Northwestern Ohio Community Action Commission, Inc. is proud to be an active partner in the national Community Action Partnership network. The Community Action Partnership is made up of more than 1,100 local, private, non-profit and public agencies that have been working to alleviate poverty and empower low-income families in communities throughout the United States since 1964. Our organization was established in 1965 as a private, non-profit social service agency and has been actively serving the citizens of Defiance, Fulton, Henry, Paulding, Van Wert, and Williams counties for over 45 years.
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In March, Northwestern Ohio Community Action Commission (NOCAC), with the support of local businesses, caterers and partner organizations, hosted the 2015 Hunger Banquet in Williams County. This banquet was not your typical fundraising event but instead, it was an experience to remember. As guests arrived, they were greeted by individuals holding cardboard signs—not signs that directed them to the venue or the parking lot, but signs that said, “homeless veteran,” “will work for…” and “I used to be someone you could talk to.” A family of four stood next to their truck, with two young teenagers huddled in blankets watching their parents politely ask nearly 200 guests if they could spare some change. Some offered help, though many did not.

 A lucky, or unlucky, roll of the die directed guests to their dining area for the evening that ranged from upper-class to poverty. The wealthy were seated at elaborately decorated tables complete with shrimp appetizers and steak dinners while those in poverty were greeted with tables made of pallets and tarp table cloths. The homeless and lower-class watched the wealthy and upper-middle class enjoy steak, chicken and even envied the lower-middle class’s bologna sandwiches while they waited to find out if the soup kitchen would open before the end of the evening.
The Hunger Banquet did not attempt to simply explain what poverty is like, it let guests experience it first-hand. Like a game of chance, families were thrown from the upper-class to lower-class or further when, during the evening, they lost their jobs, got sick, or in one case, were even widowed.
“My husband always took care of everything for me. I didn't know about insurance or that we didn't have any…”

“I worked long hours driving a truck... I fell asleep at the wheel… (sobbing)… I didn't mean to hurt anyone; I just wanted to provide for my family.”

“I invested everything in that company. Then came the depression… then the addiction… I lost everything I had ever worked for…”
Guests also heard stories of success. Stories of families receiving intensive case-management, securing housing, overcoming their addictions, finding help for their mental illnesses, and overcoming odds and obstacles by getting accepted into college despite being moved from foster home to foster home. Many stories of those helped by Northwestern Ohio Community Action Commission (NOCAC) and The PATH Center illustrated the effectiveness of Community Action and how creative solutions are effective in alleviating poverty. NOCAC administers locally controlled programs, creates partnerships and helps low-income families and individuals across six rural counties in Ohio while on their path to self-sufficiency.  The Hunger Banquet was an event to remember and just one of the ways NOCAC works to change the story of poverty in Ohio.

Be sure to check out our video of NOCAC’s 2015 Hunger Banquet! Are you interested in hosting your own Hunger Banquet? Contact Angie Franklin at  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  for more information.

Note:  This article was written by OACAA's Communications Director Kathryn Clausen and was reprinted from OACAA's blog. Kathryn has over a decade of nonprofit experience with nearly six years spent directly in the Community Action Network. She manages OACAA’s public relations efforts, member newsletter, webs.

Join Us For Food & Fun This Summer

 Fun activities and delicious healthy meals are included in the plans for this year's Summer Food Service Program (SFSP).  The program will run June 8th through August 13th in Defiance, Fulton, Henry and Paulding Counties and June 9th through August 13th in Williams County.   

The SFSP provides free, nutritious meals for all area children ages 1-18 or to age 21 with an IEP.   NOCAC is sponsoring thirteen locations this year:  Bryan, Defiance (5), Edgerton, Napoleon (2), Paulding, Pioneer, and Wauseon (2).  


Read more: 2015 Summer Food Program

In 1965, NOCAC was incorporated as a non-profit social service organization designated to serve the citizens of Northwest Ohio. This year, we are proud to have reached our 50th year milestone.  We look forward to many more years of continued service to our community as we continue to guide families to become more successful and self-sufficient.

The Northwestern Ohio Community Action Commission Head Start and Early Childhood Education programs are now recruiting preschool age children for the 2015-2016 school-year.  Our family oriented curriculum is created to promote school readiness for young children while our child friendly centers are designed to provide a positive learning environment.  Along with meeting the educational and socialization needs of preschool children, Head Start provides support to families as they work to achieve their goals.

