HCHRA Partners to Provide Energy Assistance to Mississippians in Need

JACKSON, Miss. – As the number of Mississippians struggling to pay bills continues to grow, those who can provide help are coming together to get aid to as many of these low-income and newly-poor people as possible.

The result is the Energy Assistance Fair, a one-stop shop for Mississippians in need. Here, representatives from community action agencies, utilities and non-profit groups will help people sign up for bill payment assistance and credit counseling; teach them how to save money on utilities and give them free weatherization kits, CFL light bulbs, energy efficient power strips and more.

Hinds County Human Resource Agency is one of a number of participating organizations including United Way 2-1-1 Mississippi, Atmos Energy, Centerpoint Energy, Entergy Mississippi, Inc., Mississippi Department of Human Services, Madison County Citizens Services Agency, Rankin County Human Resource Agency, South Central Community Action Agency and The Salvation Army.

“The Energy Assistance Fair came about as we re-designed our annual Low-Income Summit,” said Napoleon Johnson, vice president of customer services for Entergy Mississippi, Inc. “Usually at the Summit we talk about ways to address the problems poverty causes. This year, we are kicking off the conference with an event designed to put those who can offer help in touch with those who need that help.

The event, free and open to the public, is on Wednesday, May 23, from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. at the Jackson Convention Complex on Pascagoula Street in downtown Jackson.

The Energy Assistance Fair is a part of Entergy and the Mississippi Association of Community Action Agencies’ (MACAA) revamped Low Income Summit and Partnership Conference, now in its 13th year. Re-titled, “Positioned for Progress,” this joint conference features statewide leaders from Mississippi’s non-profits, government agencies, foundations and volunteer organizations will be held May 23 through May 25.

Hinds County Retirees Making a Difference

Pictured left to right: Dexter Hogan, Retired Senior Volunteer Program Coordinator, Morris Bozeman of Terry, MS, Eula V. Polk of Terry, MS, Kenn Cockrell, President & CEO of HCHRA, Ethel Minnifield, Assistant Vice-President of Community Programs and Services for HCHRA, and Robert Morton, Vice-President of Community Programs and Services for HCHRA

The Hinds County Human Resource Agency (HCHRA) hosted its annual Senior Thanksgiving and Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) Awards Luncheon on Thursday, November 11, 2010, in the Thad Cochran Community Room at the Jackson Medical Mall. One hundred seventy nine seniors were honored for their service to community and faith-based organizations.

“As long as you can do something that can help somebody, the Lord will bless you. When God blesses you, He blesses you to bless somebody else. You live to help somebody else,” said honoree Eula V. Polk of Terry.

RSVP helps individuals age 55 and older identify volunteer opportunities where they can serve up to 40 hours a week. Tutoring children in reading and math, building houses, helping get children immunized, modeling parenting skills to teen parents, participating in neighborhood watch programs, planting community gardens, providing counsel to new business owners, offering relief services to victims of natural disasters and helping community organizations operate more efficiently are some of the services the volunteers provide.

“RSVP volunteers within the Jackson Metro area have been and will continue to be champions in solving problems in our community, and for this we will always be thankful,” said RSVP Coordinator Dexter Hogan.

For more than twenty-five years, RSVP has been vital in communities throughout the US. Today, more than 450,000 retirees and seniors participate in this program, making it one of the largest volunteer efforts in the nation.

Local Community Action Agency Honors Staff

HCHRA Honors Staff at 2010 Annual Appreciation Luncheon

The Hinds County Human Resource Agency (HCHRA) 7th Annual Employee Appreciation Event. Pictured are HCHRA employees who received 20-year service pins. Front row from left to right: Josie McDonald, Jennice Washington, Francine McGowan, Johnnie Mitchell and Ettress Robinson. Top row from left to right: Addie Hooks, Carl Davis, Mary Marshall and Deloris Jones.

The Hinds County Human Resource Agency (HCHRA) recently held its 7th Annual Employee Appreciation Event at the downtown Jackson Marriott Hotel. Of the Agency’s 395 employees, 375 were on hand as fellow coworkers received special recognition for years of service, leadership, educational advancement, perfect attendance, and public service. Other awards included the Board of Directors and Staff of the Year.

“The employee appreciation is a great event to let those that labor with the agency know they are appreciated and recognized for their tireless service. We are fortunate to work for an agency that changes lives every day, and we are even more fortunate that our troubled economy has not negatively impacted our efforts,” said Carolyn Upkins, HCHRA Personnel Specialist.

HCHRA has been able to hire 83 new employees since January 2010. Businesses have been downsizing and cutting spending. Yet, HCHRA has found ways to show its employees how much they are valued.

“The agency can never fully repay employees for all they give, but through this event a level of gratitude was shown. There is a sense of pride associated with individuals employed by our agency, and they show it each day through dedication and loyalty. This Employee Appreciation Event awarded their commitment,” said Kenn Cockrell, HCHRA President and CEO.

For more information about HCHRA and employment opportunities contact Central Office at 601.923.3930.

HCHRA Awards Clients and Community Partners at 2010 Annual Gala

Hinds County Human Resource Agency hosts 16th Annual Awards and Recognition Banquet

Bootstrap Awardees Left to right: Willie Mae Dennis, Shameka Grace, Carolyn Ranson, and Marcey Jones - Not Pictured: Stephanie Green and Justin Ficklin

Jackson, MS – With more than 500 people in attendance, community and business leaders and area citizens gathered for the Hinds County Human Resource Agency’s (HCHRA) 16th Annual Awards & Recognition Gala, held at the Hilton Jackson Hotel on September 17, 2010.

Shameka Grace, Marcey Jones, Carolyn Ranson, Willie Mae Dennis, Stephanie Green, and Justin Ficklin have all overcome significant life obstacles and were each presented the HCHRA Bootstrap Award. Each year, this award is given to individuals who have beat the odds and pulled themselves up by their own proverbial bootstraps.

The following awards were also given in recognition of community service and agency support: Medgar Evers Humanitarian Award (Dr. Bill Cooley); J.B. Carr Community Service Award (Robert Langford, Willie Martin and Shirley Tucker); Volunteers of the Year Award (Dr. Tony Webster, Nicole Martin, Gloria Green and Cedric Morgan); Agency Support Award (Peggy Calhoun); Bill Cooley Agency Development Award (Lolita Ross); Board of Directors Award (Tamara Young); and Betsy Morgan Smith Award (John Lunardini).

Gary Anderson, President and CEO of The Anderson Company, LLC, moderated the program and Dr. Bill Cooley, Chairman of Systems Companies, was the keynote speaker. Dr. Cooley’s message entitled “How to be a Social Entrepreneur” captivated the audience. He encouraged attendees to “support local businesses” and “mentor local youths to be effective leaders in Jackson communities.” Entertainment was by Christa Bennett, local contemporary gospel artist and HCHRA employee, and the JSU Jazz Trio.