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Proof Positive: Hispanic Center

By Rosa Duarte, Reporter, RDuarte@wfmz.com
Published On: Jul 15 2013 07:00:00 PM CDT
Updated On: Jul 16 2013 06:11:21 PM CDT

The Hispanic Center Lehigh Valley has been providing support programs to its surrounding community in South Side Bethlehem for over 45 years.

BETHLEHEM, Pa. -

The Hispanic Center Lehigh Valley has been providing support programs to its surrounding community in South Side Bethlehem for over 45 years.

"It means a lot. Because if I didn't have this center here I wouldn't know what to do with myself in my life," said Ismar Rodriguez who takes part of the Basilio Huertas Senior Center program throughout the week.

"We open Monday through Friday 8:30 until 1:30. We provide breakfast and lunch every single day for them," said Damaris Torres who is the coordinator for the senior program.

Apart from being a place to socialize and play games, the center also provides essential services.

“I help them with any kind of paper, translations, doctor transportation for the appointments and all that stuff, it's like a relief for them," said Torres.

However, like many non-profit organizations, volunteers are in demand especially those who can speak Spanish and for college students like Craig Welker, who's majoring in Psychology in Spanish, it's a big help.

"It really helps to be with the people in order to comprehend it and it's also nice just to meet people,” said Welker.

The senior program is just one of many that the Hispanic Center Lehigh Valley offers to the community, they also have a food pantry, a program for the youth and also provide social services.

Executive Director Lorna Velazquez, says anyone interested can help in a variety of ways like donating, volunteering, joining a committee or even the board of directors.

Velazquez adds they welcome visitors who are curious of what they're all about and hopes one visit is all it takes to help convince them.

"If people are interested, we welcome input and we also welcome for people to get involved because a community organization needs the community to be successful," Velazquez said.