ECCC is Almost 4 Years Old

Elder Care Community Council will be 4 years old this coming August. Martha Hodge, one of the founders and the first Treasurer of ECCC reminisces about the early days of  Elder Care Community Council and how the organization was formed. Martha states, “In the summer of 2016, I was alarmed to learn Liberty County staff were the providers of senior citizens services in Franklin County since no local provider was available. Why in the world could our county not find a way to be a provider of some limited opportunities to the senior population in Franklin County. I spoke to Bonnie Kellogg who arranged a lunch for me and Charles Elliot (Veterans services) and her.  The three of us shared concerns about the current system of services for aging persons.  That conversation led me to convene a group of citizens who had formerly been involved with services but had become sufficiently discouraged to be engaged now.”  Martha became aware of the renovated Holy Family Senior Center building, owned by the City of Apalachicola, and continued to host small gatherings of interested citizens who might help with planning a countywide effort to improve services.  She also made visits to the Leon County program for elders to understand their operation and met with the staff and volunteers at the Senior Center in Carrabelle.  These early days also included meeting with Liberty County Senior Services and Area Agency on Aging of North Florida.The name, Elder Care Community Council, came about as Martha searched through the literature and talked with volunteers and tried to incorporate their ideas.  Her vision was a small operation that could be entirely managed by volunteers and that would have food security and social support as the goals of the organization.  Articles of Incorporation that would define our operation and set forth the purpose were written.  Realizing that some funding (donations) would be required, Martha approached Roberson Accounting to ask for assistance in applying for 501C3 non-profit status. Betty Jean Baker, of Roberson Accounting in Apalachicola, continues to provide accounting support for ECCC. In addition to the officers, a number of the original participants were elected as the Board of Directors, including, Donna Duncan, Charles Elliott and Sharon Sleeper.  All are still involved in the organization today.  Many of ECCC’s original volunteers are still active and dedicated to the mission to bridge the gaps for elders in Franklin County. The diligent work of all these early volunteers paid off as ECCC is alive and doing well, even through the COVID-19, with gratitude to volunteers and generous donations so that the work that was started 4 years ago can continue.  
The early days of ECCC focused on serving lunch daily at Holy Family Senior Center, delivering food pantry foods provided by Franklin County Food Pantry twice a month, hosting bingo, social activities and holiday celebrations and establishing a limited pantry which stocks products that are often needed by the elders.  The grounds have been improved by gardens – flowers, vegetables, and butterflies.  The City of Apalachicola also faithfully provides building maintenance and cleaning services are performed by the CareerSource workers.
Val Webb, recently elected President of ECCC, has stepped up along with old and new volunteers, in response to the Corona Virus.  Currently, participants either pick up “To Go” lunches or a very limited number are delivered to home bound individuals.  New volunteers are needed to continue these efforts.  Martha gives special acknowledgment to Bonnie Kellogg (Past President) and Betsy Nofziger (Secretary/Treasurer) stating, “they were indefatigable in their work in turning this organization into what must be called one of the most successful helping agencies in Franklin County. I am very happy to look back and to know that I had a small part in its beginning days.  My hope now is that the organization will continue to receive the support it deserves from the County Commissioners and the community.”
There is a Food Box Program, June 5, at 9:30 am at Tabernacle of Faith Int’l Ministries, 148 8th Street, Apalachicola.  Call Val Webb for more information at 850-370-0116.  If you know someone in need or you are able to support ECCC by volunteering or making a donation, please call 850-370-0116 or email us at ecccfranklin.org.  Like us on Facebook at ECCC-E Triple C.