Offering A Hand Up To Those In Need

Article from The Princeton Times

Catholic Charities West Virginia offers a hand up to those in need

PRINCETON — Catholic Charities West Virginia’s (CCWVA) Southern Region office is a nonprofit assistance organization offering local residents a hand up instead of a hand out.

“Generational poverty is a hard cycle to break,” said Carol Bailey, regional director of CCWVA. “We try to provide support for self-sufficiency, so, in the end, [our clients] won’t need our help. That’s not to say that we’ll stray away. We plan to still be there providing support if they need it again.”

In operation since 1986, and with Bailey at the helm for the past 15 years, the organization offers emergency assistance for utilities and rent, grocery vouchers, and educational support to clients meeting federal poverty-level income guidelines.

“Each satellite office does a needs assessment of the area to find out what services are needed most, and then, we work to meet those needs. If someone is evicted or their power is being turned off, we’re here for emergency help,” Bailey said.

The CCWVA Southern Region office covers a nine-county area, with small offices in most of those counties. Bailey travels among the offices to meet the needs of her clients in each county.

Helping hands...
Photo by Jeanie Brown. Catholic Charities West Virginia Southern Region staff offer a hand up to low-income residents through financial assistance and educational and career support.

The Mercer County office, located on Harrison Street, operates with three employees. Bailey is assisted by Program Assistant Nancy Blankenship and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Outreach Specialist Matt Atwood.

Atwood identifies and assists clients in applying for SNAP.

“The application process can even take place over the phone so the client doesn’t need to wait in line at the DHHR,” Bailey said.

Aside from assistance with paying bills, CCWVA also provides educational and career assistance to its clients. The McDowell County office has an adult education program with locations in Eckman and at the Stevens Correctional Center in Welch. The program currently has 113 students enrolled and working to earn their high school equivalency degrees.

Bailey said, “We always hold a big graduation for the participants. And, there’s an award for everyone. We make sure there is, because they deserve it.”


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