Mobile Farmer's Market Helping the Hispanic Community
With the help of Beet Box volunteers, Puentes de Esperanza: Bridges of Hope is providing healthy options, social opportunity, and something the community can look forward to. Puentes uses the ecologically-oriented CARE principle by meeting our Hispanic community members where they are physically and situationally.
Since the start of last summer, Puentes de Esperanza has partnered with the Land of Goshen Community Market located in Edwardsville, IL. Through this partnership, the community served by Puentes can receive fresh produce from local farmers at a low cost. The volunteers of the Goshen Community Market drive to Fairmont City the “Beet Box.” This food truck attracts the attention of the community, and the word is spread on produce being sold. The members of the community can walk down the street from their homes to choose their produce. Clients can choose from a variety of vegetables, fruits, and nonperishable items to take home for 25 cents. Everyone in the community is welcome to choose their own produce.
Famer’s markets have increasingly become a staple in most towns, and they continue to expand as years go by. With the use of the Beet Box, the community of Fairmont City can have access to fresh fruit and vegetables, without having to travel far. In Fairmont City there are not many grocery stores that can provide fresh produce. This results in members of the community turning to unhealthy options of food. Within the Hispanic culture, many individuals from their country of origin are used to choosing their own produce and knowing how fresh it is. In most Hispanic countries the use of mercados is an essential part of living. Mercado in English means market. Mercados are not just a place where people buy and sell produce, but they also provide a place where social events occur. They bring joy and liveliness to a community and create a sense of belonging.
Farmworkers In the United States contribute to the production and distribution of crops. They play a key part in the nation’s economy. Migrant farmworkers have helped feed America and have faced obstacles throughout the years. At times, when people grocery shop, they seldom forget the backstory behind the farmworkers who work long hours to provide us with produce. Within the Puentes family there are many migrant farmworkers who work long hours in the fields to provide for their families. The clients even think of Puentes and if produce is in abundance, they bring them some as well. Team members have been happy going home with fresh corn to enjoy with their own families. Puentes de Esperanza is thankful for the clients they serve and continues to support them and provide resources to better suit their family needs.
With the help of Beet Box, they proudly can continue to provide produce and something to look forward to for the community. They also take into consideration the opinions of the clients and look for more produce available that they may prefer. Mothers of the families are thankful that they do not have to leave their homes to buy produce but rather can get it at a low cost right outside their doors. Puentes de Esperanza will hope to continue to continue this partnership for years to come and continue to expand their resources.
Learn more about our Hispanic community support here: https://hoyleton.org/programs/hispanic-community-support/
The volunteer commitment looks different for everyone. Some people give their time, some people give monetary or planned gifts. Some people have been volunteering for years across different programs and others come for specific programs. Whether it’s been passed down through family generations or becoming a new tradition, the hope and sense of community our volunteers provide youth is irreplaceable.
“Just knowing that this is directly helping my community, seeing the results in my community, make volunteering worth it. Helping people I hadn’t known were struggling and making the neighborhood better,” expressed one frequent volunteer.
Hoyleton takes a holistic approach to meeting the physical, mental, and emotional needs of youth and families, which provides numerous opportunities for volunteers to lend a helping hand. Below is a selection of ways to get started.
Staying organized is a priority for keeping an office running smoothly. Volunteers assisting with filing, phone calls, bilingual assistance, and general office duties help our staff work efficiently and effectively.
Hike & Bike and Trivia Nights
Churches and community organizations across Madison, St. Clair, Clinton, and Washington counties hold events throughout the year and give the proceeds to Hoyleton. The annual Hike & Bike is a 5K, 10K, and half marathon that donates earnings to fund specialized programs for our youth. Trivia Nights are an option that let groups have fun while volunteering and meeting new new people. Various events are shared on social media and our events page.
Back to School
Each year, kids pick up their new backpacks stuffed with pencils, notebooks, markers, and more just in time for the new school year. Our volunteers help us ensure that every child has the supplies they need to be successful in school by donating supplies, stuffing backpacks, and helping with the picnic for kids and parents.
Hope for the Holidays
For most, the holiday season is the most wonderful time of the year, but for some of the youth and families we serve, the season can be difficult. HYFS makes it our goal that every child in our care has a gift to open during the holidays. Our annual Hope for the Holidays drive urges our donors and volunteers to get involved by donating, shopping from the wish list, and wrapping presents. Join us in helping those we serve.
It Takes a Village
Over 127 years, our team members, programs, and locations have changed, but our mission has stayed the same: to help children and families build brighter futures so our communities can improve and become stronger for everyone. We cannot achieve this mission without the compassionate efforts of all our volunteers and donors. If you are searching for a way to get involved, check out our volunteer page or contact
Three Ways to Show Care for Immigrant Communities
Immigrants are a valued part of our communities, and it’s important we do what we can to show them we care and advocate for their inclusion. We’ve been doing this through our Puentes de Esperanza program for 17 years, which helps our Spanish-speaking neighbors find the resources they need to realize the wholeness of life that God intends for them. But it isn’t only on organizations like ours to show them love. Here are concrete ways you can do it too:
Be A Good Neighbor
Throw a neighborhood BBQ and invite their families, help them buy groceries as they’re settling in, tutor them in English if they’re having a difficult time adjusting to a potentially new language or volunteer at a local nonprofit that works with immigrants and refugees, such as Puentes de Esperanza.
