May Is Community Action Month – War On Poverty Continues

To The Editor:
May is Community Action Month across the United States. This is a time to celebrate the efforts of Community Action Agencies across the country as they fight poverty by highlighting their role in helping low-income families move out of poverty and achieve economic security.

Oswego County Opportunities, Inc. is the Community Action Agency for Oswego County.

Born out of President Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty, OCO and its more than 1,100 counterparts across the country are dedicated to serving those in need with programs and supports that help them improve their lives and enhance the quality of life for their communities.

We’re in our 49th year of providing services to Oswego County. As a private, non-profit human services agency, we work with government, other non-profits, civic organizations, the business community, and citizens who support our mission and our vision for eliminating the many barriers to success imposed by poverty.

OCO offers more than 50 programs and services in nearly 80 different locations throughout Oswego County.

The agency employs more than 550 people and is supported by more than 2,000 volunteers. OCO serves between 25,000 and 30,000 people in a typical year. That’s nearly 1 in every 4 residents of Oswego County.

Clearly, there is still much to be done to win the war on poverty. Advancements need to continue in providing accessible and affordable health care, safe, affordable housing, public transportation, mental health services, educational supports, nutrition, child care… the list goes on.

There also needs to be an infusion of jobs that can support the fair market rate for a decent home or apartment, put food on the table, and provide the necessities of life.

This “war” is fought on many different fronts. Each of us can engage in this battle, and make a difference. Donations to OCO are one way to invest in our communities by helping its neediest members. More than 90 cents of every dollar donated to OCO goes directly toward serving people in need. You can rest assured your hard-earned gift will be put to work locally.

Other ways to help include volunteering, and inviting an OCO representative to speak to a civic group, church group, or special event.

We’re always trying to raise awareness. Our employees are our best ambassadors, and they’re more than willing to talk about their programs and how they are making a difference.

Many areas within OCO utilize volunteers, such as the Meals on Wheels program. Delivering healthy meals to a homebound senior citizen is very rewarding. Some of these residents rarely see anyone at their home except the person delivering their meals, so that personal contact really means a lot.

In closing, Community Action Month is a great time to consider the impact OCO has on the communities within Oswego County – and how you would like to be a part of our mission: empowering people, supporting communities and changing lives!

Diane Cooper-Currier
OCO Executive Director