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story.lead_photo.caption Submitted photo GIVING THANKS: Cooperative Christian Ministries and Clinic Executive Director Lynn Blankenship thanks members of the Hot Springs Area Community Foundation at an April 9 meeting at Hot Springs Country Club after being presented with a Giving Tree grant to fund their Point A to Point B transportation program.

Something as seemingly simple as getting from one place to another can be a huge obstacle for people living at or below the poverty level and struggling to improve themselves.

Cooperative Christian Ministries and Clinic recently received a $7,000 Giving Tree grant from the Hot Springs Area Community Foundation, an affiliate of the Arkansas Community Foundation, to help with the problem by funding its Point A to Point B transportation access program.

"Poverty and transportation challenges have always gone hand in hand. Without mobility, generational poverty will continue," Lynn Blankenship, CCMC executive director, said in a news release. "Access to transportation provides access to education, better food choices, employment, shopping, and health care needs. Without access to transportation options, opportunities will bypass those who are striving to move out of poverty."

CCMC offers several points of contact with people living at or below poverty, such as case managers and coordinators for their poverty reduction program, Bridges Out of Poverty Getting Ahead classes. Those who seek assistance are assessed to determine what their needs are in order to achieve greater stability and sustainability. When that assessment reveals transportation challenges or obstacles, then the Point A to Point B program gives case managers a vital resource to help address the basic need of reliable transportation.

"The funds will be used to purchase public transportation such as bus passes and vouchers for cabs and Ubers for those who need transportation support that don't live along one of the bus routes," Blankenship told The Sentinel-Record.

The transportation access program recognizes the challenges faced by 21 percent of Garland County households who are at or below poverty, she said.

"For families to be able to lift themselves out of poverty, they will need reliable transportation, which is often elusive for those who are struggling just to put a roof over their heads and food on their tables. With recently expanded hours of public bus operation, thanks to the city of Hot Springs, reliable transportation is possible. Those living in poverty, however, will struggle, initially, to access transportation while they are working toward a more sustainable future," Blankenship said.

CCMC submitted the proposal for the program to HSCF "based on our case management history that revealed transportation as a huge hurdle to the ability to access vital resources, services, work, school, etc.," she said.

"We are so grateful to the Hot Springs Area Community Foundation for providing a powerful poverty reduction tool through this grant. Point A to Point B will address real obstacles that so many in our community face with a very practical and immediate resource," Blankenship said during the Giving Party held at the Hot Springs Country Club on April 9.

CCMC was one of over 40 local nonprofits that were awarded grants during the Giving Party.

Blankenship said the grant was specifically for the transportation access program.

Local on 04/20/2019

Print Headline: CCMC presented $7,000 grant for transportation access issues

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