A two-year grant worth $150,000 will help support El Sol Neighborhood Resource Center’s efforts to improve access to health care and information for low-income residents.
Allegany Franciscan Ministries, a nonprofit Catholic organization with a regional office in West Palm Beach, provided the money as part of its mission to build healthier communities through service, education and advocacy.
The organization, which grew out of the health care ministries of the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany, N.Y., provides grants to organizations in the three regions of Florida formerly served by the Sisters’ hospitals. Those regions are Palm Beach, Martin and St. Lucie counties; Miami-Dade County; and Hillsborough and Pinellas counties.
“We are really about serving those that are marginalized and disadvantaged,” said Upendo Shabazz-Phillips, a vice president with the organization’s Palm Beach, Martin and St. Lucie County region. “El Sol is the perfect partner because of the community that they serve.”
El Sol, which opened in 2006, connects workers with employers and homeowners needing day labor. The center also provides occupational training, language and literacy instruction, counseling, health education, legal and other services to individuals in need.
The grant money provided by Allegany Franciscan Ministries will be used to support the center’s “El Sol Shines a Light on Health” project.
The project is designed to promote the overall well-being of clients by lowering barriers to healthy living — including income, language and cultural obstacles — while increasing awareness about prevention and best health practices.
“It’s a way for us to be able to provide information to a population that sometimes is hard to access,” El Sol Center Director Jocelyn Skolnik said. “We provide health education programs, and we make referrals when people have issues accessing health care, or don’t know where they can go and what to do. They can come here.”
The project is expected to impact hundreds of people each year, Skolnik said.
In January, 177 people sought health care information through referrals, an oral health class and an Occupational Safety and Health Administration training program.
The grant runs through 2014. For information, call 561-745-9860 or visit www.friendsofelsol.org.