Community Action Services and Food Bank (CASFB) changes people’s lives, embodies the spirit of hope, improves communities, and makes them a better place to live.
We care about the entire community, and we are dedicated to helping people help themselves and each other.
My name is Marion. I’m 29 years old, but I feel like 50. I’ve had serious health issues since I was nine, and my multiple surgeries have taken a certain toll on my life. I wish I could make it fully on my own. However, for now that’s not an option. Meanwhile, I cannot say enough about the blessings I continue to receive at Community Action Services and Food Bank.
I appreciate the food I have received here…and I’ll never forget the day I got assistance from Community Action when I couldn’t afford to keep heating my home. It was 20 degrees outside and the utility company was threatening to cut off my electricity. What if that had happened? How would I have survived? When the good people here learned of my predicament, they took action immediately. My electricity was not cut off and Community Action took care of my debt. You are giving the gift that gives…and gives… and gives
At this holiday season we often hear the phrase…give the gift that keeps on giving. Well, because you keep reaching out to me, I’m now able to touch the lives of others by studying sign language. I plan to be of service to the hearing impaired in hospitals, homes for the elderly, courthouses and wherever my new skills may take me. So when I’m signing, you are standing right there by my side. The gifts you give me will keep giving for the rest of my days. I would say that’s a remarkable return on your investment.
I know you give your hard-earned dollars to help provide nutritious food and critical services for people in distress. But you also give your time and your talent. Just to know you have a listening ear means so much to me and to so many others. If I leave you with only one message it is this: despite my health challenges, I’m going to stay strong until God calls me home…and my purpose in life will always be to use my gifts to be a blessing to others. I pray this is a blessed time for you as well
My name is Harry. If you want to meet a grateful person and if you want to see someone who could easily be homeless were it not for Community Action Services, I am that man. But I’m not homeless and I do feel there’s a ray of hope in my life, all because of the caring and compassion I receive here. There aren’t enough words to express my gratitude to Community Action Service and to you for donating your money, food and other acts of service to help keep my family alive.
I know what it’s like to go hungry. So does my family. If we did not receive this food at Community Action Services, we wouldn’t have a gallon of milk or a loaf of bread in our house. Just before I came to Community Action Services today I checked our cupboard. It was bare. If you’ve been there, you know what I mean. But then I received our box of food—packaged and given to me with arms of love. My box contains bread, canned goods, milk, a block of cheese and much more. But what makes my heart sing is to see meat in my food box. Meat! What a wonderful surprise this will be for my family tonight.
I could go without food for a while, but as a father I could never let my kids go to bed hungry. They feel embarrassed enough knowing we have so little. And if I needed to give them the food from my mouth, I’d give them that food in a heartbeat. What father would not do the same?
Now the holidays are here and I know there will be hundreds more people in need coming to Community Action Services for food, help with rent, utilities and mortgage relief. And everyone who comes through these doors will be received with love—the same way I’m received when I arrive. I’m so grateful for you. God bless your heart. I cannot put into words what you mean to me and to my family. Because of you and so many other caring people, I’m able to live another day.
Owning a home is a dream most families hope to achieve, but in recent years that dream has become a nightmare. Housing values have decreased, thousands have lost their jobs and many families are fighting to save their homes. In the latest report from the Governor’s Office, Utah ranked 16th in the nation for foreclosures.
In an effort to save their home, many have turned to the Home Buyer and Mortgage Counseling Services at Community Action Services and Food Bank (CASFB). As a result, hundreds of homes have been saved.
Patricio Pizarro owns one of those homes. Pizarro’s life changed with a visit to his doctor’s office. What he thought was a minor illness was in fact cancer. It was so serious, doctors operated the same day. Although the operation went well, Pizarro needed to undergo extensive chemotherapy, which made work very difficult.
“My employer was very good to me,” Pizarro said. “They allowed me to work when I was able to, but as the chemo continued there were days when I just didn’t have the energy.”
For two years Pizarro battled cancer, but that wasn’t the only battle he was fighting. He quickly realized the mounting costs of medical treatments, coupled with his inability to work full-time, would leave him flooded by debt.
To prevent falling behind on his mortgage, he contacted the bank to try to adjust his interest rate. Despite multiple attempts, nothing happened. Each time he called, he was forwarded to a different person and was asked to submit paperwork, which he submitted several times to no avail.
When all hope seemed lost, he received a letter from the Utah Housing Coalition announcing that lenders from various banks would attend the Utah Valley Home and Garden Expo to answer questions regarding home mortgages. Hoping to speak with a loan officer from his bank, Pizarro attended the expo, but his bank was not present.
As Pizarro left, he met an employee from CASFB, who reassured him there was still hope through the foreclosure prevention program.
