The beginning of the Adams and Franklin County area’s own South Central Community Action Programs, Inc., started in the nation’s capital when Congress passed the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964. This act created Community Action Agencies to combat poverty and its problems throughout the United States and to allow those who had little input in policy decisions to become a part of that process.
The local Community Action Agency was first called the Adams County Community Action Agency; it came into existence in 1965 in a two-room office of the Topper Building, which was the annex of the Adams County Courthouse. Organized as a separate unit of the Adams County Council of Community Commissioners. Its original purpose was to establish a sheltered workshop to provide work training for physically and mentally handicapped individuals. Its original incorporators were Dustin Shaw of New Oxford, Wilbur Plank of Gettysburg, Francis Coulson of Biglerville, George Inskip of Fairfield and Oscar Spicer of Hunterstown.
The group’s first purpose was to disclose the specific needs of the handicapped and underprivileged people of Adams County. This group discovered that their needs were not being met by any existing agency in the county. An application for federal funds was then prepared by George Inskip, the county superintendent of schools. A 25-member Board of Directors proceeded to hire Richard V. Emerson as its Executive Director, Shirley A. Chambers and Doris Borneman. Under its first grant in the amount of $15,000.00 the staff set about organizing administratively, conducting more program surveys to determine the needs of the underprivileged in the county and the program best suited to deal with the causes of deprivation in Adams County. The surveys uncovered the problems of poor housing, underemployment, low education levels, lack of neighborhood facilities, lack of programs for youth and limited knowledge of available services. Hamiltonban Township, Berwick Township, Straban Township and Gettysburg Borough’s third ward were targeted as areas where the needs were more acute.
The staff of the fledging agency then began a thrust of community organization of the affected people in those areas. Four aides were hired whose purpose was to catch the community’s vibrations. In 1978 the Franklin County Commissioners approved the expansion of agency service to Franklin County to provide services to its low-income residents and the name was changed to South Central Community Action Programs, Inc.
From 1965 until today, SCCAP has been committed to helping families move out of poverty. The programs and services we have provided over the years have changed as the needs of our communities have changes but our mission "to fight poverty" has remained the same!
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