LaGrange Personal Aid to celebrate 100 years in Troup County
Published 8:30 am Saturday, January 28, 2023
On Sunday, Lagrange Personal Aid will celebrate 100 years in Troup County.
Executive Director Paul Stedman said the agency was started by the local leaders of LaGrange, including the Callaways, Dunsons, Burks, Quillians and more who got together and decided an organization was needed to give back and help residents in need in LaGrange.
The organization was originally named the LaGrange Welfare Association back in 1923. The name was changed to LaGrange Personal Aid in the late 60s.
“We had the files going back to 1930. It was interesting reading the files of traced families, all the way from the 30s through the 80s,” Stedman said. “There were all kinds of things about Personal Aid helping people through the Depression, giving people bags of coal, a ham, clothing, all through the years.”
While the origination won’t be doing anything to celebrate the milestone on Sunday — the official 100th anniversary — Stedman said some sort of celebration will be held in the Spring.
“For an agency to be around that long and helping so many people in LaGrange and Troup County is amazing,” Stedman said. “When you look back at 1923 and see how LaGrange and its people have grown, we’ve grown with them.”
LPA Secretary Tara Strickland said it’s exciting to know that LPA been around this long.
“One hundred years is a long time, and I’m excited for it to continue,” Strickland said.
Food Closet Coordinator Jennifer Tenney said she feels like it’s an exceptional achievement.
“Not a lot of businesses are around for that long period of time,” Tenney said. “To be so well known for 100 years, that’s pretty remarkable and exciting. We get to help people and to continue doing after so long is big.”
During the organization’s history, there had only been female directors before Stedman. He has been serving as executive director for 24 years.
Stedman said he is most proud of the organization’s association with the United Way, and the impact the agency has been able to make on the community.
“We’ve been part of United Way since the 40s,” Stedman said. “They provide the majority of our funding, and we’re very proud to be a United Way partner agency. We’re all a big family in United Way.”
In his 24 years as director, Stedman said the best part has been being able to help a person in need.
“When people come into the office and their power is shut off or it’s going to be shut off or they’re going be put out of their home or they’re hungry — the ability to take that burden off them is amazing,” Stedman said. “They’ll go out with a smile rather than when they came in looking like they have a ton of bricks on their shoulders.”
LaGrange Personal Aid offers various programs dedicated to helping those going through hard times. Some programs offered are SHARE & Round-UP, Interfaith Food Closet, Charles C. Maddox Veteran’s Assistance Program and the Personal Aid Program.
“This is a safe place for everyone in need of resources,” Tenney said.
Currently, the organization has been reaching out to local agencies to help those who have been impacted by the Jan. 12 tornadoes.
Stedman said they are working with the City of LaGrange and Diverse Power to help pay utility bills of those impacted by the tornadoes.
“While we may not be able to pay their whole bill, we want to be able to help whether it’s through utility, food, or whatever they may need that we can provide,” Stedman said.
For more information on LaGrange Personal Aid, visit http://www.lpaa.org/ or call 706 -882- 9291.