn't exist or doesn't exist long with escalating home heating bills. After a record setting snowfall and frigid temperatures last winter which generated applications for assistance by more than 15,000 households, WCAC is ready to once again serve households throughout Central Massachusetts which are struggling to keep up with home heating costs. The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) or fuel assistance as it's most commonly called, opened for the season November 1st. Assistance is intended to help defray the cost of heat during the winter months, November 1 - April 30 of each year. Applications are accepted throughout the season. For first time applicants, a face to face meeting is required. Returning applicants do need to have their eligibility recertified each year but can frequently do so by mail.

For the 2015-16 season, an individual earning less than $33,126 is income eligible - a family of four making $63,704 or less is income eligible (complete income eligibility guidelines available online.) Participation is open to both homeowners and tenants, heating with any heating source - gas, electric, oil, propane, wood or coal. During the 2014-15 season, WCAC provided  more than $9.9 million dollars in assistance, with 67% of WCAC's applicants representing our most vulnerable populations - senior citizens, disabled individuals and families with young children. The c urrent maximum fuel assistance benefit is $1,025/year - which provides less than two tanks of oil; insufficient to cover one's needs for the duration of a New England winter. In 2014, WCAC provided over $200,000 in additional assistance via funds raised through private donations.

Additional information about eligibility and applications is available online, by emailing  or by calling the LIHEAP Automated Information Line at 508.754.7281. If you or someone you know is struggling with home utility costs, please reach out to WCAC for assistance.
Employment & Financial Literacy key goals
WCAC recently welcomed Carrick O'Brien as its new Assistant Director of the agency's Job & Education Center (JEC). Having previously worked for S-C Management/Wingate, she was responsible for the oversight of more than 350 affordable housing units in three cities, as well as nearly $2 million in grants to bring service coordination and youth activities to the properties. A Central Mass resident since graduating from Assumption College, her focus at JEC will be overall programming and job development as well as creating new community partnerships. She resides in Shrewsbury and is the mom to two school-aged children.

WCAC also welcomes Brookeita Payne as its new Secure Jobs Initiative Case Manager and Financial Coach. Having worked previously at Community Healthlink as part of the North County Youth Crisis Intervention Team, she brings a wealth of experience in crisis support, mental health evaluations and community stabilization. Her focus at JEC will be getting young adults into employment and supporting them with financial literacy training to achieve true self-sufficiency. She is mom to a young daughter.

Both maintain a strong passion for helping others better their lives to become self-sufficient and are welcomed additions to the agency. Additional information about WCAC's Job & Education Center opportunities is available online.
WCAC Weatherization team tops in state
While fairly well known for its fuel assistance program, WCAC also manages a lesser known but equally substantial  Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP). The year-round, federally funded program is designed to help homeowners and renters keep heat in their homes, helping to ensure fuel assistance funds aren't wasted on inefficient systems. WCAC currently has contracts with the Department of Energy (DOE) and the major local utility companies to install energy conservation measures in low-income homes throughout Central and Southern Worcester County.
What truly sets WCAC's program apart, however, is the high standards under which the program is managed. The agency is now one of just two in the state to have three Quality Control Inspector Certified staff - John Benoit, Energy Coordinator; Mark Lapan, Energy Auditor; and Amanda Porter, Energy Auditor. Amanda is the first female in the state to earn the prestigious certification - congratulations! 

WCAC's energy program staff members are part of an elite group qualified to perform QCI certified inspections, assuring funders and clients alike that the contractors doing weatherization work for these vulnerable households are meeting incredibly high standards. Certification is achieved following rigorous training and testing, including thousands of hours in the field. Kudos and congrats to WCAC's talented and skilled weatherization team - really ready for any weather!

Each home receives an in-depth inspection by a certified energy auditor to assess conservation needs and the safety and efficiency of the primary heating system. Typical work includes air sealing, attic and/or sidewall insulation, weather stripping and minor repairs associated with the weatherization work. Areas needing improvement are rectified at no cost to the client if the home and the occupant meet the eligibility criteria. Additional information about WCAC's weatherization program and eligibility requirements is available online.

WCAC: The Antipoverty Agency for Central Massachusetts

Helping people move to economic self-sufficiency through programs, partnerships and advocacy.

Serving the City of Worcester and neighboring communities of Auburn, Blackstone, Boylston, Brimfield, Brookfield, Charlton, Clinton, Douglas, Dudley, East Brookfield, Hardwick, Holden, Holland, Hopedale, Hubbardston, Grafton, Leicester, Mendon, Milford, Millbury, Millville, Monson, New Braintree, North Brookfield, Northborough, Northbridge, Palmer, Oakham, Oxford, Paxton, Rutland, Shrewsbury, Southbridge, Spencer, Sterling, Sturbridge, Sutton, Upton, Uxbridge, Wales, Warren, Webster, West Boylston, West Brookfield, Westborough.