Educate yourself on your neighbors’ unique and rich experience. Ask them about their story (if they’re comfortable sharing), or go to your local library to rent books or watch a documentary or film about the lives of immigrants. Also, you can ask your local libraries, museums and community centers to consider hosting events centered around immigrant perspectives.
Both professionally and politically, immigrants are in need of advocates. Speak up for their inclusion and rights at your workplace. Help your immigrant neighbors find jobs after settling into their new homes. Write or call your elected officials regarding immigration reform to make sure that equitable treatment is a legislative priority. Stay up-to-date on the latest policies affecting immigrants and find meaningful ways to actively support them.
Engaging with, supporting and advocating for our immigrants can be a rewarding and enriching experience for all parties involved because it builds community and empathy as we seek out ways to learn about people different from ourselves.
Immigrant Support Services Provided by Puentes de Esperanza
We are proud to offer a wide range of immigrant support services to our Spanish-speaking neighbors across southern Illinois. These services get immigrant and limited English-proficient families the help they need, from addressing immigrating to the U.S. to offering classes that teach them about important life skills to advocating for them through translation and interpretation services. For the 17 years that our Puentes de Esperanza program has existed for the sole purpose of helping these populations, our commitment has remained steadfast. Here are all of the services that we offer Spanish-speaking immigrants through Puentes de Esperanza.
Workshops and Education
We offer workshops and classes that cover such topics as financial literacy, healthcare rights and
Latino Special Services Program
This program is run in collaboration with DCFS to provide interpretation and translation services during child protective investigations.
Immigrant Family Resource Program
We connect eligible families to government-provided programs and provide referrals to services relating to medicine, immigration law, education, after-school programs and disabilities as well as outreach programs and education.
Illinois Welcoming Center
As a satellite of Hoyleton, the Illinois Welcoming Center serves as a one-stop community center that provides each of our services to immigrant populations along with fostering partnerships with community resources to better serve families. Clients applying for public benefits and financial assistance, navigating health and education systems or connecting to community resources can contact us for interpretation assistance.
Our community outreach provides services to families such as advocacy, education, interpretation, translation and other support.
We help individuals select the right options for their family regarding counseling services and connect them with our Forward therapists, who can provide the behavioral care support they need.
Interpretation and Translation Services
We offer interpretation and translation services to businesses and organizations across Southern Illinois so that they can improve their clients’ experience. Providing services in an individual’s native language creates a more welcoming community for families settling in this area.
For more information regarding Puentes, visit https://hoyleton.org/programs/hispanic-community-support/ or visit us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/PuentesdeEsperanzaHYFS
We Believe in the Power and Contributions of Immigrants
The importance of fostering diverse, caring communities.
Since the creation of Puentes de Esperanza 17 years ago, Hoyleton has demonstrated a commitment to and belief in immigrants and refugees entering our communities. And now more than ever, as America gears up to accept a portion of the half a million refugees estimated to flee Afghanistan by the end of the year, we are steadfast in our belief that all people are deserving of a caring community to call home. Despite some narratives that might suggest otherwise, these are our neighbors, coworkers and friends, and their involvement in our communities is nothing if not an asset and a blessing.
As a faith-based organization, we are committed to welcoming all our neighbors, no matter who they are or where they come from. And we know that when there is increased diversity in our communities, it only strengthens them. When immigrants feel empowered to contribute, everybody benefits from the new possibilities for dialogue, creativity and expressions of care.
We see the positive impact they make in our everyday lives through their investment in our communities. They’re our neighbors volunteering alongside us, hosting BBQs, attending religious services, watching our kids play alongside theirs. And that’s not even taking into account the $2 trillion annual contribution they make to our economy. Every day, individuals who have fled their circumstances, fighting for their lives, aiming to provide a better life for their children -- they’re the ones who are making a great, positive impact on our lives. They’re driving innovation, conducting critical research and saving lives. They are the thread that makes our neighborhoods, our communities, our cities and our nation better and stronger.
But even with all this greatness, we know they experience barriers every day. This is why it’s so important that immigrants and refugees in our communities know they belong, that they are welcomed with open arms. Without feeling integrated, they won’t feel safe enough to contribute their amazing talents. How we talk about the immigrants, how we engage with them, how we identify them, it matters, and it’s important. That’s why we’re focused on providing our immigrant and refugee neighbors with safe spaces where they know they belong, where they’re empowered to take part and where they can be their unique and authentic selves.
We are committed not only to helping immigrant families directly, but also to reversing stigmas and making sure we help change the language and narrative around their involvement in our communities. They belong. They are actively making a difference and changing lives. They are valued, loved and just as much a part of this country as anybody else.
As we welcome Afghan refugees into our country, we will be here advocating for their inclusion and full integration into our neighborhoods with open arms. It’s what we’ve been doing for immigrants for years and will continue to for years to come. Join us.
To learn more about how we help Spanish-speaking immigrants, visit our Puentes de Esperanza page.