Tommy Mann Jr. – For The Record

Several local agencies will be receiving some much needed funds to continue providing vital services to the community.

The City of Orange approved the dispersal of funds through community development block grants to several local agencies at one of its June council meetings, which will allow the agencies to continue providing services to members of the community who depend on these various programs for a variety of services.

Approximately $46,000 in grant funding was approved to be distributed to seven local agencies, which includes the Orange County Action Association, Greater Orange Area Literacy Services, the Julie Rogers Gift of Life, Southeast Texas Hospice, Jackson Community Center, Samaritan Counseling Center and Stable Spirit.

Southeast Texas Hospice is located in Orange and received $7,000 through the community development block grant funding to be able to continue better serving its clients.

Incorporated in 1976, Southeast Texas Hospice was the first hospice in the State of Texas and one of the first 20 to open in the United States. It began serving patients and their families in 1979 and continues its mission of improving end of life care for individual patients and their families.

“These kind of grants are very important to us,” said Mary McKenna, director of Southeast Texas Hospice. “This money is going to be used for our ‘adopt-a-family’ program, which lets us take care of patients who have no way to pay. In 2015, we provided over $100,000 in indigent care and we couldn’t do that without grants and the support of the community.”

The agency holds events such as the Toilet Paper Tea during the holiday season, and the mystery dinner theater each spring to raise additional funds in order to utilize every budget dollar on providing care to those in need.

“These events go a long way in helping (Southeast Texas Hospice) serve those who need it,” she added. “So far the community has been very supportive of us and these events. We couldn’t do it without that support.”

The Orange County Action Association, which is located in downtown Orange, received $6,500 through the community development block grant program. This agency provides a vital service to many elderly residents and disabled residents of Orange County.

The Orange County Action Association, also referred to its better known name as “Meals on Wheels,” serves approximately 385 meals per day, five-days each week, with nearly 300 meals being delivered each day across the county.

“We are budgeted to serve meals 260 days each year, so any extra funds we receive through grants are very useful,” she added.

The remainder of meals served each day, which are not delivered, are to area residents who visit locations such as the one in Orange, as well as Optimist Village in Pinehurst, and locations in Bridge City and Little Cypress.

The Julie Rogers “Gift of Life” Program was established in Beaumont, Texas, in 1994 by Regina Rogers as a tribute to her mother, Julie, a breast cancer survivor, who had a double mastectomy in 1988 and who died following complications from a stroke and heart attack in 1998. Originally dedicated to providing free mammograms for medically underserved women, in the past twelve years, the organization’s services have multiplied and the agency has grown into one of the largest cancer screening initiatives of its type in the state of Texas.

In 2000, the “Gift of Life” broadened its breast cancer mission to include prostate cancer, offering free screenings and educational presentations for men.

This program, which received $5,000 from the grant allocation, provides uncompensated healthcare services through seven counties in Southeast Texas, which includes the provision of free clinical breast exams, mammograms and diagnostic testing when needed.

The Greater Orange Area Literacy Services, also known as GOALS, was established in 1993, received $6,500 to continue its adult literacy program.

According to its official website, it provides adult basic education to individuals with a reading level below sixth-grade level or English as a second language for non-English speaking people.

GOALS, which was established in 1993 and is accredited with Proliteracy America, also assists with GED preparation, as well as family literacy and workplace literacy.

The program is designed for those who are ages 16 and older, regardless of race, gender or social economic status and provides instruction materials for free to adult learners.

Stable Spirit, located in Rose City, received $8,000 for its program which provides a variety of services to its clients.

According to its website, this non-profit program provides Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) to youth and adults with a special interest in providing mental health services to experiencing the affects of crime, crisis, trauma, and other issues that may put them at risk. Stable-Spirit also works with families and groups to best support the needs of the clients.

Another service is Hippotherapy in which the horse is used as a therapeutic tool by numerous medical professionals. Stable Spirit also offers Equine Experiential Development (EED), which provides cutting-edge training and development opportunities to companies, groups, individuals, and schools.

The Jackson Community Center was established in 2009 to provide supportive social service programs to the lower income communities and residents of East Orange, according to its official website.

Jackson Community Center, which received $6,500 from the community development block grant funding, administers several programs targeting its youth residents during the school year as well as the summer months. These programs provide an excellent opportunity to help the youth fill their after-school and summer breaks with structured enrichment activities that can assist in preparing them for academic and employment opportunities.

The Samaritan Counseling Center of Southeast Texas was alloted $6,500 in funding.

According to its official website, Samaritan Counseling Center of Southeast Texas is a not-for-profit, professional, organization committed to providing access to quality mental, emotional and behavioral healthcare services and educational programs to people of all economic backgrounds. Samaritan Counseling Center continues in its mission since 1983 to address these needs in our community.