Community Service Program
Every year since 2001, White Plains High School students give back to their community and earn community service hours through the Community Service Program at El Centro. They serve as tutors and translators, distribute flyers for special events, and help distribute food, recruit other students and parents to attend events at El Centro, and set up and organize various other activities throughout the year.133 students registered to perform community service in 2018.
Since 1974 El Centro Hispano has published a bilingual page in St. Bernard Church’s weekly bulletin to inform the 700 to 850 Hispanic parishioners who attend Mass each Sunday about all the programs, events, and matters of concern relating to El Centro and the Hispanic community in general.
Affordable Care Program Assistance
Since October 2014, a bilingual representative of the Westchester County Department of Health has been on site at El Centro one full day a week to offer our clients free assistance in completing the application paperwork for the Affordable Care Program. 191 clients were assisted from January to December 2018. The representative answered clients’ questions, helped them to complete application forms, and screened them under the New York State Department of Health Marketplace.
Thanks to the generosity of some of our donors and the initiative of our Board of Directors, an attorney comes to El Centro Hispano every Friday for 4 hours from 1:00 – 5:00 p.m. to help our clients with house repair problems, rent overcharge harassment and general lease questions. She also provides our clients with legal advice about immigration issues. She educates them and informs them how to exercise their rights without fear or intimidation when dealing with wage theft and worker’s rights. In 2018, 211 clients were assisted.
Because of its closeness to and knowledge of the Hispanic community, El Centro Hispano has been called upon since its inception in 1974 by many agencies and organizations in the City of White Plains, including the local school system, the White Plains Public Library, White Plains Hospital and all the Spanish language newspapers, to communicate and disseminate important information or publications to the local Hispanic population.
Since 2008, El Centro has supported 52 White Plains residents diagnosed with cancer with a range of services including referrals to cancer specialists, assistance in communicating with doctors and hospitals, and/or with modest monetary help.
Last year El Centro distributed 1,750 pounds of bread and bakery products to its clients every Thursday afternoon. This program has been offered since 2011 thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor.
Since 2013, twice a month, El Centro has also been distributing fresh bread, fruits, dairy products, meat, frozen foods, and vegetables to an average of 95 families each time (averaging 363 individuals). Through a grant from the Giving Circle of Lower Westchester El Centro purchases food from the Food Bank for Westchester for our clients. Last year the Food Bank truck delivered a total of 115,721 pounds of food.
Workshops on Other Issues
Since the 1980’s, El Centro has offered workshops on nutrition, major illnesses affecting Hispanics, domestic violence, rights of immigrants, abuse of women, the stock market, housing trends, safe communities, investments, and safe banking practices. These workshops have drawn hundreds of community members eager to learn.
Representatives from White Plains Hospital, Hon. David Buchwald, Hon. Andrea Stewart Cousins, The Cornell Cooperative Extension, Formé Urgent Care, Westchester Alzheimer’s Association and The Westchester Hispanic Coalition Victim Assistance Program made presentations about their services to the food recipients.