Editor's note: The Erath County United Way is in the midst of its 2014 capital campaign. The organization is working to raise $275,000 that be used to benefit local agencies. As part of the fundraising effort, the Empire-Tribune is highlighting local beneficiaries supported in part by ECUW.

Texas Neighborhood Services (TNS) is a community action agency providing Children and Community Services to nine counties in North Central Texas. Two TNS programs, utility assistance for the elderly and Head Start/Early Head Start for children, received funds from the 2013 Erath County United Way Campaign.

Brad Manning, executive director of TNS, said, “The funds were used to pay for costs not covered by Federal monies. Head Start is funded only 80% by the federal government. The other 20% comes from local contributions such as the United Way. Without their support, we wouldn’t be able to operate.”

Created in 1965, Head Start is the most successful, longest-running, national school readiness program in the United States. It provides comprehensive education, health, nutrition, and parent involvement services to low-income children and their families. Head Start/Early Head Start program serves 1185 children in Palo Pinto, Parker, Erath, Somervell, Wise, Navarro, Hood, Jack and Johnson counties.

The Head Start program (for children ages three to five) and Early Head Start program (for pregnant women, infants, and toddlers) promote school readiness for children in low-income families by providing comprehensive educational, health, nutritional, and social services.

“Funds received from United Way help elderly and disabled citizen who have trouble paying their utility bills. TNS is able to provide utility assistance for electric, gas and propane,” Manning said.

This utility assistance to low-income elderly and disabled individuals helps those most vulnerable to the high cost of energy for heating and cooling needs. Services include utility payment assistance; heating and cooling system replacement, repair, and/or retrofit; energy education; and budget counseling.

For additional information, contact Manning at 817-598-5700 ext. 1150.