Originally founded by the Sisters of Charity in 1897, Santa Maria Community Services, Inc. is a non-profit organization based in the Price Hill community of Greater Cincinnati, Ohio.
The driving force behind this dedicated team, is their devotion to inclusivity and advocacy for immigrant populations, specifically the Latinx community within the Price Hill community.
Supporting equity and justice while denouncing racism, intolerance and exclusion allows them to function as key advocates for Greater Price Hill families. With the help and support of such a passionate organization to advocate for them, these historically underserved families are in a better position to attain their educational, financial and health goals, both in the short term and in the future.
Recently, the wellness program at Santa Maria has streamlined its efforts to ensure the Price Hill population, including their Hispanic neighbors, receives access to key resources in order to address their unique needs throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020 alone, Santa Maria Community Services provided more than 2,500 clients with the knowledge and tools to build stronger families, promote community health, and foster neighborhood revitalization. Of those 2,500 individuals, 39% were Hispanic and 39% were African-American.
Santa Maria held its annual health fair in October 2020, where all participants received a packet of information including numerous mental health service and tele-therapy resources, as well as other important health services geared toward Spanish speaking populations. Additionally, 56 COVID-19 tests, 78 adult flu shots and 40 pediatric flu shots were administered, and 14 mammograms were performed.
On March 13th, 2021, Santa Maria Community Services extended an opportunity to clients to receive their first COVID-19 vaccination at the University of Cincinnati Hospital. 75 clients registered to receive the vaccination. On March 18th, less than a week later, 50 additional clients registered to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at the Cintas Center, during a collaborative effort with the Ohio Department of Health, Human Services Chamber and Kroger.
During their health fair on April 24th, 2021, Santa Maria administered 120 first dose Pfizer vaccines to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, in addition to 8 COVID-19 rapid antigen tests and 71 COVID-19 antibody tests. 18 mammograms were performed, and 40 families received diapers. 200 boxes of food from the Freestore Foodbank were distributed, as well as 107 healthy kits. Of the 54 volunteers at this event, 17 were bilingual.
On May 15th, 2021, Santa Maria held a vaccine clinic where 157 COVID-19 vaccines were administered to clients, 200 boxes of food donated by the Freestore Foodbank were distributed, in addition to 97 healthy kits. 58% of participants were of Hispanic descent. During additional vaccine clinics held on June 11th, 2021 and July 2nd, 2021, 67 COVID-19 vaccines were administered and 100 healthy meals were distributed.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Santa Maria Community Services has championed numerous events promoting vaccine education and administration to predominantly Hispanic and African-American populations, including Latino Fiesta and Fiesta Latina, respectively. Santa Maria was also involved in the creation of educational videos about mask wearing and vaccinations, and a virtual mental health townhall held on July 22, 2021.
It’s easy to see why Santa Maria Community Services is leading the collaborative community effort to strengthen the Price Hill neighborhood. With a mission statement surrounding advocacy for Greater Price Hill families to attain their educational, financial, and health goals, this one-of-a-kind organization has an end game in mind. By envisioning a vibrant, thriving and self-sustaining Greater Price Hill community, they hope to achieve stabilization and self-sufficiency for its residents. And they are well on their way.