In a crisis, Word of Life International may be able to help. The charity provides assistance across the greater South Bronx area, and they offer a wide array of last-resort services. If the faith based group can’t help, then referrals may be offered. Most of the aid is only offered as a last resort, and applicants should also have explored other charity programs or government services first.
The social services are wide ranging, and can be free food and clothing assistance as well as referrals to emergency financial aid. Staff from WOL have also worked hard to establish relationships with key partners, such as churches and even government officials.
The objectives of the Feed the Community Program are to provide a consistent source of low cost, healthy nourishment for South Bronx community members, including senior citizens. There is also help for children who are at risk of hunger. Partnerships are key to this, and it is done in order to furnish staples for the soup kitchen and food pantry. They also coordinate other services such as counselors for their education and referral programs, as many people seeking food could benefit from those services as well.
As part of this, they also provide referrals to needed community service or government programs and to serve as a check-point for those who are unable to seek out other human services. Much of this is offered in partnership with New York City’s Hunger Hotline.
Applications and information on the federally funded Food Stamp Program / Supplemental Nutrition Assistance is available. Word of Life International provides screening and assistance with completing the application process for this as well as the similar Women, Infants, and Children Program (WIC).
As this is being done, case managers will provide pre-screenings for various other social service and public aid benefits, such as section 8 or SSI disability, which are also available. Through these and other services, WOL offers a sustainable solution to food insecurity and provides comprehensive education and counseling services to guide clients toward greater independence.
The Kids' Cafe and Fruit Bowl Program is a collaboration between Word of Life and partners such as the City Harvest for New York City. Together they provide free nutritious meals in a safe and healthy environment to under-served low-income children, infants, and teenagers. Meals are served on a daily basis during the summer or holiday breaks as well, when free school-supplied meals or lunches are not available.
Staff also have a goal of creating a healthier South Bronx community by reducing diabetes, obesity and other nutrition-related ills that are too common among people facing poverty or low-income Bronx residents. This goal is met by the Nutrition Training program, which will equip families with the knowledge, skills, and tools needed to develop positive meal preparation and eating behaviors.
The agency will work with the entire family, including the children, to change unhealthy nutritional practices. Volunteers and counselors give them the skills, tools, and attitudes, through education in regard to selecting healthy foods at local supermarkets or pantries. There is also information on preparing nutritious meals, and stretching food dollars to avoid hunger.
People with medical or mental health challenges can get help from WOL as well. They provide outreach and referrals to those in the greater NYC community who are struggling with hepatitis, HIV/AIDS, heart disease and/or substance abuse-related issues. Available services include screenings, Onsite testing, referrals, and a number of workshops and seminars.
The goals of these programs are to stop the spread of preventable diseases, and offer education to all patients. Partners on this endeavor include Albert Einstein University Teaching Hospital, Bronx Aids Services, NYC Public Clinics, Harlem United, the National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS, the Latino Commission on AIDS and others.
To ensure that all lower income or immigrant residents in the community, regardless of economic or immigration status, have access to affordable and somewhat comprehensive health insurance, WOL works to tackle this challenge. This is done in partnership with private and public health insurance providers to help clients choose appropriate coverage and complete the enrollment process.
Emergency Clothing closet run by the agency distributes gently used clothing, free winter coats, shoes, and other necessary items to the needy, children, job seekers and homeless. There is items for people who are participating in any of their other social service programs, to ensure that each person’s basic needs are met, and to assist them in finding suitable employment.
Employment support is another resource available for clients of WOL. Working toward the ultimate goal of helping residents become self-sufficient and independent, The Word of Life International Partners with the Bronx Work Force 1 Office to provide services such as job screening and referral. The agency wants to provide a practical, informative solution for the unemployed. This involves furnishing education support, contacts, and skill-building sessions, in order to further each client’s job prospects.
The Immigration Services Program works to create a safe space for both refugees and immigrants to discuss issues experienced by the population. They can gain access information and referrals, and receive support in coping with the immigration process.
Operated in partnership with colleges, universities, public schools, Head start agencies, and other development organizations, WOL’s Youth Enrichment Program offers a warm, welcoming, and safe environment in which young people and teenagers from the Bronx have the opportunity to serve the community. As part of this, they will work with a mentor on developing leadership ability, and benefit from academic support.
The program organizes solutions for youth, including special needs students, to engage in positive and constructive activities that provide benefits both for the teenagers or children and for the Bronx community too. The goal of Youth Enrichment is to have a strong and positive impact on career aspirations and educational plans.
Senior Wellness can provide opportunities for adults aged 55 and over to stay active, make a positive impact on the community, and enrich their lives. Word of Life partners with the Cornell University Cooperative Extension and several other charity and non-profit organizations to offer weekly programming. Examples of the services include free health and nutrition classes, applications for Medicare, pantry services, health screening, meals, and volunteering or job placement.
Supporting the less fortunate, staff and volunteers of Word of Life International can be an effective resource for residents. The main address is 813 Westchester Ave., Bronx, NY 10455. Call them at 718-861-5678.
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