Read more: School Readiness Begins With Preschool. . .

The NOCAC Child Development program recently hosted Spring Family Fun Night for students and their families.  Four events were held: Defiance & Paulding Counties, Fulton County, Henry County and Williams County. 

The Parent Information Expo portion of the event focuses on providing parents with innovative ideas that help build communication skills, promote health and wellness, and fosters cooperation between the parents, family members, and Child Development staff.  The program also includes family oriented fun activities designed to stimulate students’ educational growth in their homes. 

Read more: Family Fun Night

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Important Dates  

05/04/15 - Policy Council Meeting @ NSCC
05/14/15 - Board of Directors Meeting @ 6pm
05/25/15 - Offices Closed for Holiday

06/11/15 - Board of Directors Meeting @ 6pm



How We Help...


Choices That Shouldn't Have To Be Made - My husband has experienced serious health problems over the last few years, If it weren’t for the HEAP program , we would have had to choose between electricity or medicine.  It’s one thing to get help; however, it’s another thing to  get help and not to be made to feel like a number or even more depressing and worthless.  NOCAC staff was warm and friendly when I needed it. Thanks! (Direct Client Quote)

You Made It Great - You have made this (Head Start) year wonderful for us and I couldn't tell you just how much you are appreciated.  You go above and beyond your duties with families. (Direct Client Quote)

Employees Who Care -  For those of us that find ourselves in a position of need, especially since I used to be able to just work and meet my own needs, it is hard to ask for help and also hard to be looked at as if somehow we are “less” because we are not able to provide for ourselves all of the time.    But at no time have I felt that way with anyone I have come across in the weatherization program so to simply say “THANK YOU” sounds so small compared to what I feel inside.  The crew will always be in my thoughts because to me they went above and beyond what was asked of them and they did it with such kindness!  (Direct Client Quote)

  455 $162,151
Henry 421 $185,269
Paulding 519 $210,803
Van Wert 452 $116,842
Williams 480 $184,014
Other 13 $4,366
TOTALS 3008 $1,059,952

2014 By the Numbers...

10,380 meals were served and 206 homeless individuals (149 households including 39 children) were provided shelter at the Richland Place/PATH Center

106 households received weatherization services through the Home Weatherization Assistance Program

1,017 households received free income tax preparation with the assistance of volunteer counselors from the Ohio Benefit Bank

490 children and their families were served in the Head Start program

15,502 nutritious lunches were served to 1,909 children through the Summer Food Service Program

30 individual Development Account enrollment slots were funded and 6 money management workshops were held

1,857 applications for assistance to needy households were processed in our 6 county service area

97 households were assisted through the Homelessness Prevention & Rapid Re-housing Program

9,458 utility payments (heating & cooling) were made to area vendors for households in our 6 county service area

29 households received energy efficiency measures that were funded by the Toledo Edison Community Connections Program

21 households received energy efficiency measures funded by the American Electric Power program

How We Help...


A Family's Support System - The Head Start Program gave me free education for my child.  We would be struggling to pay preschool tuition without the program.  Head Start has been such a god-send to our family.  We have been through a lot in our lives.  I had some bad family times and Head Start always helped me when needed.  They always understood my needs and my children’s.  The teachers are absolutely amazing and so supportive of the family.    We love and cherish the program and the effort behind it. (Direct Client Quote)


A Hand Up - I would be going without the basics of life without this program.  Maybe forced to use a payday advance system which would make matters worse.  I am middle aged with a disabled spouse.  I lost a full-time job of 28 years that paid $18/hour and now work a part-time minimum wage job.  The CAC has been a godsend to help us through the tough times of our lives. They have provided information and direction on outside resources.  The staff are professional and friendly.  They're a HAND UP not a HAND OUT.  Thank you for your services. (Direct Client Quote)

Northwestern Ohio Community Action Commission, Inc. (NOCAC) is one of 50 community action agencies in Ohio. NOCAC is a private, non-profit corporation organized in 1965, as part of the "War on Poverty" by a group of local citizens who became our first Board of Trustees. NOCAC'S function was then, and is now, to plan, develop, and coordinate programs and services designed to help predominantly low-income people in Defiance, Fulton, Henry, Paulding, Van Wert, and Williams counties become more self-sufficient. NOCAC provides services from several locations within our six county area.  A brief explanation of these services is available in this brochure.  To learn more about Community Action Agencies in Ohio, please click here.

NOCAC does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, age or disability in employment or the provision of services.