Saratoga County Economic Opportunity Council (EOC) presented three organizations with National Community Action Awards in celebration of their dedication to low-income families and communities on Thursday, May 23, at the EOC soup kitchen in Saratoga.

EOC will recognize AIM Services, Green & Healthy Homes Initiative and Saratoga-Wilton Elks Lodge #161 for going above and beyond to help make Saratoga and Schenectady counties a better place for all.

The National Community Action Award recognizes outstanding individuals at the local level. As the designated community action agency for Saratoga County, EOC has made it a tradition to present the awards during Community Action Month. Community Action Month is held every May to celebrate the work of over 1,000 community action agencies, including EOC. They were formed after President Lyndon B. Johnson declared a war on poverty in 1964 with the creation of the Economic Opportunity Act.

“After 50 years, we are still fighting the war on poverty, every day,” EOC Executive Director Jo Anne Hume said. “But we cannot do it alone. We are fortunate to have partners throughout the community who are standing up and making the decision to help our low-income neighbors who are struggling to make ends meet. Whether it’s clothing students for winter, volunteering their time in our food pantry or creating healthy homes, they do their part and we can’t thank them enough.”

AIM Services

AIM Services is absolutely critical to the success of our food pantry and our ability to provide amazing service to our customers. They come not one or two days a week, but three. The level of help was driven by the AIM staff and volunteers saying ‘what else can we help with, there must be more we can do?’

Every day that we have AIM onsite, we know that things will be taken care of. They help pack food in our pantry for customers as well as organize products and stock shelves. On the days that AIM volunteers in our pantry, we see more customers being assisted to their cars and that’s exactly the type of customer service we are aiming for.

Our volunteer staff not only enjoy having AIM’s additional help, but they also enjoy the interaction and experience. AIM’s support is amazing and does not go unnoticed. We appreciate their hard work and dedication to helping EOC and our customers.

Green and Healthy Homes Initiative

The Capital Region’s Green & Healthy Homes Initiative began in early 2017 as a follow up to the Breathing Lights project, which brought attention to poor housing conditions in our communities.  Mold, lead, and asbestos in housing triggers lead poisoning, asthma, and other respiratory illnesses.

Green & Healthy Homes works to break the link between housing in disrepair and unhealthy families by combining resources from home repair, lead abatement, and weatherization programs.

Kathleen Langton has taken a leadership role in serving as the Capital Region’s outcome broker, and has worked in Schenectady to coordinate meetings and communication among many partners including EOC, Better Neighborhoods, NYSERDA, and Health & Safety among others.  As a result, homes are being repaired in a comprehensive way that improves the quality of housing and health outcomes for the lowest income members of our community.

Saratoga Springs Wilton Elks Lodge #161

The Elks secured a $2,500 Promise Grant Check to use for winter outerwear for low-income children. When they contacted EOC about using the money for coats and winter wear for our kids it quickly turned into a welcome blessing for the families at the EOC Head Start Jefferson Terrace classroom.

The Elks worked very hard to make sure that not only the kids enrolled in the classroom but all of their siblings received winter coats, boots, and snow pants as well as a book or two for each child. When they came to Jefferson Terrace and helped distribute the items, the families were so happy and grateful. A true blessing for families who needed winter wear for the upcoming cold weather.

When Susan Waghorn, then-Exalted Ruler, first asked if we would like to partner, her ending comment was –  “Please help us keep these children warm this winter.” A statement that they took to heart and really made the winter much warmer for the families at Jefferson Terrace.