March 2016 - In This Issue:
There's something about those first warm days following winter's frigid chill... birds begin to return as does the green of budding shoots.While the calendar tells us we still have a few weeks before the official start of spring, our thoughts turn to spring bulbs, leprechauns and shamrocks, hopefully awaiting warmer, longer days filled with sunshine and promise. Here at WCAC we see our mission in a very similar way - providing hope and promise for families and individuals struggling. 

Our programs and services empower 

senior citizens on a fixed income to remain in their own home because of fuel assistance they receive;

first-time teen parents are empowered to make positive parenting choices and raise healthy babies; 

limited income parents are empowered to obtain employment or seek additional schooling while their pre-schooler is enrolled in our Head Start program; and 

at-risk and disenfranchised youth are empowered by earning their HiSET and work-readiness credentials to secure employment and springboard them onto a path of independence.

We thank you for your ongoing support of WCAC. Hope does indeed spring eternal!
Jill C. Dagilis
Executive Director

Please Join MassEcoCo,
Webster Five Cents Savings 
& MA State Treasurer Deb Goldberg 
for this FREE
Financial Literacy Summit
intended to help equip students and families with better financial 
decision-making skills.
Details and registration info available online.

Save the Date!

WCAC's 10th Annual
Action Heroes Celebration
May 25, 2016
Beechwood Hotel
363 Plantation Street, Worcester

Ticket information coming soon!
Making a difference in the lives of those we serve


"Thank you most sincerely for all your efforts in obtaining assistance for me in paying my gas bill. It was especially helpful having received the funds during the months of the highest bills. I am aware that your work is not easy, and for that I am most appreciative. God bless you all!" - Louise from Auburn

"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
View WCAC's 
2015 Annual Report

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!

Spread the word - this free, confidential hotline is available 24/7. For millions of Americans needing help every day - from locating financial assistance, to finding quality child care and health care, mental health services, fuel assistance, food pantries, legal services and more - 2-1-1 is an easy-to-remember phone number answered by professionals who will connect those in need to essential community resources.

Support WCAC when you shop!

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

Worcester Free Tax Service Coalition
For Giselle Ortiz-Reyes helping a woman maximize her tax return in order to have money to put towards her grand-daughter's college fund was rewarding. Getting to meet different people and making a difference in their lives is what keeps her coming back to volunteer as a tax preparer for the Worcester Free Tax Service Coalition. Now in her second year volunteering for the program at WCAC, Giselle is grateful for the opportunity to use her accounting background to give back to the community.

For Fabian, who recently visited WCAC's tax preparers for the fifth year to have his tax return done, the program has a tremendous impact. "Thank you to the volunteers who are giving back with the skills they possess," he said, "allowing me a solid return to have money to give back to my church or buy t-shirts or whatever it is I need."

Another woman, who was referred to the program by WCAC's fuel assistance staff, was having her taxes done for the third straight year agreed. "This program is crucial. I'm living on a prayer. With this, I don't have to spend the $600-$700 dollars I've paid out previously to have my taxes done. Now every January-February I can breathe - I've been saved."

According to Jimmy LaMountain, a long-time employee of Saint-Gobain recruited through the United Way and now in his second year volunteering to prepare taxes at WCAC, the experience has been eye-opening. "The clients are so appreciative especially when they qualify for EITC or something else they weren't expecting," he said. "It's been very rewarding for me to provide this service."

Nicole, in her seventh year of volunteering as part of a group from UNUM, agreed. "This is my way of giving back to the community. The clients really appreciate all that we do and it keeps them from spending a fortune elsewhere. I would encourage people to take advantage of this important program," she said.

Call 508-754-1176 x234 to schedule a free tax preparation appointment at WCAC
WCAC is one of four sites offering free tax preparation services through the Worcester Free Tax Service Coalition for 2016.  IRS-certified volunteers prepare taxes and give eligible clients access to tax credits that they might be unaware of. Qualifying households with income less than $54,000 in 2015 are eligible for the free service. Close to 1,800 tax returns were successfully e-filed by the coalition in tax year 2014, with more than $2.9 million returned to the local tax community.

Appointments at WCAC are available Monday, Tuesday & Wednesdays between 4-7 p.m. and Saturdays between 9 a.m. - 12 noon. Call 508-754-1176 x234 to book an appointment or check online for additional information about the program and the other free tax preparation sites.
Healthy Families program awarded $1K grant
Fallon Community Health Plan recently 
awarded WCAC's  Healthy Families of Southern Worcester County  program $1,000 through its Pay It Forward program, where Fallon employees select an area charity to support. The resources will be used to support Healthy Families outreach,  home visits, education and community referrals for first-time parents. Accepting the check on behalf of WCAC are Mimi Shea, Jilma Valdes and Charlotte Operach of the Healthy Families program, pictured here with Cheryl Schmaltz, Sharon Nolli, Christine Taylor and Christine Cassidy of Fallon.

Healthy Families serves first time parents residing in Brimfield, Brookfield, E. Brookfield, W. Brookfield , N. Brookfield, Charlton, Dudley, Holland, Monson, Oxford, Palmer, Southbridge, Sturbridge, Spencer, Webster, Warren, Wales, providing parenting support, education and community referrals from pregnancy through a child's third birthday. In 2015, the program provided 1,700 home visits to promote positive parenting choices and prevent child abuse/neglect to 122 first-time parents.
Making a difference for those in need
WCAC was recently selected to receive a substantial Cy Pres award which was presented to the agency by Attorney Elizabeth Ryan of the Bailey Glasser law firm of Boston, pictured above with WCAC Executive Director Jill Dagilis. Although not involved in the class action suit, WCAC was selected by the court system and parties involved to receive the award based on its successful track record and strong reputation for helping people in need throughout Central Massachusetts. 

Ms. Dagilis and WCAC Board Member Peter Martin of Bowditch & Dewey accepted the donation on behalf of the agency. "We are so grateful for this very generous contribution," Dagilis said. "These dollars will go a very long way in helping us address the needs of those we serve. We are honored to have been selected and are most appreciative to all those involved." 
Resources available for those struggling
As winters go, the winter of 2015-16 has, thus far, been a welcomed departure from the record setting snow fall and frigid temperatures endured last year. Despite the milder weather and decreases in the cost of home heating oil, WCAC knows there are families struggling and wants to ensure they know - help is available.

The federally funded Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) targets assistance to households with the lowest incomes.  The LIHEAP is intended to help defray the cost of heat during the winter months, November 1 - April 30 of each year. Applications are accepted anytime during that timeframe.   Eligibility is based on the number of individuals who live in a household, their combined income, housing status and fuel type. 

First time applicants must complete a face-to-face interview as part of the initial application process.  WCAC has outreach workers available by appointment to accept applications each Tuesday between 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. at the Webster Senior Center, 5 Church Street, Webster; and every Thursday between 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. at the Jacob Edwards Public Library, 236 Main St, Southbridge. Appointments can be made online or by calling 508.754.1176. 

New applications can also be submitted at the Worcester Office located in the Denholm Building, 484 Main Street, Worcester on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays between 8:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. No appointment is necessary.

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.