Community Survey Receives Record-breaking Response

TEAM’s Community Survey has ended and staff are poring over the more than 1,050 responses received. In the coming months, a comprehensive report will be produced on the issues facing our community as conveyed by those who live and work here.

Conducted as part of TEAM’s Strategic Planning process, currently underway, the Survey asked about topics such as jobs, housing, food, child care, transportation, and elderly services. Development of a 3-5 year Strategic Plan will create a crucial leadership tool for TEAM’s Board of Directors and staff for years to come.

Respondents returning completed surveys were entered in a raffle to win a $100 grocery store gift card. Congratulations to the winner, and thank you to everyone who took the time over the last few months to provide their valuable and much appreciated input to TEAM’s Community Planning Survey. Blank surveys in English, Spanish, and English large-print are available for review.

 

Stroman, Men Who Cook on WTNH’s CT Style

TEAM’s Executive Vice President Diane Stroman appeared on WTNH’s CT Styles to discuss the upcoming Men Who Cook event.

She was accompanied by Bill Calderara, President/CEO of Naugatuck Valley Savings & Loan, and Bob Stabile, NVSL Vice President.

Naugatuck Valley Savings & Loan is the Marquee Sponsor of the event.

Nearly 100 men from the lower Naugatuck Valley will don aprons on Saturday, April 25 at Ansonia’s Warsaw Park to prepare a variety of delicious dishes. The chefs are a diverse group of dedicated community neighbors, not professional chefs, and include State Senators, Mayors, First Selectmen, legislators, police chiefs, and local business owners. There are many “teams” of family members, including father-son chef duos.

Tickets are $55 per person and include food, beer, wine, and soda. There will also be a silent auction and raffle, and dancing to the Electric Lady Band. The event will be emceed by Chaz of WPLR’s Chaz and AJ Show. Tickets may be purchased by visiting www.teaminc.org, contacting info@teaminc.org, or calling (203) 736-5420 ext. 221.

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Volunteers Needed!

TEAM is preparing for the upcoming tax season and needs community members to serve at the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites. TEAM works with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to provide free, basic income tax preparation services to community members with low to moderate incomes. Trained volunteer preparers explain credits such as the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and help individuals complete and electronically file their tax returns, all for FREE.

No experience is necessary. All volunteers will receive training appropriate for their position. Volunteers receive the materials for self-study on basic income tax law for federal and state returns. In addition, specific training sessions will take place in January 2016. Volunteers are covered under the Volunteer Protection Act and are not accountable for tax returns filed to the IRS.

If you would like to help, but don’t think tax preparation is for you, volunteers are needed for Greeters.

As a Greeter, you will create a welcoming atmosphere at VITA sites while also helping to check in families and individuals accessing VITA services. While tax training is not required for greeters, a positive attitude is critical to being effective in this important role.

TEAM VITA sites are located at 30 Elizabeth Street in Derby, Derby Neck Library, and the Milford Senior Center. All VITA sites operate from January through April 2016. For further information or to register as a volunteer, call (203) 736-5420 ext. 202 or please complete our volunteer application.

2015-2016 Energy Season Now Accepting Applications

TEAM is now accepting applications for help with winter heating bills. Applicants are eligible based on a review of their total gross household income, household size, and liquid assets, shown through bank statements. If an applicant is approved for assistance, TEAM will make direct payments to the applicant’s home heating provider.

Homeowners and renters who are residents of Ansonia, Beacon Falls, Bethany, Derby, Milford, Orange, Oxford, Seymour, Shelton, or Woodbridge may apply for home heating assistance from TEAM.

To schedule an appointment, please call 203-736-5420 and follow the prompts.

Valley Hunger Study Released

The Valley United Way recently published the Valley Hunger Study, with the cooperation of the Valley Council Food Security Task Force and funding from the Prudential Foundation, part of Prudential Financial’s commitment to corporate social responsibility. The Hunger Study was developed in an effort to present the community with a clearer picture of hunger and food insecurity in the Valley. Working with the Community Results Center at the United Way of Connecticut, the Task Force researched the extent of hunger in the Valley and what resources are currently being directed to alleviate hunger.

TEAM’s President/CEO David Morgan said, “TEAM has always been at the front line in striving to meet the basic essential needs of our most disadvantaged populations, and it was a real pleasure for me to Co-Chair and sit amongst this gifted group of providers – their work on this Study is the bedrock to a coordinated system of addressing food-need throughout the Valley. All the credit and recognition goes to these incredible food pantries and experts on the Food Insecurity Task Force whom made this Study possible.”

Since the economic downturn in 2008, many middle class families are now experiencing food insecurity and are struggling to afford enough groceries to consistently keep their families fed. Food insecurity is any time a household is uncertain of having, or unable to acquire, enough food to meet the needs of all of their household members, due to having insufficient money or other resources for food.

 

One out of every seven American families experienced food insecurity at times during the year  according to a 2013 study by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).  One out of every 11 households experienced low food security, meaning they obtained just enough food to avoid substantially disrupting their eating patterns through either Federal food assistance programs or local community food pantries, or they reduced their food intake by eating a more restrictive diet. One out of every 18 households experienced very low food security, with the normal eating patterns of one or more household members disrupted, and food intake reduced at times during the year. Of households with children under age 18, one in five experienced food insecurity at times during the year.

Included in the Hunger Study is a comprehensive Resource Guide to food resources in the Valley, as well as an interactive map of these resources.

The conclusion of the Hunger Study is that individuals and families who need food assistance in the Valley have many good community resources; there is, however, more that can be done to improve food security in the Valley. In the Hunger Study, the Task Force makes the following recommendations:

  1. Adopt a common method of measuring food
    • This will enable Valley food resources to consistently measure and report their collective impact in the community.
  2. Explore feasibility of additional sites for the Connecticut Food Bank Mobile Pantry
    • 43% of individuals surveyed at food pantries cited transportation as a significant barrier to accessing food assistance
  3. Develop a Food Action Plan for the Valley
    • A Food Action Plan is developed around long-term goals to best benefit the community, and includes a breakdown of action and strategies that can be implemented to achieve the goals.

The Hunger Study and resultant report were made possible through the collaborative efforts led by the Valley Council Food Security Task Force, co-chaired by TEAM’s President/CEO David Morgan and Patricia Tarasovic of Valley United Way, and the organizations that its members represent including TEAM, Inc., Valley United WayAnsonia Public SchoolsChrist Episcopal ChurchDerby Public SchoolsOxford Public SchoolsParent Child Resource CenterThe Salvation ArmySeymour/Oxford Food BankSeymour Public SchoolsShelton Public SchoolsSpooner HouseSt. Vincent De Paul, and The Umbrella Center for Domestic Violence Services.

“Looking Up: A View From The Valley”: Early Education episode

TEAM operates several affordable comprehensive early childhood programs for children ages 3 to 5, all of which provide quality early care and education. TEAM’s programs focus on education and meet children’s social, cognitive, physical, emotional, creative, language, and cultural developmental needs. This episode of Looking Up: A View From The Valley, a local-access TV show, featured TEAM’s Early Education programs, and you’ll get to meet a few of our great staff!