In 1993, a consortium of area churches formed “Caring Connection” - a limited emergency assistance program for Washington County residents in need.
WMOA News spoke with Director Jim Tilley, who says they provide utility shut-off or reconnection assistance as well as prescription medication payment for those without insurance.
“Our prescription assistance includes either a one-time buy of a 30-day supply from a local drug store, or for those who need continuous medication, we help them and their doctor enroll the patient in manufacturer’s drug assistance programs,” explains Tilley.
He adds they also help people apply for food stamps and are an Ohio Benefit Bank member, which provides free tax return filing, and food and medical assistance.
During the winter, Tilley says they refer most clients to federal HEAP programs for heating assistance. “Around the first of the year after they’ve used their HEAP, if they’re still not able to pay their bills, then we start to see people come back in.”
He says one of their biggest programs is water utility assistance. “There are no federal programs to get water turned on, so we get a lot of requests for both water deposits and reconnections.”
Jim Tilley notes Caring Connection relies entirely on donations.
“About a third of our funding comes from the United Way and another third from about twelve local churches,” says Tilley, “We get donations and grants wherever we can – just last month, we received a grant from the Ohio Benefit Bank for our tax program this winter.”
Those interested can make a tax-deductible donation to Caring Connection by mailing a check to their office at 411 Scammel Street, Marietta OH, 45750.
Caring Connection is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Those needing help with utility shutoffs or prescriptions costs should stop by or call 376.9903 and find out what documentation is needed to apply.