Programs offer help to Knox Countians

Receiving help in Knox County is now easier than ever.

Discussed at the January 23 health coalition meeting were free programs available for Knox Countians to make everyday life easier. Among those programs are the Healthy Stops Transportation Program, Kentucky Nutrition Education Programs offered through Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Education and the LIHEAP Crisis Program for heating assistance.

Healthy Stops is a transportation program through WellCare and RTEC available to anyone in Knox County regardless of income.

“There are so many people right on the cusp [of the income guidelines] that need help, so we didn’t put any eligibility requirements on it,” said Morgan Kirk, community advocate with WellCare Health Plans.

Examples of non-billable transportation provided through this program include non-Medicaid covered medical appointments (picking up eye glasses), assessments related to mental health and substance abuse, WIC appointments, grocery shopping and school meetings in Knox County.

“It is really, truly fantastic,” said Rita Wood, resource center director at Girdler Elementary. “The ones who have WellCare…it will pay for them to go to the doctor or go to the eye doctor to have their vision checked, but it will not pay for them to go back and pick their glasses up. So, sometimes they’re getting the service but not getting the benefit of it.”

Through the program, participants can travel as far as Whitley and Laurel Counties if the services needed are not available in Knox County. To schedule a ride through this program, call 1-800-321-7832 at least 24 hours in advance.

Next, the Kentucky Nutrition Education Programs offered through SNAP targets low-income families and youth in Knox County. The program teaches participants how to save money on groceries, cook quick, easy and affordable meals, prepare healthy foods that taste great and how to increase overall health through food choices, among other skills. The program is conducted at the Extension Office. For more information, email kellie.miller@uky.edu.

Finally, KCEOC’s LIHEAP Crisis Program is a heating assistance program available to Knox Countians who meet certain income requirements. The program will continue through March 31 or until funds run out and applications are processed on a first come, first serve basis. Those who wish to apply for heating assistance can go to the Gray KCEOC office from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

For more information and for income requirements, visit kceoc.org and click the Programs and Resources tab at the top of the page or call 546-3152.

Other events announced at the meeting are as follows:

The Knox County Relay for Life event has received a facelift this year and will be a block party on Court Square. It will take place 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. on April 27.

KCEOC’s tax return program will begin later this week. To schedule an appointment, call KCEOC at 546-3152.

The Health Department will host a Health Fair from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on March 23.

The next Health Coalition meeting is scheduled for 10 a.m. on February 27 at the Health Department.