During Pizarro’s first meeting with the staff at CASFB, he noticed that action was being taken. The staff was able to get his loan information released and results quickly followed. Within two weeks of meeting with CASFB employees Pizarro received documents for a loan modification.
Patricio Pizarro’s success highlights what the Home Buyer and Mortgage Counseling Program has done for many families in the community. Hundreds of families have a place to call home and millions of dollars have remained a part of Utah’s economy because of CASFB foreclosure prevention counseling.
Barbara and George*
Like many of our clients, a few unexpected events led Barbara to our organization; events she never imagined would happen. Barbara was happily married and working full-time at night and her husband part-time. In an effort to save money, they moved in with George’s aunt and uncle. Things were going great, or so she thought, until her husband came home one day and told her he wanted a divorce and he left. Soon after, she checked their finances and saw that her husband had withdrawn all their savings. She also discovered that he had charged thousands of dollars to their credit account.
With a broken heart and the awful sense of betrayal, she did her best to continue on, but the difficulties were just beginning. Through a mediator, she tried to work out the details of the divorce. The car she relied on to make it to work was no longer hers because the loan was in her spouse’s name. She was forced to leave her residence and she had to pay $200 a month in alimony to help pay the credit cards off. With what little money she had from her latest pay check, she purchased a car, paid her alimony and began looking for a new home. She soon realized she only had enough money to cover a deposit for a new apartment, but no way to pay her first month’s rent. While looking for help, she came across Community Action Services and Food Bank. Barbara met with a one of our case workers and we were able to help her make first months rent, have food to eat and access free legal resources to navigate challenges with her ex-husband.
The last few months have been difficult for Barbara, but she is now financially independent thanks to the support of individuals and organizations that make the work we do possible. Thank you for choosing to help change lives.
Steve and Gail*
It was mid-August. Steve and Gail came into the office with their three children – a new born (about 12 weeks old), a 4-year-old girl and a 7-year-old boy. The father heard that CASFB could possibly help with buying some gas for their van. He was currently looking for work and needed the gas to get to job interviews.
The caseworker noticed the family smelled like campfire. She asked where they were staying. The young boy spoke up, “Oh, we’ve been camping. We have stayed near the river and down by the lake. We stayed at a really cool camp… It’s been fun.” After his explanation, he turned to his dad and said, “Dad, we need to go home because school is going to start soon.” Steve broke the news to his son that they did not have a home to return to. The family’s belongings were in storage. They had been camping to save money for a new apartment.
Steve was laid off from his job, earlier that summer. Their baby had birth complications, so he was using his unemployment check to pay for the health insurance. He was doing the best he could to find a new job. However, he did not have a phone, so it was very difficult to hear back from potential employers.
CASFB provided temporary housing for the family in a local motel. Within two weeks, Steve was able to find a good job. Within a month, the family was able to get into a new home in time for the little boy to start school.
*names have been changed
Emma is an 85-year-old widow who is homebound with no relatives living in the area. She lives on a low fixed income and owns her own home. She is able to cook on her own. She has high health care costs each month. She worries each winter about how she will pay her high heating utility bills.
Community Action Services and Food Bank helps Emma to remain in her home more comfortably. We provide a supplemental food box once a week to Emma to help meet her nutritional needs. We also help with her heating bill through the HEAT Program. We help her to complete her annual application for her property tax rebate or she would not be able to afford to stay in her home.
Emma had her home weatherized a few years ago. Even though we do not operate the program, we helped her to sign up for it. We make a home visit to see Emma about four times a year to assess her situation and continue to connect with her with resources to help improve her quality of life.
When Sarah, a single mom with a daughter came in for food assistance, she was just getting out of an abusive marriage. She had just started working a few hours a week, had no car and little training. We helped to connect her with community resources for training and more. We helped her move into a new apartment by paying a part of the first month’s rent and utility deposit. We helped with food over a three-month period. During this time she attended a short-term training course and got promoted into a full-time good paying job. She was able to buy a small used car. She is now doing well.
John did not have father at home and had a poor relationship with his mother. His mother signed him up for the Community Action Youth Program against his will. John’s mentor had a very difficult time getting John to come to any activities, especially the group activities. John did not want to be in the program. John’s mentor really wanted to help, but even he started to doubt that they would ever get along. The mentor decided that no matter how many times John said ‘no,’ he would continue to call to schedule time to spend together. After three months of phone calls and visits, the mentor’s hard work finally paid off.
John and his mentor are regulars at the group activities and they enjoy one on one activities – especially fixing cars. They have a great relationship. John even planned one of the group activities – a thing he promised he would never do.
*names have been changed