Community First: Community action serves Washington Countians

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By Brandon Mattingly

Washington County Community Action has made a name for itself by serving the people of the local community. One of the program’s more well-known events took place last Thursday, as senior citizens were provided with meals—as they are once a month—thanks to the Feeding America hunger-relief charity.


Senior Commodities is a program for residents 60-and-over within the eligible income scale have the opportunity to fill one of the 130 slots reserved for Washington Countians to receive a package each month. Dana Kelty, community action county coordinator, said there is typically around $80 worth of food per box.

Thanks also to Feeding America, community action is able to offer an emergency food bank, which supplies households in times of need.

“As long as you live in Washington County you can come here,” Kelty said. “We try to give enough food for three days, to sustain them until we can work out something with the food stamps.”

Feeding America isn’t the only source for community action to provide for county residents, however. Following its trip to deliver products to its chain store in Lebanon, the Wal-Mart truck delivers items to community action every Monday. Kelty said anywhere from 800 to 1,800 pounds of food are brought to Washington County each week, with an emphasis on fresh produce.

Clients of community action can contact the office after 1:30 p.m. each Monday to reserve a box organized by household size.

Among the other benefits that Washington County Community Action offers are $28 farmer’s market (open each Saturday) vouchers. Kelty said community action also benefits from farmer’s market surplus, as well as the helping hand of the local community.

“We also have some local farmers who bring fresh produce,” Kelty said. “We’ve had green beans and tomatoes; right now we’ve got some butternut squash. It’s a wonderful thing for everybody, because the produce doesn’t have to go to waste and our clients benefit from it.”