Thursday, March 22, 2012

Food, Health, Jobs, and Family Crisis Assistance Resources in Central Florida

Dear friends,

There are many needy families in our own communities. So, I've hunted down several Christian organizations and government programs that offer assistance for food, health care, family crises (including domestic violence), and other needs in the Orlando area.  If you live in another area, I encourage you to compile your own list to share with folks you know.  Put it on a blog, link it to Facebook, send it to everyone in your e-mail address book, whatever it takes to get the word out in these tough economic times!

My purposes?  One, to connect families who need help with available resources.  Two, to connect families who can donate or volunteer with opportunities to serve.  Most of these organizations would make a great place for a high school student to volunteer for Bright Futures scholarship qualification hours.

A lady from our church puts out plastic bear jars in Sunday School to collect money for Second Harvest Food Bank.  (See link below.)  Here is one of the bears with my daughter Melody.  My girls took two of the bears around the neighborhood last year and collected a decent amount of change!

While we are on the topic of assistance for those who are struggling financially, I thought I would also link to three other posts I have written in the past few years:

Here we go!

Christian ministries & other charitable organizations offering food, clothing and other assistance:

  • Second Harvest Food Bank:   Collects and distributes donated food to more than 500 nonprofit partner agencies in six Central Florida counties
  • Harvest Time International: Offers long-term self-sufficiency program, assistance with groceries, household items, cleaning supplies, diapers, in exchange for low contributions.  Help with applying for government programs.   (My friend Stephanie comments:  "I have to tell you about Harvest Time in Sanford. We go about once a month and can get a shopping cart full of stuff for under $50 typically. Great for snacks, lunches and even canned goods 3/$1.  We have been blessed by free loaves of bread, cheap canned goods for name brand veggies, sports drinks, $1.50/box cereal, snacks for lunches, etc. It has truly been a blessing and the money goes to Harvest Time who helps the homeless and many others." )
  • Community Food & Outreach Center:  “To provide a hand up for those in need, helping them to break free from poverty by offering hunger relief, crisis care, transformative education, and employment training opportunities.”   150 W Michigan Street, Orlando, FL 32806, 407.808.2091,
  • Christian Service Center of Central Florida:  Provides food, clothing, financial assistance, shelter, counsel and prayer in Orlando, Ocoee and Winter Park or (407)425-2523
  • Christian Sharing Center: Open to visitors Monday - Friday, 9 AM - 12 noon, except holidays at locations in Longwood (407-260-9155) and Sanford (407-323-2513).
  • Orlando Union Rescue Mission:  "The Orlando Union Rescue Mission is one of Central Florida's oldest and largest homeless service providers.  The Mission provides for immediate physical needs -- including food, clothing and shelter -- however, our programs are designed to lead the homeless to permanent independence built upon a personal relationship with Christ."
  • Haven of Hope Ministries: Provides food, clothing, and support groups to individuals that are HIV/AIDS infected, as well as food bags for those who are living with a terminal illness and in poverty.
  • Rescue Outreach Mission of Sanford: Provides emergency shelter, food, clothing, and spiritual guidance to disadvantaged, needy, homeless and abused individuals and families.  407-321-8224
  • Jewish Family Services: Offers food assistance to anyone in need.  Financial assistance is offered to those who qualify

Seminole County government food resources

  • WIC (Women, Infant and Children) Supplemental Food Program: provides food assistance for families with pregnant mothers and/or children ages 0 to 5 years.
  • Department of Children and Families Access Program: provides food stamps to eligible persons
  • Department of Food Service: apply for free and reduced lunch for public school students (based on demographics, some schools also offer free breakfast to all students, without regard to family income)
  • Food and Nutrition Management: provides information regarding free food available during public school breaks
Jobs assistance: 
  • Christian HELP: assists the unemployed to find jobs, plus help for food and other resources as needed
  • Jobs Partnership:  Innovative approach to workforce development that provides a lasting solution to the challenges of insecurity, low self-esteem, and inconsistent work ethic in today’s workplace. In partnership with area businesses and churches. Twelve week Life and Work class at area churches, includes placement assistance.
  • Dress for Success of Greater Orlando: assists women with interview appropriate clothing as a tool to develop self-sufficient lives
Health care assistance:
  • Shepherd's Hope Clinic: "Caring People Caring for People", Christian ministry provides free health care to the uninsured at clinics in 9 locations around Central Florida
  • Seminole County Health Department: free immunizations for all county children (no income requirements) and free dental care for Medicaid recipients
  • Orange County Health Department:  
  • Florida KidCare: Subsidized health care insurance for children throughout Florida.  Premiums are based on income.  If have low income for your family size, you may be automatically approved for Medicaid instead.  888-540-5437
Crisis pregnancy assistance:
  • True Life Choice Pregnancy Center: Free pregnancy tests and practical assistance available at several locations throughout Central Florida   (407) 244-5527
Domestic violence crisis assistance:
  • SafeHouse of Seminole: A confidential shelter for victims of domestic violence and their children, includes counseling, practical support, legal help, etc.
  • Harbor House (Orange County): Shelter for victims of domestic violence, includes counseling, practical support, legal help, etc.
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-799-7233
  • Kids House of Seminole Children's Advocacy Center: Help for families dealing with child abuse; friendly, non-threatening atmosphere,  includes counseling, support, information on resources, referrals for substance abuse treatment, etc.
Thanks for reading this!  

Virginia Knowles

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