CAO offers programs for people of all ages

Published 10:03 am Monday, August 17, 2015

IRONTON — Because of its wide range of programs, the Ironton-Lawrence Community Action Organization (CAO) offers resources for community members of all ages. The CAO’s WIC program and its Senior Services program are examples of the organization’s reach in the community.

The WIC program focuses on providing adequate nutrition to families and young children and offers a helping hand when clients are running low on financial resources. The program provides eligible clients with EBT cards that they can use to purchase food items at local stores.

“Most of our participants have said that WIC has helped in financial hard times,” said Deborah Bailey, director of Lawrence County WIC.

Since WIC participants use their EBT cards at local businesses, Bailey said WIC is “a big supporter of stores (and) economic growth” in the community.

“The primary goal (of WIC) is to focus on nutrition education,” said Bailey.

Providing nutritional education begins when clients walk through the doors of the WIC offices in Ironton and Chesapeake. Clients go through a process to evaluate their eligibility for the program and then receive a medical assessment to determine their health status

“A nutritionist makes a food package geared to their needs,” said Bailey.

Bailey said WIC participants learn how to get in shape and stay healthy. Some clients have lost weight and gotten fit.

“We have a good success rate,” said Bailey.

The senior services program aims to help seniors living independently have access to trained staff that can help them with their medical needs or daily tasks such as bathing, cleaning and shopping.

The home health program “keeps (seniors) in their own home,” said Melinda Nance, coordinator for senior services.

The Ironton Senior Center provides meals for seniors and gives them the opportunity to socialize and enjoy events coordinated by senior services staff.

“It’s like a social program for them,” said Nance. “We try and allow them a place to come and meet new friends.”

If seniors do not have access to transportation and cannot get to the center, senior services staff will work with them to find transportation, often referring them to the CAO’s public transportation services.

Nance said seniors enjoy the events and try to get their friends to attend events with them.

“It’s very important that we help seniors because we’re going (to be) there someday,” Nance said.

Many of the seniors who visit the senior center have offered praise for the senior center.

“They (feel) blessed to have a place like this,” said Nance.

To find out more about the Ironton-Lawrence CAO programs, visit them on the web at ilcao.org.