A community assistance association meeting resulted in changes to committee bylaws Tuesday night.

Pontotoc County Assistance Association, formerly known as Ada Community Assistance Association, committee members voted to change the association’s name to reflect their service to a wider area than simply the city of Ada.

The association was formed in February 2011 when Ada Ministerial Alliance members along with area churches and charitable organizations decided to coordinate efforts to help the impoverished in the area.

“We’re moving ever closer toward identifying the needs of the people stuck in a cycle of poverty and helping them in every way we can,” said PCAA President Ken Angel.  “We’re finding ways to build bridges out of poverty.”

In addition to changing the association’s name, PCAA committee members voted to move from two meetings per year to one meeting per year in March with the provision that special meetings may be called by PCAA’s president as necessary.

The election of three at-large committee members was on the agenda for the evening. Edwina Lowery was reelected while James Jackson and David Cobb were added to the roster of at-large members.

Committee members discussed a program called Charity Tracker, which can help the different agencies involved coordinate their efforts to help clients, prevent abuse of the system and keep track of clients who have abused the system in the past.

“There’s some abuse going on,” said Ada Regional United Way Executive Director Latricia Bryant.  “We don’t want to punish people for abusing the system. We want to try to correct their actions and send them in the right direction.”

With proper use of the Charity Tracker system, she said agencies can find out where a client has received assistance and what the client needs. Agencies can also see the value of what they’re providing with Charity Tracker.

Of the services currently provided and tracked by agencies participating in PCAA, Bryant said over $60,000 has been utilized to help move the impoverished toward sustainability.

“If we would all start using the clearing house and Charity Tracker, that would get us all on the same team,” Angel said.

The clearing house for PCAA is the Salvation Army in Ada. Angel said that’s where potential clients are sent first in order to coordinate help the association provides.

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