Southland Casino Racing donates $600K on Giving Tuesday
Collaboration with food bank, EAFHC part of continuing investment in community
From NATALIE CARLSON
Southland Casino Racing
Southland Casino Racing, in collaboration with its parent company, Delaware North, has announced it is donating at total of $600,000 to two Mid-South organizations that serve the Crittenden County community.
Mid-South Food Bank will receive $325,000 toward its mobile food pantry, and the East Arkansas Family Health Center will receive $275,000 to fund the development of an OB-GYN program.
The donations, announced on “Giving Tuesday,” represent the most recent of Southland’s significant financial gifts to charitable, educational and community organizations in West Memphis, Crittenden County and the region. In 2019, for example, Southland donated more than $260,000 to variety of organizations.
Presenting the donations today at Southland were Lou Jacobs, Delaware North CEO; David Wolf,
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Photos courtesy of Southland
Left to right: Marco McClendon – West Memphis Mayor, Cathy Pope – Mid-South Food Bank President and CEO, Lou Jacobs – Delaware North Owner and CEO, David Wolf – Southland Casino Racing President and General Manager.
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Southland Casino Racing president and general manager; and Johnekia Catron, Southland’s community engagement manager.
“Being a good neighbor is a key part of our mission at Delaware North and Southland Casino Racing,” said Lou Jacobs, CEO, Delaware North. “We are grateful for partners like Mid-South Food Bank and East Arkansas Family Health Center for their work to address the critical needs of this community, and we hope these investments make a meaningful impact to advance that work.”
The organizations were identified by Southland through a community needs assessment that revealed two significant areas of hardship: food insecurity and access to women’s healthcare. Crittenden County has a significant food insecurity rate that is rising due to the pandemic. While for women, the nearest OB-GYN without crossing into another state is 39 miles from the area.
The $325,000 donation to the Mid-South Food Bank will allow the organization to add to its mobile pantry operations to improve the efficiency of food distribution in Crittenden County and reach “food desert” areas. In addition, the funds will establish and provide food for two Healthy School Pantries that play a crucial role in providing children and their families with access to food for preparation at home when other resources such as school meals are not available.
“The Mid-South Food Bank is thankful for this partnership with Southland Casino Racing,” said Cathy Pope, Mid- South Food Bank president & CEO. “According to our research from Feeding America, roughly 16.4 percent of the population in Crittenden County, Arkansas is facing food insecurity. This collaboration will help us increase food distribution for rural areas in Crittenden County and help establish more partner agencies in the area. Additionally, this opportunity will help educate and connect families to other vital programs that support food and economic security.”
Southland’s $275,000 donation to the East Arkansas Family Health Center will support the development of an OB-GYN program to address the severe barriers to care that women in Crittenden County experience related to receiving obstetric and gynecological care including access to family planning services, prenatal services and the ability to deliver babies locally. The funds will be used to help recruit and retain an OB-GYN that will allow for a robust program that will serve not only existing patients of the health center, but the community at large.
“The East Arkansas Family Health Center is elated to collaborate with Southland Casino Racing in providing OB- GYN services to the community at large,” said Dr. Susan Ward-Jones, CEO of the East Arkansas Family Health Center. “This funding will allow for a robust program that will improve health outcomes and reduce morbidity and mortality. This will allow for reduced rates of breast and cervical cancer, infant mortality, low birthweight babies and birth to teen mothers.”
About Mid-South Food Bank
The Mid-South Food Bank serves west Tennessee, north Mississippi and Crittenden County in east Arkansas and is the leading distributor in the region. Food insecure individuals, hungry children, families, and seniors across the Mid-South depend on the Mid-South Food Bank’s help daily. the Mid-South Food Bank currently distributes an average of 4 million meals a month through a network of 300 partner agencies including food distribution sites in 12 counties in West Tennessee, 18 counties in north Mississippi, and one county in Arkansas. The need is even greater after the long-lasting effects of COVID-19.
About East Arkansas Family Health Center
EAFHC is a stable, 330-funded, Joint Commission & Primary Care Medical Home accredited FQHC that provides services to the most vulnerable people living in Crittenden County. EAFHC began treating patients in 1974 and has worked closely with community leaders over the past 45 years to evaluate and respond to the health care needs of people living in poverty and those that experience barriers to accessing affordable, high-quality healthcare. EAFHC’s flagship clinic is located in West Memphis and provides comprehensive medical home services including medical, dental, vision, behavioral health, substance abuse, chronic disease management, nutrition counseling, and health education.
In 2018, EAFHC served 17,850 unique individuals and provided 46,449 medical, 14,698 dental, 1,827 ophthalmology, 1,628 behavioral health and 118 substance use disorder visits and assisted its patients’ access social services including food, housing, transportation and utility assistance.
EAFHC’s target population is medically vulnerable people living under 200 percent FPG and minority populations, who are either uninsured, underinsured or have public insurance. In developing high-quality services designed to meet the specific needs of this target population, EAFHC is known as the premiere patient-centered, medical home for the medically vulnerable and is an integral component of the region’s health delivery network. This medically vulnerable demographic is reflected in EAFHC’s current users, of which 16,621 (93 percent) live below 100 percent FPG, 4,398 (24 percent) are uninsured, 6,661 (37 percent) have Medicaid, and 3,545 (20 percent) are low-income seniors. Through its own services and its partnerships with hospitals, specialists, social service and community organizations, EAFHC ensures continuity across the full spectrum of care, which helps to drive down the overall cost of healthcare for the region and improves the health status of its patients.
One of the most significant healthcare issues that faces Crittenden County is the lack of OB-GYN services, which affects all women of childbearing age (15-45 years) but most acutely affects low-income women and minorities.
A recent study by an independent consulting firm showed there is one OBGYN specialty provider in Crittenden County that practices one day a week. Furthermore, deliveries are done at a hospital 30 minutes away not located in Crittenden County. Women can receive limited gynecological care at their primary care provider but must travel far distances for OB care and delivery services when pregnant and for specialty gynecological care if issues are detected by a primary care physician. This study showed that there are over 10,000 women who do not have access to an OBGYN provider, and that this patient population could support a minimum of five fulltime OB-GYNs. The tragic result of this undersupply of OB-GYN providers is elevated rates of breast and cervical cancer mortality, infant mortality, low birthweight babies, and births to teen mothers.
About Southland Casino Racing’s Community Commitment
As one of the largest employers in West Memphis, Southland Casino Racing is committed to further supporting the tristate area through volunteer efforts, donations, and continued investments. Southland Casino Racing’s Community Engagement Office is designed to identify and invest in areas within Eastern Arkansas, Memphis and the Mid-South. Our goal is to empower our neighbors to care for their health, futures, and connect with each other, through Southland’s philanthropic channels. Organizations interested in requesting a charitable contribution from Southland may apply at www.southland communityengagement.com.