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Southland Casino Racing, Delaware North donate $600,000 to local charities on ‘Giving Tuesday’

Delaware North’s Southland Casino Racing last week announced it is donating a total of $600,000 to two local organizations that serve the West Memphis, Ark., and Crittenden County communities. 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 were announced at Southland on “Giving Tuesday” and 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.

Representing Delaware North at the donation announcement were Lou Jacobs, Delaware North CEO; David Wolf, 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 Jacobs. “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% 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.”

PHOTO CAPTION: Lou Jacobs (second from right), Delaware North CEO, and David Wolf (far right), president and general manager of Southland Casino Racing, presented a check to Cathy Pope (second from left), president and CEO of Mid-South Food Bank, and Marco McClendon (far left), mayor of West Memphis, as part of a large donation to local charities in West Memphis, Ark., on “Giving Tuesday” earlier this week.