Community Action hopes to end Impact Week raising $10K for match

  • Community Action Pioneer Valley Director of Communications and Development Jessye Deane says poverty is a public health issue that can affect the entire community. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 5/5/2021 6:11:16 PM

The largest anti-poverty agency in the area is celebrating the differences its 350 employees and 40 programs make for lower-income families living in Franklin and Hampshire counties by raising money during Impact Week, which ends Friday.

This year marks the 57th year since President Lyndon Johnson established more than 1,000 Community Action agencies to help fight poverty, according to Community Action Pioneer Valley Director of Communications and Development Jessye Deane.

“Impact Week is about reintroducing ourselves to our community and calling attention to how Community Action Pioneer Valley makes Franklin and Hampshire counties better for everyone,” Executive Director Clare Higgins said. “Last year alone, we served nearly 30,000 of our lower-income neighbors with critical services such as homelessness prevention and food access, and also long-term solutions like early education and care, and job skill training and placement.”

According to national statistics that Community Action shared, nearly 8 million Americans have become “officially” poor since last summer.

Higgins said COVID-19 pushed those living on the financial edge further into poverty, disproportionately stripping lower-income families of employment, health insurance, child care and access to public transportation.

“Community Action Pioneer Valley is working to combat poverty and discrimination in an America that has more wealth and income inequality than any major developed country,” Higgins said.

“I think what we’ve all realized this year is that poverty is a public health issue that can affect the entire community,” Deane said. “For more than five decades, our neighbors have come to Community Action for help, and we’ve come through. We have 57 years of success stories, and we are proud to spend five days spotlighting how Community Action strengthens our communities.”

Deane said when the week comes to an end, the agency will know how much it raised. She said an anonymous donor is matching donations up to $10,000 in her father’s memory.

Community Action runs 40 programs, including Head Start, food pantries and homelessness prevention, that help 30,000 lower-income residents each year.

For more information, visit communityaction.us. To donate online, visit bit.ly/3xQfdbV. To donate by mail, send a check to Community Action, Attn. Jessye Deane, 393 Main St., Greenfield, MA 01301.

Reach Anita Fritz at
413-772-9591 or afritz@recorder.com.




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