When Stephanie Thomeczek, executive director of the local Families and Communities Together (FACT) organization, announced she had accepted a position elsewhere, the FACT Board of Directors offered Tom Dugger the position of interim director.
Dugger had been on the Board of Directors for four years and was currently serving as chairman. He explained that “after the end of the year, we will see how things are going and will proceed from there.”
FACT works with other agencies and also offers temporary programs to help children and families. FACT does “lots of different kinds of things in the community to help people live successfully,” Dugger said. “I’m enjoying the opportunity for the challenge.”
The FACT office at 4 Melgrove Lane is open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays. The telephone number is (573) 221 2285. The website is mcfact.org.
For the past six years, Dugger served as executive director of the Northeast Missouri Chapter of the American Red Cross. However, on Sept. 27 the local office was closed, with area Red Cross services provided through the St. Louis chapter. Later the seven counties in the Northeast Chapter were divided again, with the Quincy, Ill., chapter serving the six northern counties and Pike County remaining in the St. Louis chapter’s area. With the local chapter closed, Dugger was free to accept his new position with FACT.
FACT helps coordinate numerous projects for children, such as the Back to School Fair, the Buddy Pack program, and children’s Glee Club.
Several programs help the entire family, Dugger added. FACT “does a lot of great things in the community. Their initiatives are making sure children are safe in their homes, making sure they are prepared for school and making sure families are safe and have jobs.
“One of the other really good programs is called Re-store.” In this program, “we are given donations of household items that can be distributed to families who have a need,” such as losing their home in a fire. “It has small kitchen appliances. ... We can’t sell the products. They are donated to be distributed to people in need, referred by another agency like Red Cross or Salvation Army - a social service agency of some kind.”
FACT also offers a mentoring program for students, in partnership with the Hannibal Alliance for Youth Success (HAYS) organization.
FACT is supported by grants and donations from “the generous people in the community,” Dugger said.
Some programs are grant-funded, he explained, “so when that grant ends, we will do different program.
“We were heavily invovled in Smokebusters program to help with smoke cessation. It had a lot of impact in the community. It is finished now.
Page 2 of 2 - “Last year FACT did a Department of Justice grant (program),” Dugger said, “a re-entry program to assist people in the community who were out of the prison system to get re-oriented back into the community.”
A new grant has been received “to help people to be educated and sign up for Affordable (health) Care Act,” Dugger reported. “We have a person on staff being paid by the Missouri Foundation for Health.” This staff member provides information and education about ACA “and can also assist in signing up” through the Affordable Care Act.
More programs will be announced later, he added. “Right now we are writing grants and submitting them for programs to help folks.”