A Generational Passion for Community Action: Q&A with Impassioned Volunteer of Christian Community Action (CCA)
We sat down with First Rate Products Fulfillment Manager Tricia Duffy to discuss her role, involvement, and passion for Christian Community Action (CCA).
With a passion for the mission of the organization, Tricia has been a dedicated volunteer at CCA since 2017 to help continue the legacy of the organization. Located in Lewisville, the organization has grown tremendously over the past 47 years. Read the Q&A to learn about the driving forces behind the impact of CCA and what continues to inspire future growth.
Q: When did the journey of Christian Community Action (CCA) start, by who, and why?
A: In February 1973, my parents, Tom and Sally Duffy, were members of a bible study group with 5 other people and they were studying the meaning of love. Their conclusion was that love meant action, so Christian Community Action was born. My father took the reins and lead the organization for over 30 years as its President and CEO.
Q: Can you give a brief overview of what the organization does?
A: Since 1973, CCA has been healing, feeding, and educating families in need. Its Mission Statement is: In the name of Jesus Christ, Christian Community Action ministers to the poor by providing comprehensive services that alleviate suffering, bring hope, and change lives.
Q: What prompted you to get involved in the organization?
A: I was involved as a child because my parents volun-told (as opposed to volunteered) me for various duties. As I grew older, got married, and had children of my own, we were involved with CCA as time and the budget allowed. But it wasn’t until my father died in February 2017 that I felt a true tug at my heart from the Holy Spirit to get more engaged. I wanted to ensure that his legacy in this area would continue.
Q: What is your favorite aspect of the organization?
A: The food pantry is my favorite area of CCA. It was very important to my father that a person’s dignity be protected. With that in mind, the pantry was set up to mimic a small grocery store, giving each person the everyday control to select the food that meets their family’s preferences. Many food pantries will distribute pre-packed bags/boxes of food which might not line up with the family’s tastes. That experience can damage a person’s dignity and cast a shadow on the parent’s role as a provider. He wrote, “everything we (CCA) do must honor his/her role as parent and provider. If the children should see us assuming those duties, we are doing more damage than we can imagine. To the greatest extent possible, children should be sheltered from any situation that compromises or challenges the parent’s success in his/her duties.” I appreciate the fact that my father considered more than just the physical needs of the people seeking assistance from CCA. A little side note – the people in need are referred to as ‘angels’ because CCA’s founders believed that they were sent from God, giving us the opportunity to demonstrate His love.
Q: How have you seen it evolve and grow over the years?
A: Over the last 47+ years, the growth has been amazing! What started as a small group of dedicated volunteers has grown into an organization of 19 staff members and more than 3,800 volunteers.
Q: How big is the reach of the organization?
A: Headquartered in Lewisville, Texas, CCA is one of the largest private nonprofits in North Texas to combat poverty. They serve communities throughout Collin, Denton, Dallas, Tarrant, and Wise counties.
Q: Does the organization partner with other organizations in the community?
A: CCA’s holistic continuum of care would not be possible without partnerships and collaborations that help enhance their scope of services and maximize community resources. CCA is one of 16 organizations actively participating in a Denton County Homelessness Coalition to combat homelessness in our community. CCA provides homelessness prevention and stabilization funds, while the other organizations specialize in street outreach, emergency shelter for the homeless, rapid rehousing, and homelessness prevention. CCA also partners with Denton County MHMR, Denton County Friends of the Family, Giving Hope, Grace Like Rain, Lewisville ISD, City of Denton, City of Lewisville, and the Salvation Army to provide and receive referrals to ensure the most comprehensive and accessible care for those in need. CCA is currently operating in partnership with Denton County United Way to provide tax support services to clients at no cost. CCA has also partnered with Experience Works, which provides 16 hours of weekly staff access to a job readiness advisor who provides support to CCA clients.
