SEARCY, Ark – El Puente Hispanic Services Center was the recipient of four grants during 2020, each for specific programs and services that the Center provides, according to Ruth Simpson, executive director.

El Puente is a local nonprofit organization which provides services to Spanish speakers in the Searcy area.

A $1,500 Giving Tree grant enables the Center to establish a membership system, providing clients with a photo ID card. The card will be helpful to local Spanish speakers in a variety of ways, both at El Puente and throughout the community. The project was made possible in part by a grant from the White County Community Foundation, an affiliate of Arkansas Community Foundation.

A $750 Youth Advisory Council grant enables the Center to provide tutoring services to Spanish speaking students in the local school system, helping them with their school work as well as their English language acquisition. The YAC is made up of local area high school students who raised funds for the grant, which is funneled through the Arkansas Community Foundation.

A $1000 Arkansas Delta Endowment for Building Community grant provided funds for the COVID-19 emergency, directly assisting families who temporarily lost jobs. The mini-grant was provided by the Arkansas Community Foundation.

A $1,500 Catholic Charities of Arkansas grant provided funds for developing and printing a directory of local services in Spanish for families to use to assimilate into the Searcy community. The booklet contains information such as how to locate housing, how to license a car, how to enroll children in the local public schools, what doctors and medical clinics are available that provide reduced price services, which local businesses cater to the Hispanic market, options for internet and television providers, churches that provide Spanish speaking services, grocery stores that stock food familiar to Hispanics, insurance agencies, local phone service providers, parks, how to establish service with local utility companies, banking options, Post Office locations, and many other services.

Arkansas Community Foundation is a nonprofit organization that fosters smart giving to improve communities. By making grants and sharing knowledge, the Community Foundation supports charitable programs that work for Arkansas and partners to create new initiatives that address the gaps.

The mission of Catholic Charities of Arkansas is to serve with dignity and respect persons who are poor or marginalized; to advocate on behalf of the most vulnerable; and to actively promote charity, justice and the sanctity of life in the Church and in the community.

El Puente Hispanic Services Center is a faith-based, nonprofit organization serving the needs of Spanish speakers through a variety of services to improve their quality of life and acclimation into the community.

“We appreciate the confidence expressed in El Puente by these organizations which have provided funds for these much-needed projects,” said Jay Simpson, El Puente board of directors’ president. “The needs are very real in our community and these are challenging times.”