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Hannibal Courier - Post - Hannibal, MO
  • FACT helps families recover from disaster

  • The Families and Communities Together (FACT) organization is well named – its programs are not only beneficial to families, they are offered in conjunction with additional local agencies.
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  • The Families and Communities Together (FACT) organization is well named – its programs are not only beneficial to families, they are offered in conjunction with additional local agencies.
    Several FACT programs were explained by Tom Dugger, who was recently named executive director after unofficially holding that position since November.
    FACT has a goal of six core results “that we are supposed to accomplish,” Dugger said.
    They are: 1 - Parents working, 2 - Children safe in their families and families safe in their communities, 3 - Children and families healthy, 4 – Children ready to enter school, 5 – Children and youth succeeding in school and 6 – Youth ready to enter the work force and become productive citizens.
    One of Dugger’s favorite FACT programs is called Restore. “The name describes what it does,” he said. “It’s about helping families to restore their needs” after a fire or another problem, such as water damage.
    Several retail businesses donate the items they no longer want to display.
    “We have a partnership with an organization called Good 360,” Dugger said. “They have an arrangement with area retail stores that allows organizations like ours to select stores and pay a fee to the program to be a partner.”
    The items go to people referred to FACT by an agency such as the Red Cross, Salvation Army and Hannibal Housing Authority.
    FACT does not do the casework for the recipients, Dugger emphasized. Referrals also come from churches and schools, he said. When their personnel “see a person or family in need and realize we can help them, they make a referral.
    “One example is a fire victim,” Dugger said. “The Red Cross makes sure the fire victim has immediate food, clothing and shelter.” But when the family moves into a home, “they don’t have the items needed in the household. We have items we can provide to the family. … During a year we will help about 6,000 people with those products.
    “We go to Quincy to pick up products” from some stores, including a home improvement store, and items also are picked up from stores in St. Louis.
    “We get building supplies, and if a church is helping a family (renovate a home) we have some building materials,” Dugger continued.
    Items stored at the FACT building include bedding, kitchen equipment - both dishes and small appliances - window blinds and toys.
    Some of the toys are given to a local school as incentive rewards in its speech therapy program.
    FACT funds the pickup, storage and distribution of the donated items.
    Page 2 of 2 - Because these donated items cannot be sold, and some are not suitable to be given to a family, FACT also has a rental program, offering things used for special events. They include a chocolate fountain, punch fountain, candlesticks, ice cream and cotton candy machines and decorations.
    Dugger noted he is not FACT’s only professional staff member. Assistant Director Sandy Caswell and Program Coordinator Donna Voepel both are certified by the Missouri State Department of Insurance to help the public sign up for the Affordable Care Act.
    Additional staff members are Lisa Novak, Restore coordinator; and bookkeeper Sharon Houston.
    New program
    to teach nutrition
    The FACT staff is adding new equipment for one new program. “We are installing a training kitchen, and we will offer classes about proper nutrition and efficiently purchasing food,” Dugger said. The dates will be announced.
    One FACT program is Read from the Start. “We teach adults how to read to their children and provide children’s books to them,” Dugger said. This one- or two-day evening program is offered at various local locations.
    Another FACT service is providing a certified child car seat installer. This person also checks the condition of the seat to be sure it is not expired. The car seats are brought to the FACT office.
    Appointments are needed for several FACT programs.
    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.
    FACT works with other agencies to provide children’s program including the Back to School Fair, Buddy Pack program, and Glee Club.
    The FACT organization is among 20 community partnerships in Missouri in a rare program, Dugger said. He described it as “a unique program, in that there are only two states in the country that have this,” Missouri and Georgia.
    “The Missouri one was established several years ago,” he said. “There is a family and community trust fund administered by the Department of Social Services in the state that helps support some of these programs.”
    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 programs.”

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