In addition, CCA has been a partner agency of the North Texas Food Bank (NTFB) for more than 20 years. CCA receives around 60-70% of the total food distributed to families from them and their resources. During the COVID crisis over the last several months, they have been instrumental in working with the USDA to help cover CCA’s needs. CCA is chair to the NTFB Advisory Board, which provides feedback and suggestions for the NTFB and its agencies. They have received numerous Agency of the Year awards from NTFB through that partnership. They also provided CCA a new walk-in refrigerator through a grant to allow CCA to increase fresh produce and perishable items to those we serve.
Q: Has First Rate contributed to the organization?
A: First Rate is such a generous company! Beginning in 2017, CCA created the ‘Tom Duffy Memorial Hopeful Hearts 5K & Fun Run’ to honor my dad’s contribution to our community and his passion for the poor. It has become an annual event (except for 2020), and First Rate has been the Presenting Sponsor every single year. Besides the event, First Rate grants each employee with ‘charitable dollars’ every year that can be used towards charities of their choice. This has allowed my coworkers to show their support for a cause that is close to my heart – allowing us to connect on a personal level, not just professional. Outside of financial support, First Rate also encourages its employees to be involved in the community by volunteering; the company even provides added days of PTO to cover this time away from the office. I’ve included a photo of me and my coworkers when we volunteered at the CCA food pantry and distribution center.
Q: What experience at the organization has made the biggest impact on you?
A: Every time I recall this memory and read the poem I am brought to tears, and it reminds me that even the smallest effort, given freely with love, has a big impact. Back in the late 1980s, CCA was assisting a family of four; a young couple with daughters who became homeless due to the loss of the father’s job. CCA provided support during this critical time, including the use of one of CCA’s housing units. With my dad’s help, the father secured employment in California. When my dad went to check on the family, they had already moved. The housing unit was left in an immaculate condition – leaving only an envelope on the kitchen table addressed to ‘Tom Duffy’. Inside was this poem:
“Did You Realize?”
Did you realize…the nails you nailed would not only hold together a wall, but also a marriage?
Did you realize…the floor you laid would not only embrace the foundation of the home, but also
embrace the feet of two baby twin girls?
Did you realize…the paint on the frame of the house not only touched the wood, but also our lives?
Did you realize…the refrigerator that you installed would not only feed our hungry stomachs,
but also our hungry souls?
Did you realize…that you did not just build a house, but you were the hands and heart of God
answering a family’s prayer?
Did you realize…the windows you installed would give a family the vision to see how they could
and should help others?
Most of all, Did you realize, your gift would keep on giving long after you gave.
Did you even realize?
Q: What is your vision for the future of the organization (growth or impact goals)?
A: My vision, my hope, and my prayer is that CCA can serve more struggling families and that the organization continues to be a leader to other non-profit organizations.
Q: How can people get involved?
A: If people feel led to get involved, I encourage them to donate, volunteer, connect with CCA on social media, serve on an event committee (such as the Tom Duffy Memorial 5K), and, of course, prayer!
You can also select CCA as your charity on smile.Amazon.com!
Goals and expected outcomes for CCA’s fiscal year:
- Rescue through financial assistance: Financial assistance services will help over 6,000 individuals and 2,000 families avoid eviction, foreclosure, or utility disconnection by providing housing stability counseling and financial support. Case Managers will conduct over 4,000 sessions.
- Rescue through hunger relief: The Food Pantry will receive 33,000 visits providing food to over 5,000 individuals and 2,000 families allowing them to avoid hunger by providing approximately half of their food, personal hygiene, and household needs each week.
- Relief to struggling families: CCA’s seasonal programs will distribute 58,000 meals to children of low-income households through our Kids Eat Free program, 1,100 children will receive backpacks and school supplies through our Back to School program, 2,000 children and teens will receive gifts through our Christmas Cheer program, and 2,600 meals will be provided to 100 seniors along with $20,000 in transportation through the Golden Angels program.
- Restore by providing essential life skills and job readiness programs to individuals: Assists clients in acquiring skills they need to achieve self-sufficiency through GED and ESL classes, vocational certification, computer skills, financial management, and job readiness totaling 10,000 service hours.
To learn more about CCA, visit our website: http://www.ccahelps.org/