NEWS FROM UNION-SNYDER CAA
December 2020
Reflecting on 2020 - A Letter from Our Director
This past year has been anything but ordinary. We, as a community, have faced unimaginable times as we continue to battle the effects of the COVID-19 global pandemic. Our CAA staff quickly adapted to remote services, office closures, and new technologies to support our rapidly growing customer base. With all of the challenges that have come our way throughout 2020, there is one thing that rises above it all: the steady and genuine support of our neighbors.

As we head into 2021, our agency is prepared to stay responsive and adaptive to the unknowns that will undoubtedly occur into the new year. We’re more dedicated than ever to forming collaborative partnerships that reduce duplication of services and complement the energy that our community has to heal and serve. Despite the obstacles, we choose to celebrate the milestones and accomplishments:

  • As an immediate response to the local COVID-19 outbreak, we designed and implemented a no-contact Basic Needs Delivery Program delivering nonperishable food, hygiene products, and cleaning supplies to over 100 Union and Snyder families unable to leave their homes due to underlying health conditions, a decrease in income due to the pandemic, or possible / positive COVID diagnoses. The Emergency Delivery Program, as it is now known, has become a permanent offering at CAA, ensuring food access in times of crisis.
  • We received approximately $300,000 in additional COVID-related funds to support customers facing unexpected emergency, housing, and basic needs crises as a result of the pandemic. Most of these funds were spent to support families who wouldn’t typically qualify for CAA’s funding sources. Partners in these efforts included the Greater Susquehanna Valley United Way’s ALICE initiative, Community Giving Foundation (previously known as Central Susquehanna Community Foundation), First Community Foundation Partnership of Pennsylvania, and various local and federally sourced CARES Act grants.
  • We convened more than 60 local agency representatives to participate in the region’s first Hunger Coalition to decrease food insecurity and inspire collaboration to reduce food waste. Additionally, we entered into a partnership with The Lewisburg YMCA at the Miller Center, powered by Geisinger and Evan, to establish the Union County Food Hub; the Hub will open in early 2021 and store access produce and non-perishable donations for local distributions to access and share with community members in need for long-term healthy living. Look for more info to be shared soon!
  • We completed our 2020 Community Needs Assessment to plan our areas of focus through 2023. The full report can be found on our website at www.union-snydercaa.org/cna.

We hope you’ll stay involved with the efforts that CAA is doing to ensure all residents of Union and Snyder Counties have equal opportunity to reach their full social, civic, and economic potential. If you would like to learn more about how you can get involved in 2021, please reach out to me at sauman@union-snydercaa.org.

Wishing you and yours a happy and healthy holiday season,
Sue Auman
Executive Director
CAA's 2020 Community Needs Assessment Report
Presenting our community's most unique needs, as reported by our community
Union-Snyder CAA's 2020 Community Needs Assessment report is now available online!

A special thank you to our Community Needs Assessment Committee for putting so much time, attention, and detail into ensuring we have a comprehensive report that will aide us in planning our service approach through 2023.

It's our hope that this report will help others to identify and understand the full scope of needs, as reported by our community, and inspire collective action.

NEW Mifflinburg Distribution at the YMCA
Monthly distribution option for income-eligible residents of Western Union County
In partnership with The Mifflinburg YMCA Center and the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank, we're proud to offer a new pantry option to Mifflinburg residents.

This pantry takes the place of the previous CAA-administered pantry at the First United Methodist Church on Market Street, which closed in July 2020.

Pre-packed food boxes will be available at this curbside, contact-free distribution every month on the third Friday from 1:00-2:30 PM at 333 E Chestnut Street, Mifflinburg. Volunteers will be there to direct traffic and ask basic registration and eligibility questions.

Questions? Contact Nicole Peterson, Food Security Coordinator, at npeterson@union-snydercaa.org.
NEW Union-Snyder Hunger Coalition
Coordinated effort begins to address food insecurity, includes over 60 organizations
As a result from our three-year AmeriCorps VISTA project, CAA has convened a group of over 60 agency representatives to participate in the region's first Hunger Coalition to decrease food insecurity and inspire collaboration to reduce food waste.

Participants include representatives from Susquehanna University, Bucknell University, Central Pennsylvania Food Bank, Lewisburg Community Garden, Dream Catcher Farm, Lewisburg Area PSA, Miller Center for Recreation and Wellness/Evangelical Community Hospital, and more.

The Coalition is in its early forming stages and has met twice regarding shared goals and strategies. The next virtual meeting is scheduled for Thursday, January 14, 2021 at 1 PM. If you would like to become involved in this work or be added to the list to receive updates or notifications of available mass food donations, email Rachel Herman, Sustainable Food Solutions VISTA, at rherman@union-snydercaa.org.
DONOR SPOTLIGHT
CAA Receives $25,000 From IRS to Support VITA
The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program is enhanced through financial support
CAA recently received a $25,000 grant to enhance our Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA) through staff support and equipment. For over 15 years, VITA has been a volunteer-operated program at CAA. Though we'll continue to to rely on our 15+ volunteer tax preparers, we now have the financial capacity to support a dedicated staff person to see the program through year after year.

Additionally, this grant will help us purchase new technology and equipment to better serve our customers through the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. CAA will purchase portable scanners, two new laptops, and an electronic signature account to enable us to implement a drop-off only operation this year (as compared to our traditional in-person appointments).

This funding opportunity will not only help us execute a safe, effective VITA program this year, but also lay the groundwork for sustainable growth for one of our highest-serving programs!
Want Free Tax Help This Year?
The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program offers free tax help to people who generally make $55,000 or less. IRS-certified volunteers provide free basic income tax return preparation with electronic filing to qualified individuals.

To accommodate COVID-19 distancing guidelines, all VITA appointments in 2021 will be conducted via drop-off only. Customers are required to make an appointment for curbside drop off of documents to be securely scanned. Returns will be prepared remotely by certified volunteers to be ready for physical or electronic signature within one week.

Customers must be prepared to be accessible via telephone for questions or updates from our tax team.

Appointments will be scheduled starting January 4, 2021. For more information, including a list of required documents, visit our website.
RESOURCES
CAA Remains Available During Inclement Weather
Help is available during normal business hours
In the event of inclement weather during the 2020-2021 winter months and CAA needs to close its office to protect its staff, we can still be reached through our main line: 570-374-0181.

If the pandemic has taught us anything, it's to continue to be here for our community through any "storm"!

Follow us on Facebook for office status updates and more.
Free Milk Give-Away!
Hosted by the Greater Susquehanna Valley United Way and Weis Markets
Need help today? Call us at (570) 374-0181. Our lines are open during normal business hours during the COVID-19 pandemic.