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Southwest Arkansas assistance programs.

Several churches, non-profits, and charities focus on helping the less fortunate and low income in this region of southwest Arkansas. Agencies will do what they can to help with rent, electric bills, food, and other basic needs. If you live in the following counties, including Columbia, Calhoun, Clark, Montgomery, Dallas, Hot Spring, Ouachita, Pike, or Union Arkansas, then look into these programs for help.

Central Arkansas Development Council, Inc. has several offices in the region. The locations are.

  • 321 Edison Avenue, Benton, Arkansas 72018, Telephone number - (501) 778-1133
  • 210 South Lee Street, Hampton, AR 71744, dial (870) 798-2457
  • 301 North 23rd Street, Arkadelphia, AR 71923, call (870) 246-8089
  • 210 East Main Street, Gurdon, Arkansas 71743, main number (870) 353-2095

Various assistance programs are administered. Some can provide financial assistance, and others may just provide information or social services.

Free Tax Preparation – The community action agency formed a partnership with the Internal Revenue Service in which both state and federal returns are completed for free. Also get advice on tax code items such as the Earned Income Tax Credit. Highly trained and certified volunteers and specialists prepare returns for free at centers that are convenient to taxpayers. This program is only offered for low income qualified individuals.




Head Start – Services offered include health and dental care, educational resources, nutrition, food and social services to children from low-income families. The program ensures children from low income families in SW Arkansas are ready to learn when transitioning to school. Parents can also get help from resources and social services, including job training.

Money Management and Individual Development Account – Credit counselors will help people become more financially self-sufficient. Programs can help with creating budgets, banking and credit repair. For every dollar the participant saves, the Central Arkansas Development Council matches it with a grant program. Money can be used for bills and expenses such as home repairs, help pay for college expenses, or to buy a home. Read more Arkansas credit counseling.





Electric and utility bill assistance from Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP. Apply for short-term financial/fuel assistance. Money can pay for summer cooling bills during the hot Arkansas summers too. The federal government Emergency Food and Shelter program also utilizes FEMA funds to help families pay energy bills. This federal program also offers electric bill assistance from a service such as NOW, which is just for Seniors and the Disabled through Project Deserve. This is for ENTERGY customers only. When funds and grants become available, NOW will assist with paying utilities for all income eligible customers.

Federal government funded weatherization is offered to Hot Spring and Union County Arkansas families. Make your home more energy efficient, and save money from the free Weatherization program. Qualified low income households can receive services such as wall and attic insulation, furnace retrofitting, weather-stripping of doors and windows, caulking and sealing cracks and holes, storm window installation, and other free measures and improvements to reduce the energy consumption in the home. Weatherization also offers home improvement services like weather stripping, sealing, caulking, and insulation to increase home energy efficiency.

The USDA Commodity Food program distributes canned food and groceries to needy households. Another option is the Summer Food Service Program, which provides low-income children in Columbia and Montgomery County Arkansas (as well as other nearby locations) with well-balanced and nutritious diets all the year, including in the summer. Various perishable items and emergency food boxes are distributed.

Single Parent Scholarship Fund is for single parents in southwest Arkansas. Grant money can pay for emergencies and help people overcome barriers that often keep single parents from attending school. Receive counseling, information on government loan programs, and referrals in the program as they continue their GED or college education.

Transportation is provided by Greyhound and the South Central Arkansas Transit (SCAT). Through this program, public transportation is available at a reduced rate to any person in this region of Arkansas, regardless of income. SCAT also provides non-emergency medical transportation across Lonoke, Montgomery and other counties.




To apply, or for assistance on any of these resources, dial Central Arkansas Development Council, Inc. at the numbers indicated above. Many other services are available as well. Read more Central Arkansas Development Council.

Financial assistance

Community Family Enrichment Center is located at 301 North 23rd Street, Arkadelphia, Arkansas 71923, phone (870) 246-5675. They run various energy bill savings programs. The non-profit can install energy conservation materials to lower the utility bills for homes of families with low income, including insulation of ceilings, replacement of broken windows, duct sealing, weather-stripping and caulking doors and windows. A limited amount of funds may be offered for paying electric or air conditioning bills.

Area Agency On Aging Of Southwest Arkansas – Services offered for seniors include home delivered meals, free food from a pantry, and transportation to medical and doctor appointments. The center also provides employment and job training for older adults and senior citizens. (870) 234-7410

The Salvation Army of Dallas and Fordyce County – The only financial assistance they provide is a small amount of utility assistance if someone is faced with a disconnection. Some services may be offered in a disaster situation too. 1202 West Third Street, Fordyce, Arkansas 71742, call (870) 352-5115

Camden and Ouachita County also has a Salvation Army center. Call (870) 836-8301. Similar resources as above are provided.

