The Community Services Clearinghouse, Inc. has, since 1979, served as an information-sharing agency to provide for the needs of families and individuals in the area who are facing emergency situations. The Clearinghouse works with churches, civic groups, community agencies, and schools. Our primary focus continues to be assisting cancer and hospice patients, the elderly, the disabled, and children as well as working families. We have grown with our service area, and we now offer a broad-based assortment of direct service programs to our clients.
The Clearinghouse serves five counties in Arkansas and two in Oklahoma. They are Crawford, Sebastian, Logan, Scott and Franklin in Arkansas and Leflore and Sequoyah in Oklahoma. We have a food pantry of both non-perishable and fresh or frozen foods for the same population.
The Clearinghouse is the best known in the area as the provider of the MEALS FOR KIDS Backpack Program. Each week we prepare and distribute over 2,800 backpacks of food to children in the area schools so they have food for the weekend. This program alone costs about $400,000 a year to operate. We are blessed with many faithful donors and a working board, but we are in constant need of reaching new donors to meet the increasing demand. We hope the PayPal option on our website will attract these new donors as we seek to serve some 6,000 families representing some 20,000 individuals, many of whom are children under the age of 16.
The Clearinghouse partners with several local agencies to ensure that everyone in need receives all the help available to them. Our Information and Referral Service assists families to find the help they need, and our Job Board points many clients toward employment that will allow them to take control of their situation.
Community Services Clearinghouse, Inc. is a 501c3 organization and is a recipient of United Way funds.
The Backpack Story – – Our MEALS FOR KIDS program currently serves over 2,800 children per week. Teachers and counselors from schools in our seven-county area select the students to receive our backpacks on Friday afternoon. There is no application process for the program. All it takes is a recommendation from the school for a student to begin receiving a backpack. Professional nutritionists volunteered their time and skills to select the foods we deliver each week. The backpacks include juice, cereal, pudding and fruit cups. We always include some source of protein like meat sticks or Vienna sausages, as well as crackers and treats. Students who suffer Food Insecurity, and who many times must hoard part of their school-provided breakfast and lunch allotments, must also come to school on Monday so focused on hunger that they are unable to learn or to make good progress in their studies. Financial contributions, as well as donations of backpack foods, are always welcome for the program. The success of this program proves that our supporters truly believe, “No Child Should Ever Go Hungry!”
Food Pantry – – We maintain a well-stocked pantry for use by persons needing food assistance. We serve clients on an emergency basis through the work of several caseworkers who interview the clients. In addition, we serve referrals from Reynolds Cancer Support House, local hospices, public schools, and the Department of Human Services.
Cooperation – – We work with various other agencies such as the United Way, churches, other food pantries, schools, and a host of others to try to find help for our clients. When we are unable to assist, we try to make sure they leave with a referral to another agency as well as with suggestions of ways to improve their lives.