Delfina Vazquez began her work back in 2014, feeding the homeless in her community from the back of her car. Five years later, Ms. Vazquez had formed Selma Community Outreach Ministries (Selma C.O.M.) and, partnering with other community organizations, broadened her focus from providing folks in need with merely a hand-out to giving them a hand up.
Today, Selma C.O.M.’s offerings include mobile shower facilities, hygiene care kits, clean clothing, meals, and connecting their clients with other community resources to assist with addiction, mental health, and more. Ms. Vazquez and her team then turned their attention to providing more permanent shelter for those they serve. In 2019, in conjunction with other local groups, Selma C.O.M. was able to serve 25 women with children, providing hotel rooms and identifying alternative housing.
In the meantime, Selma C.O.M. was also raising the funds needed to start construction on The Empowering Women and Children Emergency Shelter, which will open in October 2020. The shelter will offer not just a stable living environment, but also connection to mental health services, wrap-around counseling, and life and coping skills training. With the Nation of Neighbors grant, Ms. Vazquez believes they will be able to expand their support to include another 35 women, providing a safe and life-changing place when they need it the most. “We are so excited we were chosen to receive this empowerment grant. Because of this grant, we will be able to extend more help to more women and children. The grant will fund a free, safe room for a full year for a mom and her children,” states Ms. Vazquez. “And we’ll be able to provide a place where children in our shelter can access the internet to do their online schooling, as well as tutors and activities,” she adds.
Nation of Neighbors is a Royal Neighbors of America philanthropy program that honors women leaders who are impacting the lives of women and girls. Each year, recipients are selected for an empowerment grant to support their work. To date, Royal Neighbors has awarded more than $2 million to women across the country.
For more information and program details, click here.