The Salvation Army, Columbia County Unit, provides assistance including assistance with rent and mortgage payments, money for utilities, and possibly vouchers for prescription medications. 601 East University Street, Magnolia, AR 71754, call (870) 234-2963 Click here for more details.

Camden Arkansas Grace Baptist Church offers the following. Call (870) 836-5382

  • Partial payment assistance for basic needs such as utility bills.
  • Food assistance is also offered to people within the community with limited income and an emergency situation.

Liberty Ministry Center – May have some funds for utility, cooling, and heating bills. Call (870) 862-8158

Ouachita Salvation Army Corp - Very limited resources are available, and they may occasionally have funds for utilities, possible loans for rent and other bills, food, and transitional housing. Some of this may also be provided by referrals to other non-profits in southwest Arkansas. Address is Camden, Arkansas 71701, call (870) 836-8301.

Saint Marys Episcopal Church, Interfaith Help Services is located at 512 Champagnolle Road, El Dorado, Arkansas 71730. Money for bills including gas, water, and electric. Priority is for those faced with disconnection. Call (870) 862-2294





South Arkansas Fights Aids (SAFA) supports HIV and AIDs patients, as well as their immediate families. Provides a food pantry and clothing closet for clients with HIV who are currently on disability. Also, as funding allows, provides financial assistance with paying rent and utilities for people with limited income. (870) 875-2099

Southwest Arkansas area food pantries

These locations provide food to struggling families and individuals in the community with limited income. Some centers may also deliver food or hot meals to those with no transportation or who are homebound.

Liberty Ministry Center, 1600 North Martin Luther King Boulevard, El Dorado, Arkansas 71731, call (870) 862-3063

Curry Chapel AMC Pantry – Strong, call (870) 797-7326

Cayces Charities, address is 315 South 2nd Street, Thornton, AR 71766, dial (870) 352-3104

Cedar Grove Baptist Church, Cedar Grove Road, Arkadelphia, Arkansas 71923, (870) 245-3794. Offers meals and food to the homeless and very low income.

Antioch Baptist Food Pantry, 1455 Hearn Road, Arkadelphia, AR 71923, dial (870) 245-3333

First Christian Church – Arkadelphia – Call (870) 246-7294

Park Hill Baptist Church, 3333 Hollywood Road, Arkadelphia, Arkansas 71923, main number is (870) 246-4802

Center Point Baptist Church, 1438 Highway 53 North, Gurdon, AR 71743, dial (501) 865-2298.

Compassions Foundation Incorporated Angel Food Ministries. Provides low cost food boxes. People can save up to 50% on the cost of food. Open to individuals of all income levels. (870) 235-1415

Briarwood Baptist Church – Lonoke County – Call (501) 605-1354

Firstcare. Dial (501) 941-7893 for details on this pantry and food distribution.

Loaves And Fishes, 201 N 2nd Street, Cabot, AR 72023, telephone number is (501) 743-8941

Mountain Springs Baptist Church – Cabot, 15669 Highway 5, Cabot, Arkansas 72023, telephone number is (501) 843-7132

Ownsville Baptist Church – Lonoke, Highway 31 North and Watson Lane, Lonoke, AR 72086, call (501) 676-2460

Fairview United Methodist Church - Good Samaritan Pantry provides social services, referrals limited financial help, food, clothing, and more. Main number is (870) 231-4383

Community clinics in southwest Arkansas

Many of these centers provide the low income with health care, including primary medical and dental care. Most also administrate a prescription assistance program for the uninsured, and offer care such as General Laboratory Tests, Dental Hygiene, Blood Pressure Screening, General Physical Examinations, and much more. Locate a clinic below, or find more clinics in Arkansas.

Dallas County Arkansas Medical Center is at 201 North Clifton Street, Fordyce, AR 71742. Main number is (870) 352-6300. This clinic provides, among other services, confidential testing and treatments services for AIDS / HIV patients. The center also offer medical care for the community on a sliding fee scale, which means the amount billed to patients will be reduced.





Cabun Rural Health Services, Bearden Health Clinic is located at Second and School Street, Bearden, Arkansas 71720, phone (870) 687-3637

Christian Health Center – Camden. This clinic can serve low income people of all religions and backgrounds. 1115 Fairview Road Southwest, Camden, AR 71701, call (870) 231-1111

Arkansas Department Of Health - Public Health Unit of Ouachita County. Provides public health care and services, such as Medicaid, Medicare, and more. Call (870) 836-5033


By Jon McNamara














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