When families in Montgomery County fall on hard times, the Montgomery County Emergency Assistance Program (MCEAP) is there to help. Run by New River Community Action, based in Christiansburg, the program provides families and individuals in immediate, temporary, and emergency situations with food and shelter. Donations from community members and local organizations support several different initiatives.

Food, clothing, and household goods donated to the MCEAP are distributed to individuals who qualify for the assistance free of charge.

Montgomery County Emergency Assistance Program building

Additionally, through the financial assistance fund, which assists people who are struggling to pay their rent and utility bills. Payments are made directly to the vendors on behalf of the individual and often make the difference between families having a place to live and heat to keep them warm during the winter months.

Since the program was founded in 1975, the program has helped more than 142,000 county residents with food, clothing, and financial assistance and Virginia Tech employees are helping make it all possible.

In 2012, 80 Virginia Tech employees donated more than $13,000 directly to the Montgomery County Emergency Assistance Program through the annual Commonwealth of Virginia Campaign (CVC).

Lead Community Service Worker Melissa Poindexter has always been passionate about this cause and loves knowing that she is making a difference in people’s lives. Her favorite part of working with this program is meeting all types of individuals.

“A lot of the individuals are in emergency situations – either they are homeless, have no food, or their power has been cut off. They are always extremely grateful and thankful for the help that we provide,” said Poindexter.

Volunteers and donations are a huge part of what allows this program to exist.

“We couldn’t do what we do without volunteers and donations, there is no way. All of our volunteers are great people and really advocate for our program in their day-to-day life,” said Poindexter.

Please consider donating to any of the 1,000 charities participating in this year’s Commonwealth of Virginia Campaign. The online CVC Pledge System enables salaried Virginia Tech employees to make fast, easy, and secure donations via payroll deduction. All donations are tax deductible, as allowed by law.

First published on October 15, 2013.

Written by Nadia Groome, a junior majoring in communications at Virginia Tech.