How We Address Systemic Poverty
To reduce the overwhelming prevalence of homelessness, extreme poverty and hunger within this Deep South region requires a broad, strategic and long term approach. Our commitment, for most of a century, has been to provide the programs and essential services that address some of the most pressing issues affecting those living in some of the poorest counties in America. The needs of this region are great, even overwhelming, but we do the best we can, with what little we have, to serve those most in need.
Our outreach area includes the Alabama counties of Butler, Dallas, Lowndes, Monroe, Perry and Wilcox, and New Orleans, Louisiana. Our work is made possible through the compassionate generosity of donors from around the country alarmed by the critical nature of this ongoing, deeply-rooted poverty. Our programs include:
Food is the most basic human need yet there are thousands of people suffering from hunger. We believe that no child, no senior citizen, no person should ever go hungry!
Our nutritional programs include:
- The Bosco Nutritional Center: serving hot, nutritious lunch and dinner meals 365-days per year
- Meals of Hope: delivering hot, nutritious meals to the homebound
- Ana Maria Food Kitchen and Pantry: serving hot and bagged meals
- Ana Maria Food Project and the Father Roger Food Pantry: providing food boxes
Shelter and clothing are two human necessities that protect, give a feeling of well-being and boost the will to live. Unfortunately for hundreds of individuals, families and veterans in our area they are homeless. Thousands more live in homes that are in a state of disrepair and in many cases partially collapsing.
In response, we provide emergency shelter for those:
- Displaced by a home fire
- About to be evicted from their residence
- Completely homeless
- Needing shelter during inclement weather
Additional services include providing:
- Small housing repairs
- Partial utility bill payment assistance
- New appliances
- School uniforms and clothing
- furniture, blankets, household items and personal necessities
For years, in poor medically underserved and geographically isolated rural areas, access to local healthcare was almost non-existent. Today more medical care programs and services for the poor are available on a local level yet gaps still remain that hinder the patient’s completion of care.
To help fill these gaps, based on demand, we:
- Purchase vital prescriptions that otherwise are unaffordable
- Coordinate transportation assistance to medical appointments
- Sponsor the HealthLinks program, providing medicine for those in need
- Sponsor the Doc In A Bus program, providing free healthcare to the uninsured
Food, shelter, and healthcare are all necessary for alleviating poverty but research shows that the most sustainable way to help a community improve its standard of life in the long run is to provide education for its residents.
- Preschool classes
- After-school programs
- Parenting courses
- Summer enrichment programs
Access to services and activities are important for our senior population, and helps minimize depression, loneliness, isolation and cognitive decline. Our Senior Activity Program is a multi-purpose resource dedicated to providing low income and vulnerable older adults in the community with a variety of free services to prevent isolation, promote independence, wellness, and an enhanced quality of life in a safe and friendly environment.
- Daily devotion
- Daily meals served at the centers
- Wellness programs and exercise classes
- Blood pressure checks, flu shots, hearing assessments and diabetes management
- Functional Fitness Assessments
- Support and discussion groups
- Information and assistance, such as understanding Medicare and insurance
- Referral and connection to appropriate community support services
- Education, computer and foreign language classes
- Financial literacy and basic planning programs, including AARP tax preparation and tax topics
- Social events, programs, monthly entertainment and birth-day parties
- Chess and bridge clubs