By Charles Pritchard, Oneida Daily Dispatch www.oneidadailydispatch.com
Canastota, N.Y. — Drivers revved their engines for the Community Action Partnership of Madison County’s second annual Road Rally Saturday.
“CAP is certainly helping to build a stronger community here in Madison County,” Congressman Anthony Brindisi, D-22, said. “Whether it’s early childhood education, housing or food assistance programs, it’s very important we support organizations like this because they’re dealing with our most vulnerable populations.”
On Saturday, May 18, the Road Rally fundraiser invited residents to come out with their cars and ride through Madison County, all while participating in a scavenger hunt for a chance to win a prize basket.
One driver said CAP staff put in work to make the scavenger hunt harder than last year, with clues getting more cryptic the further into the drive participants were.
The route takes drivers around Madison County, from Chittenango and Cazenovia to Canastota and Wampsville. Brindisi was invited to wave the checkered flag, kicking off the rally.
But before that, residents were given a quick tour and shown the variety of the services offered by CAP and what the future holds.
A number of displays offered residents a look into various CAP programs and its participants, such as the youth mentoring program, early Head Start, and supportive services, to name a few.
Brindisi said he’s appreciative of early childhood education programs, saying they help put a person a path for a better future.
“We’re always looking for what else we can add to the list of services,” CAP Executive Director Antara Mitra said. “We just started a coaching program called ‘Getting Started.’ We help people develop soft skills and get employment.”
Mitra said the six-week class teaches people not just how to get employed, but how to stay employed. This is accomplished by teaching communication skills, how to work collaboratively, public speaking and other skills needed in the new modern-day economy, Mitra said.
While being shown around the office, Brindisi got a look at the housing behind the CAP office in Canastota, used for the transitional housing program.
On the CAP website, a client by the name “Heather” said she moved into transitional housing on Feb. 16. “Community Action helped with not only housing, but clothing, birth certificates, referrals, rides, advocating, and so much more,” she said. “I wouldn’t be where I am now if it wasn’t for this program.”
Without a homeless shelter in Madison County, it’s up to agencies like CAP to help, whether it be transitional housing or a pair of mittens for the winter.
“It’s vitally important,” Brindisi said. “We’re seeing an uptick in homelessness all over the country and in our backyard. And we want to make sure we have the resources on the ground to assist people and help them get back on their feet.”
To learn how to donate, volunteer or apply for CAP programs, visit https://capmadco.org or call 315-684-3144.