FCAA honors community partners
JOHNSTOWN — Every year in May, the over 1,000 Community Action Agencies across the country celebrate Community Action Month, where they are able to showcase work they do in their communities, as well as recognize community partners, donors, and Board members. Fulmont Community Action Agency, Inc. held its annual Community Action Month Celebration on Monday, May 10 at the Holiday Inn in Johnstown.
Laurence Zuckerman, Chairperson of the Fulmont Board of Directors welcomed everyone in attendance, and thanked them for their partnership with Fulmont. Denis E. Wilson, Sr., executive director/CEO of Fulmont, led the program by recognizing sponsors as well as board members, public officials, honored guests, and members of Fulmont’s staff.
Wilson spoke about Fulmont’s programs, noting that the Weatherization Program was able to complete the two-year, 152-unit contract for a total of 157 units. Through the EMPOWER Program, the agency provided home performance and electric reduction services to 39 homes. The Fuel Conversion Program enabled Fulmont to replace 12 high-cost oil, electric, or propane heating systems with high efficiency natural gas furnaces, boilers, or space heaters. The Cooling Program was able to provide cooling services to nine customers with heat-related conditions.
Wilson also stated that the Community Services Department’s VITA Program completed 445 tax returns for a total of $785,883 in federal and state refunds, and Earned Income Tax Credits. The Emergency Food Pantries in its Community Access Centers provided a total of 1,169 food pantries to families with food insecurities, and Fulmont staff assisted in accessing 500 nutrition-based referrals for SNAP, WIC, and other programs. Clothing was provided to assist 76 families. Current projects in the Coronavirus Aid Relief Economic Security Act (CARES) include Cars for Careers, where Fulmont purchases vehicles and provides repairs for participants who do not have a vehicle and need personal transportation to get to and maintain employment, Career and Education Development, and Emergency Housing Assistance to provide rent, fuel and utility payments for those who have been affected by the current coronavirus pandemic.
The Early Childhood Services Program is currently serving roughly 200 children each month, and as of April 12, children have started attending classes in-person four days a week. The program offers virtual engagement options for families, as well as parenting classes, social/emotional events, virtual educational lessons, science activities and literacy events.
Regarding the WIC Program, the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 includes funding to temporarily increase the WIC cash value of benefits for fresh fruits and vegetables. The WIC Program also had a college student in the Masters Dietetics Program from the University of Oneonta complete her WIC internship with the nutrition coordinator at the Amsterdam office. Fulmont’s WIC Program was also selected as a pilot program to test out the new EBT WIC cards that offer enhanced security.
The Fulton County Senior Transportation Program provided 1,705 trips, transporting hundreds of seniors to medical appointments, shopping trips and social events.
Wilson then noted that the agency had just undergone a Triennial Review for Accountability and Compliance with Standards (TRACS) by the New York State Department of State, Division of Community Services. The unofficial results indicate Fulmont achieved 100 percent compliance with the 195 state standards under review. He further noted that the agency had received another clean agency audit. Lastly, Mr. Wilson stated that Fulmont had been presented with a Certificate of Recognition by the U.S. Census Bureau for all of the efforts made by the agency to help ensure an accurate census count in Fulton and Montgomery counties.
The guest speaker for the event was Manuel Rosa, Director, Department of State, Division of Community Services, who congratulated Fulmont for the work it does in Fulton and Montgomery Counties, their strong leadership and success of its programs run by good people since 1965 in helping the hurting, hungry and homeless. Mr. Rosa presented Fulmont with a certificate of recognition from the New York Department of State recognizing the hard work and dedication of the agency.
Jack Wilson, supervisor of the town of Johnstown, and also a Fulmont Board member, presented a proclamation from the Fulton County Legislature designating May 2021 as “Community Action Month in Fulton County”.
Michael McMahon, commissioner, Montgomery County Department of Social Services, presented a proclamation on behalf of Matthew Ossenfort, Montgomery County Executive, also naming May 2021 as “Community Action Month in Montgomery County”. McMahon was also presented with a certificate of appreciation for the Montgomery County Legislature as well for County Executive Ossenfort.
Fulmont Board members were honored for their years of service, specifically Mark Ford for five years, Sandra Savage for 15 years, and Jack Wilson for 25 years of service. The Honorable Philip V. Cortese, Montgomery County Family Court Judge, then swore in Ronald Dievendorf as treasurer of Fulmont’s Board of Directors.
Premier Corporate Sponsor First Choice Financial Federal Credit Union, Primary Corporate Sponsors Roemer, Wallens, Gold and Mineaux, LLP, and Information Systems Division, and Corporate Sponsors Brown’s Ford, C. Gerard Marketing, Kasson & Keller, River Ridge Living Center, and Superior Insulation Co. all received certificates of appreciation for their support of the agency.
Recipients of certificates of appreciation for community partners included Adirondack Harley-Davidson, Amsterdam Masonic Lodge #84, Amsterdam Rotary Club, Mohawk Valley Nurses Association, Sacandaga Chapter Harley Owners Group, Greg Gottung, Chad Majewski, and Joe Szjkowski.