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ECCB makes big impact in the lives of struggling residents with free counseling, transportation.

The holiday season isn’t always a time for sparkling celebrations and cozy nights by the Christmas tree.

For those with financial woes and other personal struggles, the holidays can be an exceptionally lonely and stressful time.

Many Erath County residents are struggling to keep a roof over their heads, pay for fuel and put food on the table for their families, but a new program made possible by the Erath County United Way, has helped alleviate those burdens for many this year.

“With the Texas Health Resource Community Impact grant, Erath County Community Bridges is able to offer free counseling to individuals 40 and older that live in the 76401, 76402 and 76446 zip codes,” Sylvia Zamora, a navigation specialist with the program, told Beneath the Surface News.

Since June 2021, ECCB has referred 137 individuals for counseling.

"Many of those who chose to participate discovered their personal strengths and regained a sense of control and started enjoying the things that made them happy,” Sylvia said.

Counseling participants also received case management services, which includes help with resumes, job searches, assistance with driver’s license renewal, navigating social services and applying for SSI and SNAP food application.

“ECCB was able to offer counseling to an individual who uses a scooter and expressed that she missed going outside to watch her grandchild play. But since her house was not equipped with a ramp, she had to wait until a family member came home from work to assist her,” Sylvia said.

With grant funds, a ramp was installed at her home and now she is able to enjoy time with her grandchild.

“If you sincerely need help, reach out for it. It’s hard. I’m 52 and should be able to take care of myself, but we all need help,” one counseling patient said.

“I’m getting my hair and nails done again. I can now talk about my son’s passing; in the past I was not able to. I could not have done this without the help and support I received from Erath County Community Bridges. I now have a renewed purpose in life.”

The counseling program offers in-person, telephone or Telehealth options.

"Going to see a counselor for the first time can create anxiety or discomfort for some,” Sylvia said. "Telehealth counseling can alleviate that issue by allowing the patient to stay in a familiar, comfortable setting.

“Additionally, Telehealth allows the counselors to reach individuals that may have transportation issues or those who cannot travel due to a physical or mental disability.”

The ECCB staff has also been able to alleviate anxiety for residents by providing them with the help they need.

“We had an individual tell us that taking a shower caused her anxiety because she was afraid of falling,” she said. “We contacted one of our partner agencies and they were able to provide her with a shower chair. Although some might think this is not a big deal, it was monumental for the recipient.”

For those with transportation issues, ECCB has partnered with City and Rural Rides to provide individuals with 30 free one-way trips within Erath County.

If you or someone you know can benefit from the services offered by ECCB, give them a call at 254-965-4429.


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