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8 surprising ways Samaritan Community Center services is helping Arkansas residents!

8 surprising ways Samaritan Community Center services is helping Arkansas residents!

Are you an Arkansas resident who may be struggling to put food on the table or provide school supplies for your children?  Do you need dental services that you cannot afford?  We cover some surprising ways that Samaritan Community Center services may be able to help you!

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What is the Samaritan Community Center?

The Samaritan Community Center originally started over 30 years ago as part of a clothing bank church outreach in Arkansas.  They became a 501(c)3 non-profit organization in 2002 and have expanded to multiple locations in Springdale and Rogers.  They primarily serve the people of northwest Arkansas and are preparing to serve 350 more families each year!

What are the programs that provide Samaritan Community Center services?

The Samaritan Community Center has eight programs to serve local families!

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These include:

  • SnackPacks
  • Backpacks for Kids
  • Samaritan Shop
  • Samaritan Garden
  • Samaritan Market
  • Samaritan Café
  • Samaritan Care
  • Samaritan Dental Clinic

SnackPacks

One of the Samaritan Community Center services that makes a big dent in local childhood hunger is the SnackPacks program!  Every Friday during the school year, the Samaritan Community Center packs 6,000 packages of snacks for students to take home to curb weekend food insecurity.  These SnackPacks are distributed to 170 schools across four counties in northwest Arkansas.

It is estimated that 26,000 local children experience food insecurity and the SnackPacks program is currently funded to provide for one in five of those.  They distributed nearly 180,000 SnackPacks last year!

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Backpacks for Kids

One of the ways Samaritan Community Center services can help kids in school even more is through their Backpacks for Kids program!  Their goal is to ensure that all local kids have the educational supplies they need to be ready for learning! 

They have a list of school supplies that donors can shop for to make sure that all students have necessary supplies right from the first day of school!  Due to COVID-19, distribution of Backpacks for Kids is now done through school counselors.

Samaritan Shop

One out of every three dollars in revenue for Samaritan Community Center services is supplied through their Samaritan Shop program!  There are two locations that are open to the public in Rogers and Springdale.  These stores sell gently used items like clothing, furniture, and household items.  Samaritan Community Center services also networks with other local service partners to provide recipients with vouchers for free items.  Over $20,000 in vouchers were distributed last year!

Samaritan Garden

One of the Samaritan Community Center services that is a truly innovative way to combat local hunger and obesity is the Samaritan Garden project!  This was founded in 2014 and now contains 15,000 square feet of growing space!   A commercial greenhouse has allowed the Samaritan Garden program to provide over 17,000 pounds in fresh produce in 2021!  This fresh produce is supplied to Samaritan Community Center services recipients through their cafes and food pantries!

Samaritan Market

The Samaritan Market is a modern-day food pantry for Samaritan Community Center services recipients in both the Rogers and Springdale facilities.  It is a one stop shop where families can receive ingredients, but also recipes for healthy meals as part of a partnership with the Healthy Foods Initiative.  This is helping to combat food insecurity AND obesity! 

Fresh organic produce is supplied to the Samaritan Market through the Samaritan Garden program.  Lean proteins and whole grains are also available through the Market to aid in providing nutritious options.  Last year, nearly 100,000 people received food from the Samaritan Community Center services!

Samaritan Café

The Samaritan Café was created as a new and improved soup kitchen modeled after a restaurant experience!  Samaritan Community Center services had a goal of providing table service to individuals and allowing time for volunteers to interact with recipients at tables.

The Samaritan Cafes are located at the Rogers and Springdale sites and provide hot meals daily.  Due to COVID-19, the table service is currently suspended and walk-in food service is available.

Nutritional meals are provided using fresh produce from the Samaritan Garden – with lettuce and vegetables for the meals, and often fruit for dessert.  Nearly 90,000 hot meals were served in 2021!

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Samaritan Care

Volunteers wanted to support Samaritan Community Center services recipients in more ways than just food and supplies!  The Samaritan Care program is an advocacy program that connects those in need with local resources.  These can include help with accessing benefits, housing, medical care, rental assistance, utilities assistance, and more!

Samaritan Community Center services dental clinic

Samaritan Dental Clinic

The Samaritan Dental Clinic is the only full-service non-profit dental clinic in northwest Arkansas!  Their goal is to provide a full range of dental services to adults without insurance who are meet the federal poverty standard.

The Samaritan Dental Clinic has a restorative program and a monthly extraction clinic.  COVID-19 has limited the number of patients able to be seen – please contact Samaritan Community Center services directly for confirmation if you are seeking dental help.  Nearly half a million dollars of free dental services was provided in 2021 – that’s a whole lot of healthy smiles!

Do I need to provide proof of need to receive Samaritan Community Center services?

No!  All Samaritan Community Center services are free and do not require documentation of need in order to receive help.  Documentation may be required to access other services as part of referrals or government benefits.

How do I get help from Samaritan Community Center services?

Due to COVID-19, the Rogers and Springdale facilities are not currently accepting walk-in clients. 

Samaritan Care advocates are available at 479-340-0109 or [email protected] for help connecting you with Samaritan Community Center services.  More information is available at the Samaritan Community Center services website.

Samaritan Dental Clinic is available at 479-636-0451.

What if I need more help?

The Samaritan Community Center services are available to northwest Arkansas residents.  We have loads of resources for other areas as well!  Check out our links for more food programs and free school supplies!

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After 27 years in law enforcement and state Veterans Affairs agencies, I found myself working from home and looking for dollar-stretching resources. Government programs can be notoriously difficult to navigate and I'm happy to lend my experiences to make this easier for others!