Several years ago, I compiled a list of several organizations and government programs which offer assistance for food, health care, housing, jobs, family crises, and other needs in the Orlando area.
This is not a complete list. If you know of other organizations, would you please leave a comment?
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.
First of all, let me give a big shout out to Heart of Florida United Way's 211 crisis phone line. If you have a need, they will give connect you with programs in your area which offer the specific kind of assistance you require. I start work there next week, and I'm so excited! Just dial 211!
Charitable organizations offering food, clothing, housing, and other assistance:
- Second Harvest Food Bank: Collects and distributes donated food to more than 500 nonprofit partner agencies in six Central Florida counties www.foodbankcentralflorida.org
- 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. www.harvesttime.org
- Family Promise Orlando: "We strive to help our families regain their financial independence within 90 days. Our faith based organizations provide shelter, meals, and comprehensive support services to homeless families." www.familypromiseorlando.org
- Christian Service Center of Central Florida: Provides food, clothing, financial assistance, shelter, counsel and prayer in Orlando, Ocoee and Winter Park www.ChristianServiceCenter.org 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). www.thesharingcenter.org
- 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." www.ourm.org/
- 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. www.cflhavenofhope.com
- 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 www.rescueoutreachmission.org
- Jewish Family Services: Offers food assistance to anyone in need. Financial assistance is offered to those who qualify 407-644-7593, www.jfsorlando.org
Organizations which match volunteers to projects:
- Hands On Orlando: "Hands On Orlando helps you help others. We plan, manage and lead volunteer projects that you and your friends can join." They also have projects suitable for corporate team building. www.handsonorlando.com
- Volunteer Match: "VolunteerMatch matches inspired people with inspiring causes. It’s how volunteers and nonprofits connect to achieve remarkable outcomes." www.volunteermatch.org
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. www.seminolecohealth.com
- Department of Children and Families Access Program: provides food stamps to eligible persons www.myflfamilies.com/service-programs/access-florida-food-medical-assistance-cash
- Department of Food Service: apply for free and reduced lunch for Seminole County public school students www.foodservice.scps.k12.fl.us (based on demographics, some schools also offer free breakfast to all students, without regard to family income). Many schools offer free breakfast and lunch for children during the summer at Summer Breakspots. www.diningservices.scps.us/summer/
- Christian HELP: assists the unemployed to find jobs, plus help for food and other resources as needed www.ChristianHelp.org
- 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. www.jobspartnership.org
- Dress for Success of Greater Orlando: assists women with interview appropriate clothing as a tool to develop self-sufficient lives www.dressforsuccess.org/orlando
Health care assistance:
- Shepherd's Hope Clinic: "Caring People Caring for People", Christian ministry provides free health care to the uninsured at clinics around Central Florida www.shepherdshope.org/
- Seminole County Health Department: free immunizations for all county children (no income requirements) and free dental care for Medicaid recipients www.seminolecohealth.com
- Orange County Health Department: www.orange.floridahealth.gov
- 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. www.floridakidcare.org/ 888-540-5437
Crisis pregnancy assistance:
- Life Choices Medical Clinic: Free pregnancy tests and practical assistance 441 Maitland Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32701, phone: 321-422-4168, after hours, 800-712-HELP www.lifechoicesfl.com
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. www.safehouseofseminole.org
- Harbor House (Orange County): Shelter for victims of domestic violence, includes counseling, practical support, legal help, etc. www.harborhousefl.com
- 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. www.kidshouse.org
Thanks for reading this!