Struggling individuals often turn to their local church in Broward County. When these organizations have the resources, they will try to help. Everyone from the indigent to senior citizens, retirees, the working poor, and immigrants (among others) use the services they offer. When a church can't help, they will provide a free assessment of the specific need as well as referrals to other charities.
Churches focus on several different needs. One of them is food, and this is what Abiding Savior Lutheran Church and Centro Hispano service does. Many retirees in Broward County also live on a fixed income, and a church can hold medical clinics, give them financial aid or advice, or organize recreational activities with their peers. Another focus of a church is on general support, including homeless prevention, distributing free clothes, and similar goods.
Since the resources are limited (especially when it comes to money for paying bills such as light or rent), there does often need to be a priority system in place. This means that funds will tend to go to low income families with children first. While the priority can vary, other recipients of assistance from a church will tend to be senior citizens. The third group will be immigrants and/or refugees. Lastly may be the homeless or single people. However exceptions can always be made.
Several churches in Broward County operate both a food pantry and offer financial help. One such site is Cokesbury United Methodist Church (1801 NW 65th Ave, Margate, Florida, 33063, (954) 825-5152). Volunteers work with farmers and stores (among others) to collect fresh vegetables, fruit, and meat. These are then passed out to hungry individuals or those families that are just struggling to buy groceries each and every month. Other churches also operate food pantries and/or soup kitchens.
When it comes to more financial needs, these churches also try to help. Based on donations received, both from weekly mass and fund raisers, there may be money available from time to time. Some churches are also involved in coordinating loan programs, and these will help low income families in Broward County avoid payday lenders. This may be offered by St. Vincent (1211 NE 4th Ave, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33304, dial (954) 462-0716) affiliated agencies among others.
When there are funds, they are focused on stopping evictions and keeping children fed. There may also be some basic medical needs met. So money may be issued for rent or utility bill payments, special food requests such as baby formula for kids, ensure for senior citizens, and light or air conditioning costs. When it comes down to it, the churches in the county will always focus on housing, energy bills, and if needed, find Broward County rental assistance programs.
Assistance is available for people of different religions as well. While in general, a church will not have a religious test, they may have priority in place. Different religions are covered, such as Gulf Stream Baptist Association and the Immanuel Baptist Church (1037-9 NE 3rd Ave Immanuel Baptist Church, Oakland Park, FL, 33304, dial (954) 763-7282). There are also Christian Based churches at 1445 W Broward Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL, 33311, phone (954) 524-6991 and many others.
There are also no age, income, or other restrictions. The key criteria is that the applicant needs to be struggling, and have no where else to turn. Churches can assist Christians, Jewish individuals, baptists, Muslims and others. They also help immigrants, such as Latinos or people that are new to Broward County. There are agencies such as Unitarian Universalist Church (address is 3970 NW 21st Ave, Oakland Park, FL, 33309, dial (954) 792-2328) that are open to the general public, and people can stop by to use the pantry as needed.
Churches in the county, including Hollywood Florida, will also focus on senior citizens, whether they are low income or not. There are recreational activities organized, such as field trips. Many also offer free food items, such as Christ Church of Pompano Beach (Pompano Beach, FL, 33060, phone - (954) 943-0404) or serve holiday or Christmas meals. Volunteers may also bring a small Christmas gift or meal to the elderly in a nursing home or a hospital.
Guest speakers are also used by churches to focus on senior issues. This provides them not only the opportunity to meet with peers, but also to learn about resources for them. Classes can be organized on applying for Medicare or other programs that offer medical bill assistance, investing, administering a 401K, saving money using coupons, and much more. The elderly in Broward County have many different church based programs focused on their needs as well as access to other support for low income senior citizens from state programs.
In addition to the financial aid for paying bills that is referenced above, another pressing need in Broward County is for affordable, basic medical care. Community clinics are organized by locations including Calvary Chapel Church (address - 2701 W Cypress Creek Rd, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, (954) 556-4517). They can help the poor and uninsured get some basic check ups they need, such as pregnancy testing, a dental cleaning, and similar care. These clinics do rely on volunteer medical professionals to give back to the community.
Since there are so many churches in Broward County that focus on helping the poor, it is recommended to call for referrals. Each religious organization also focuses on a limited area, and generally helps families in the immediate parish. For more information, dial 954-537-0211, which is the United Way referral service.
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