AppCAA, as a Community Action Agency, was created in 1964 as part of Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty. AppCAA began serving clients in 1965 and was instrumental in the development of Nicklesville Health Clinic and establishment of community centers in Clinchport, Copper Creek, Dungannon, Prospect and Yuma. The site in Yuma was in coordination with the Yuma Ruritan.
Initially, AppCAA served only Scott County and did not add Lee & Wise Counties and Norton until the 1980s and 1990s.
In 1968, AppCAA worked with Lee County Community Action, Inc., Scott County Grower’s Co-Op and Wise County AWARE to establish the Southwest Virginia Grower’s Cooperative, Inc. This company harvested, packed and marketed tomatoes, peppers and squash grown in the LENOWISCO Planning District. By 1970, the Grower’s Cooperative had 182 members and employed 50 workers during the operating season while it provided growers with supplemental income.
In 1969, AppCAA assisted the Fort Blackmore Ruritan Club and area residents to repair many roads that the state did not maintain. The youth enrolled in AppCAA’s Neighborhood Youth Corps program worked alongside residents fixing the roads.
In the 1970’s AppCAA worked very hard to not only attract business to the area for jobs but attempted to grow local businesses as well. AppCAA worked closely with the many partners in the Duffield Industrial Park to create a place that would be ideal for businesses willing to locate in our region. Additionally, AppCAA worked to establish a sewing factory on West Jackson Street in Gate City and, in 1986, donated labor to build the Phoenix Industries Sewing Factory in Dungannon.
The effort shown in AppCAA’s early years continues today. In 2001, AppCAA worked very closely with the Lonesome Pine Office on Youth and the Nicklesville Ruritan Club to repair a local historical treasure – the Bush Mill. The Appalachian Regional Commission recognized the merits of the program by awarding a $25,000 grant for the project. Not only was a historical landmark saved, area youth learned the value of hard work and their past.
AppCAA is still dedicated to serving low-to-moderate income people of the region and is currently looking to expand the number of services available to the residents.