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The Word of Life International (WOL) is a hunger relief agency and multi service community outreach center that serves as a last resort for food, clothing and social services for 8,000South Bronx residents per month. WOL is currently staffed completely by volunteers from the surrounding community and members of the Word of Life Christian Fellowship Church. WOL has worked hard to establish key partner relationships; these partners work with WOL to provide food and programs services to our South Bronx residents and others from the 5 Boroughs of New York City.
Our vision is to ELIMINATE HUNGER in the South Bronx and become a one stop multi service center that simultaneously solve the short term emergency needs of its clients as well as the long term problems that prevent them from living a full and independent life and serve as well as a respected voice for the poor in the community.
The South Bronx continues to be the poorest and most at-risk community in the U. S. In the zip code (10459) that WOL is based, over 42% of families and 45% of individuals live below the poverty level. A majority of WOL's HIV/AIDS clients are undocumented immigrants. Three-quarters of the seniors served have complicated medical conditions. Access to opportunities such as jobs, stable housing and consistent medical care is very limited. WOL's programs were created to address the needs of this population by attending to their emergency short term needs while also helping them solve the underlying problems that prevent them from having a more stable and self sufficient life style for the long term. Below are some of the program services provided by WOL:
1. Food Pantry: Free food distribution to individuals and families at risk of hunger and homelessness. The Food Pantry operates on Wednesday from 3 pm to 6 pm and on Saturday from 10 am to 2 pm. We also, provide services to people that are referred to us from the New York City's Hunger Hotline.
2. Emergency Clothing: Free weekly distribution of clothes, coats, shoes, etc. to the needy and homeless during program services during Food Pantry Services.
3. Youth Enrichment Program: We work with Schools and Organizations to provide young people the opportunity to serve the community, develop character and leadership skills and confront the social issues in our community. Every week several youth/students including special education (students) work with us to provide services to the community.
4. Food Stamp/WIC Screening/Referral: In collaboration with AccessNYC, we provide onsite Food Stamp Screening and help clients to process their application. We also pre-screen the clients for other benefits they may qualify.
5. Summer School Meal and Kids' Caf: In partnership with NYC School Meal Program we provide Breakfast and Lunch to children 19 years and under Monday through Friday.
6. Community Service Program: Word of Life program services provide an excellent opportunity for people from across the country to volunteer at Word of Life helping us to make a difference in the South Bronx. The Community service program accommodates both individuals and groups.
7. Job screening and Referral: Inconjunction with Work Force 1, Bronx Office we provide job screening and referral because ourultimate goal is to get the clients to become self-sufficient or independent.
8. HIV/AIDS/Hepatitis Outreach/Substance Abuse Education/Referrals: We conduct monthly HIV/AIDS/Hepatitis outreach that brings different agencies for onsite testing/screening to our community residents. Agencies that participate in this outreach includes Bronx Aids Services, Harlem United, World Mission Foundation, LOLA, etc.
9. Health Insurance Enrollment: Our Center works in partnership with health insurance agencies to enroll our community residents with the health insurance of their choice. This program has benefited a lot of immigrants in our community.
10. Immigration Services: The immigrant population in our community is high and this program provides information and referrals to clients for their immigration problems.
11. Nutrition Training: We provide a bi-monthly nutrition workshop for our clients because the populations we serve have a high rate of obesity and diabetes. The program goal is to help clients know how to use the products and produce we provide at the pantry.
- John Udo-Okon
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