Since the Community Caring Council (CCC) was started in 1989 by former Missouri State Representative Mary Kasten, over 30,000 people have been helped by CCC and 20 organizations like it have popped up across the state. Deposit assistance, case managers, oral health screenings for children and offering a community closet of different cleaning and personal hygiene supplies are just a few of the many things that the Council does for Cape Girardeau.
Client care, collaboration and problem-solving are the main goals with CCC. “Basically, our overall mission is to identify needs in the community and through our collaborations with various agencies and organizations, bring folks together to try and find ways to fix those needs,” said Community Caring Council Director Tom Davisson.
Housing, community and mental health resources are all provided by CCC. They work to find different low to moderate income housing for seniors or homeless (or others in need) by using the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) program. They also provide information on different alcohol and drug abuse programs or different support groups for persons dealing with mental health issues. Two case managers are on staff, one general social worker and one that deals exclusively with HUD housing help.
Davisson and Community Coordinator Kay Azuma both say that CCC’s staff does everything they can to try and find help for persons in need. CCC may not be able to solve every problem for every client, but they can leverage other community resources. “We pretty much do anything,” Davisson said.
CCC now has a program that is a part of the University of Missouri Extension curriculum called “Building Strong Families,” which is a five-week program at different times during the year (the next will start Oct. 7) which starts at 5:45 p.m. with a family dinner, which will then be followed by babysitting for the children and different classes for the parents.
The process of getting help from CCC is fairly easy. People seeking any sort of help (help with housing, utilities, etc.) complete an assessment depending on what help is being sought, and the staff will determine who needs what sort of help.
Unfortunately, sometimes CCC is doesn’t have the resources to help, but they try to figure out other means (like turning to local churches) for these people and also offering different items from the community closet.
“We try to stay connected not only with our resources, but the community’s as well,” said Azuma. “If we can’t personally address those needs, and we try to figure out a plan to send the people to those who can, but that’s not always the case.”
CCC tries to keep up with different activities and events in the community mainly with face-to-face interaction, such as their partnership meetings that they have every month. These meetings are open to anyone, and the partners for CCC come in and will speak on behalf of what’s going on with their companies. Mainly, CCC relies on word of mouth and networking to get their name out.
The needs of the 30,000 people who have been helped over the years by the CCC are diverse. Programs range from dental screenings and scholarships for children to people accessing the online calendars and other programs. Davisson said that in the past year, the walk-ins for the office has more than doubled.
Community Caring Council is located at 937 Broadway, Suite 306 in Cape Girardeau. For more information, please call 573-651-3747 or visit communitycaringcouncil.org.