How to Help:
To volunteer or make monetary or other donations to MCSA, please call 563-264-3278 or go to http://www.mcsaiowa.org/#!how-to-help/c1u2t, where you will find a Needs List, along with an application for volunteers and other useful information. Please make checks payable to MCSA and send them to MCSA, 312 Iowa Ave. Muscatine IA 52761.
MCSA to Celebrate Big Anniversaries in 2016
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the organization that became Muscatine Center for Social Action. It is a celebration officials at the nonprofit organization are planning for later in the year, along with the 20th anniversary of MCSA’s shelter program, which will also occur in 2016.
“The services we offer are for people of every age,” said MCSA Housing Director Maggie Curry.
Few, if any, of those services would be offered to the hundreds of people served annually by MCSA if not for the community’s support.
“So many want to participate in whatever way they can,” Curry said. “We have had moms bring in their children because they want to help those in need. They bring in toys, canned goods, even bringing in a plate of cookies gives them a sense of helping.”
MCSA receives funding from the United Way of Muscatine and from federal, state and local grants. Still, it has always relied heavily on contributions from individuals, corporations, businesses and churches in the community.
It owes its beginnings to the contributions of a particular businessman. In 1991, Dick Maeglin bought the building at 312 Iowa Avenue after the Muscatine Community Y moved to its current location at 1823 Logan Street. He renamed the former YMCA the Heart of Hearts Building and kept it open in order to preserve housing for the handful of men who lived in the building’s 35 dorm rooms.
Over time, the board put in place to oversee the organization named it Muscatine Center for Strategic Action. Since then, the name has been changed to Muscatine Center for Social Action. Today, that organization offers programs such as:
Overnight/Emergency Shelter, which annually provides housing to more than 100 men from Muscatine County who are at least 18 years old. This shelter, in the gym at MCSA, is an affordable place for men who may have nowhere else to go and need somewhere to call home while they work to improve their lives.
Family/Transitional Shelter, which typically houses 150 to 200 Muscatine County women and children annually in an area that used to include the swimming pool during the building’s days as a YMCA. The area consists of nine private rooms and a communal area where women and children gather for meals, do their homework or watch TV.
Men’s Dorm, comprised of the 35 rooms that helped establish the organization 25 years ago. Today, the dorm rooms are 85 percent occupied by men who are at least 18 years old, have a verifiable monthly income and are looking for permanent supportive housing, which the federal government loosely defines as housing and services meant to help people challenged by homelessness, poverty, addiction, mental health and other issues. More than half of the 30 men who live in the MCSA Men’s Dorm are at least 55 years old.
Homeless Prevention Program, which was established in 2011 to help families on the verge of homelessness keep their housing. This often means helping the head of a household to find employment or better employment, which may often require obtaining some education. This program also helps its clients work out disagreements with landlords and/or other creditors. In 2015, the program worked with nearly 600 men, women and children from about 200 families.
Domestic Violence Shelter, which has been a part of MCSA’s programing since 2014. It helped more than 100 women and children in 2015.
Additionally, MCSA also provides space for the Loaves & Fishes meal program on Saturdays, mental health services, family therapy, a vision clinic for adults and the University of Iowa’s dental clinic for children from Muscatine and Louisa counties.
“MCSA is very appreciative of the support it receives from Muscatine County residents and businesses so that it can provide these services,” Curry said. “One important thing that I would like to encourage people to do is to call and set up a time to take a tour of the facility. Having just gone through the most giving time of year, the needs we have are there every day of the year.”