One of Northwest Arkansas’ largest non-profits — Samaritan Community Center (SSC) — is in the midst further expansion thanks to six foundation grants totaling $320,000 it recently received.
Three grants totaling more than $216,000 will allow center’s dental clinic to expand its restorative services.
“In the past we did a lot of extractions and emergency care but did not have the ability to offer many restorative options,” said Debbie Rambo, executive director. “These three grants will fund the cost of supplies and business expenses associated with running a full-service dental clinic over the next couple of years which, in turn, frees up SCC center funds to hire a part-time staff dentist.”
• $136,365 from Walmart Foundation,
• $15,000 from Blue and You Foundation for a Healthier Arkansas,
• $65,000 private family foundation.
Rambo said since 2006, the dental clinic has offered care for uninsured adults, which has been staffed by volunteers working mainly after business hours, which limited the number of patients that could be seen. Last year the clinic provided dental care at no cost to 624 patients.
This month the clinic announced the hiring of its first staff dentist — Dr. Jill Self-Pike. She will work three days a week at the clinic which will allow more patients to be seen.
A second Walmart Foundation grant funded the purchase of a new pickup truck and cargo trailer that will be used jointly by the Samaritan Shop’s resale stores in Rogers and Springdale and the center to pick-up smaller donations that do not require the use of the larger SCC truck.
The General Mills Foundation grant ($40,000) and a second private local family foundation grant provided $70,000 toward the funding of a 2014 healthy foods initiative of the SnackPack for Kids Program. The goal of the initiative is to purchase healthier food options for the snackpacks in larger bulk amounts and provide adequate storage space for the bulk purchases.
The SnackPack for Kids program distributes more than 6,500 bags each week during the school year filled with eight healthy snacks in 94 schools and Head Start centers in all four Northwest Arkansas counties. The child recipients have been identified by their school as being at-risk for hunger on weekends and holidays. The average monthly cost for the program is $30,000.