Niagara Gazette — Susan Quirk never thought she’d need the help.
Then one day the avid distance runner was hit by a car. Her life was turned upside down. Her neck was broken and her spine was badly damaged. Formerly a successful hotel and restaurant executive, she was unable to work.
Worse, her three-level Pendleton home was heated by wood — never a problem when she was fit and trim. But after the accident, moving 12 cords of wood through the winter was impossible. And with a deeply reduced income, she knew she couldn’t afford to use her home’s electric baseboard heating.
Things were grim until she heard about the Niagara Community Action Program’s weatherization program. She applied for help and recently received a new gas furnace.
While she admitted the experience of asking for help was humbling, she said, “If I didn’t have that program, I don’t know what I would have done.”
You don’t have to be poor to participate in some of the many of the programs offered by the Niagara Community Action Program.
That usually surprises people. When they find out about all the ways the program makes life better for people in Niagara County, they are amazed.
Basically, this is how it works: if you have a problem, you go to one of the NCAP locations in Niagara County and someone will do their best to help you fix your problem. Any problem.
As the program celebrates it’s 50th year in Niagara County as a private non-profit agency fortified largely by federal funds, here are some of the thousands of people whose lives have been changed by their programs:
Chanita McDougald of Niagara Falls was finally able to open a professional daycare, despite the reams of daunting application. Through the guidance of her staffer, her home was inspected and outfitted for her daycare and she continues to receive support. “Every problem I had they always helped me out with a solution,” she said of NCAP. The result is a better life for the mother of three and her family. “This is a way to have a career, make good money for your kids. I wish I would have gotten into it sooner.”