Community Action E-Newsletter: September 2018

E-Newsletter: September 2018

Montgomery County Community Action Agency

Claudia Simmons at MacDonald Knolls Elementary School

Head Start/Pre-K Kick-Off New School Year

Community Action is excited to kick-off the 2018-2019 school year with our partners at Montgomery County Public Schools. This year, with the support of additional County and state funding, five part-day Pre-K classes expanded to full-day programs and two new Pre-K classes started in the County. A new Early Childhood Regional Center also opened at MacDonald Knolls Elementary School to serve 100 children. 

Registration is still open for MCPS Pre-K for the current school year. Please call 240-740-4530 or click HERE to learn more.

One More Month for VITA's Off-Season Taxes


October is the last month for Community Action's Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) off-season tax appointments. Appointments for prior year and amended taxes (2015-2017) are available in Silver Spring (Tuesdays, 1 - 4 pm) and in Rockville (Wednesdays and Thursdays, 11 am - 4 pm). Evening appointments are available in Rockville on October 17 from 5 - 8 pm. Please click HERE to schedule an appointment or call 240-777-1123. 

*VITA will begin scheduling appointments for the 2018 tax season (January - April, 2019) in December. Information will be posted on the CASHBACK website.

TESS site visit with state officials
County meeting with state officials

State Officials Visit TESS

On September 25, the Takoma-East Silver Spring (TESS) Community Action Center hosted representatives from Maryland's Department of Human Services, including Lauren Graziano, Acting Government Affairs Director and Greg James, Deputy Secretary of Operations; Michelle Bass (pictured above with agency staff) from the Department of Housing and Community Development; and Angela Cabellon, Montgomery County's Social Service Officer. The visit, which included stories of community members served by TESS, VITA and public and nonprofit providers, was part of a tour of County DHHS offices and allowed guests to see firsthand the impact the TESS Center has on the community. In FY18, TESS served 2,759 clients, providing information and referrals; summer meals, English classes, early childhood programs, senior socials, legal services, and much more.

*Lower picture - State officials met with Montgomery County DHHS leadership to discuss key priorities.

African American Health Program Health Data Summit

AAHP Data Summit Addresses Health Disparities in the County

On September 24, Community Action Board members and staff participated in the African American Health Program's (AAHP) Health Data Summit. AAHP is part of the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Community Affairs, along with Community Action, the Latino Health Initiative, the Asian American Health Initiative, and the County's Equity Initiative. The Data Summit highlighted many of the health disparities in the County and provided information on key health issues impacting African American residents, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and infant mortality. To learn more about AAHP programs and services, please click HERE.

Voter Registration Event

TESS Participates in National Voter Registration Day

On September 25, the TESS Community Action Center was proud to participate in the annual National Voter Registration Day. TESS partners with the Board of Elections to provide information about voting in Montgomery County and to help people register to vote. For more information about the upcoming election, voter registration, and how you can serve as an election judge, please click HERE.

Montgomery County Food Council

Food Council Seeks New Members

The Montgomery County Food Council is now accepting applications for new Council Members. The Food Council, of which Community Action is a member, works to address issues related to food security, food and the environment, and food literacy. To learn about the application process, please click HERE. Applications are due October 12.

CAA logo

Montgomery County 
Community Action Agency
1401 Rockville Pike, 3rd Fl

Rockville, MD 20852
240-777-1697 (main)

240-777-3295 (fax)

Community Action Partner Spotlight: The Weekend Bags Program

Food Bags

In 2014, the three major weekend bag providers in Montgomery County - Manna Food Center (Manna), Kids in Need Distributors (KIND), and Women Who Care Ministries (WWCM) - set a common goal of making weekend food assistance available at all elementary schools with a 50% or higher Free and Reduced Meals (FARMs) rate. One year later, the food providers achieved that goal and exemplified the value of sharing best practices, data, and setting mutual objectives.

With $150,000 in County funding for the 2016-2017 school year, and in accordance with the recommendations of the Food Security Strategic Plan, an additional 1,058 elementary school students were served, far surpassing the goal of 964 students. In FY18, an increase in funding was allocated by the County Council to enhance the program. Although the three organizations experienced a reduction in numbers in some of the schools served for various reasons, with the assistance of Linkages to Learning and MCPS leadership, all three programs had excellent outcomes. By the end of the school year, Manna had served 2,885 students in 58 schools, WWCM had served 1,387 students in 21 schools, and KIND had served 1,745 students in 21 elementary schools, a total increase of 980 students.

For more information about the Weekend Bag Program, please visit the websites of  Manna, KIND, and WWCM.   

VITA's Monthly Tax Tip: The Standard Deduction and Removing Personal Exemptions

Tax Tip

The Tax Cuts and Job Act made changes, including increasing the standard deduction: $12,000 for singles, $18,000 for heads of households, and $24,000 for married couples filing jointly ($12,000 if filing separately). No one will receive a personal exemption. Since these changes may affect your tax liability, it is important for you to use the IRS Witholding Calculator for your “paycheck checkup.”

VITA Program Seeking Volunteers for the Tax Season


Community Action's VITA program is recruiting volunteers to serve as tax preparers, site coordinators, quality reviewers, greeters, schedulers, interpreters, and food resource navigators. Volunteers receive free training and positions are available at sites throughout the County. Volunteers must be at least 18 years old. 

To complete an application, please click HERE. To learn more, please email the VITA program or call 240-777-1123.