Thursday, 14 January 2021 15:03

Community Action When We Need It Most

By Megin Potter | Education

Photos provided.

"Thank God this community answered the call."

Jo Anne Hume was speaking recently about the community’s support of the services the Saratoga Economic Opportunity Council (EOC) has offered since last Spring when COVID changed everything. 

She could’ve been talking about any time during the past 55 years, however. 

Community support has always been the life engine of the Saratoga EOC, a non-profit organization that was founded as a result of the Economic Opportunity Act, passed in 1964, to help overcome the challenges of poverty by providing early childhood education, food, energy, family, and immigrant assistance services. 

Two and a half years ago, the Saratoga EOC, along with their Board of Directors, began reexamining their organization.

“We were looking at not what we do, or how we do it, but why we do it,” said Hume. 

After gathering input from their customers, donors, volunteers, and staff, the Saratoga EOC is proud to reintroduce themselves as LifeWorks Community Action. 

“Unlike many other organizations that came out of that Act, we never chose to change our name until now,” she said.

“Our new logo has this beautiful, radiating arch that speaks with hope about what we do. It’s communicating that we’re bright, vibrant, new, and committed to you.”

LifeWorks vision for a brighter tomorrow is reinforced with the tagline, “Help Starts Here.”

It’s also easier than ever to get the help you need - both within the LifeWorks network of services and beyond it - with their new universal intake portal.

Fill out just one application in their centralized system for early education programs including Head Start/Early Head Start, WIC, Weatherization, The Pantry in Ballston Spa, The Kitchen in Saratoga Springs, and more.

“We’re also helping you achieve your goals with mobility mentorships. You decide what’s important to you and your family, and we’ll walk beside you as you achieve those goals,” said Hume. 

Enrollment is down in LifeWorks Head Start and Early Head Start programs, but registration continues to be ongoing. 

With their classrooms at half capacity, they’ve also been offering remote learning to families, but it’s proven difficult.  They haven’t been able to increase the number of teachers they have, and providing computers and tablets only goes so far when those families also need internet accessibility. In addition, many of their students have special needs, which are tough to address remotely. 

Families, more than ever, need the food these programs offered and as the pandemic continues, LifeWorks is seeing this heightened need being met by a caring community.

“We wouldn’t have been able to stay open and do what we did at the height of the surge without a very devoted staff and a very devoted volunteer core asking, ‘What can I do to help?’ and then coming back day after day after day,” said Hume.

Partnerships with corporations including GlobalFoundries, SEFCU and MVP Health Care - as well as financial support from people donating whatever they could, who volunteer to pack and deliver food, and do any of the numerous other things that keep LifeWorks going  - are at the core of what really makes this organization work.

“The outpouring of support from this community is staggering.”

To learn more, visit, or call 518-288-3206.

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