There are churches all across Dade County that provide help to the needy. The ministries will offer support to people of all religion, races, ages, and language, with many programs available in Spanish or other languages. A church in Miami may be able to offer some money for paying housing costs or rent, a hot meal, and they run shelters too.
There are a number of assistance programs for children too. After all, the youth are often the most vulnerable, and they should not suffer if their parents are in poverty or do not make a life sustaining wage. Parishes including Trinity Church coordinate assistance for them. This can include free after-school care or summer camp with arts or crafts, Christmas gift, and snacks or meals for kids as well. If the youth get off on the right track, this benefits all members of society.
In an effort to ensure everyone has a meal, feeding ministries and food banks are open. Saint Joseph Church (8670 Byron Avenue Miami Beach, FL 33141, call (305) 866-6567) has a soup kitchen/feeding ministry on Saturday. Anyone in need can drop in. There are immigrants who use the meal site, the recently unemployed, and homeless among others. No questions are asked any anyone can stop by. Volunteers can also refer the client to a food bank near them as well.
At the same time that the client is given a hot meal, hygiene supplies (or free box of groceries), they can meet with a volunteer counselor. This provides the client the ability to learn about other assistance programs that may benefit them. As often a homelessness person needs knowledge of transitional housing or rental payment services, or the underemployed need employment resources. No matter what has caused a hardship, the church may provide free advice along with the meal.
Many social services are provided from Miami Beach Community Church (500 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach, Florida 33139, dial (305) 538-4511) as well as dozens of other local faith based groups. This is where much of the financial assistance originates from. These faith based groups, when they have money, use it for homeless prevention, medical help, and utility bill assistance. Those will always be a priority.
When applying, the churches cover a very small geographic region. In general, the applicant needs to live in the area supported by the parish. Referrals to them can be obtained by the phone number below. Also, any funds for individuals living in poverty will need to be combined with other charity aid, as a church can never cover an entire payment on their own. So when seeking light bill and/or rent assistance, not only a small amount of money is provided.
Free information is given from churches affiliated with Samaritan Counseling Centers. One is at 11295 SW 57th Avenue, Miami, FL 33156, phone (866) 221-2268. They are bi-lingual, so Spanish speakers and others can also use the centers. They not only offer information on public assistance in Miami-Dade County (such as rent help from section 8, free medical, or burial programs), but the counseling center also offers the following. There may be educational workshops; professional and affordable mental health counseling, spiritual guidance; and more.
First United Methodist Church Of Miami (address: 400 Biscayne Boulevard, Miami, FL 33132, phone (305) 371-4706) is one charity that focuses on the truly vulnerable in Dade County. So the homeless, disabled, and elderly are some of the main beneficiaries. The locations allow people to benefit from companionship with their peers. As this occurs, breakfast and lunch is often served.
Often the vulnerable need more hands on care too. This is when a parish seeks volunteers from the community. Generous people give back, and they may drive a senior citizen to the store for medication or help with minor home repairs. They also can care for seniors or the disabled in many other ways as well. Or if a person needs help on applying for a light bill program, such as LIHEAP, advise can be given on that too.
As noted, the faith based groups really focus on the youth, maybe more so than anyone else. Trinity Church (17801 NW 2nd Avenue, Miami, Florida 33169, phone (786) 888-5433) runs the TCT, After School/holidays/Summer Camp program. The parish will feed kids to try to prevent hunger. They also focus on overall child development. This is done from a combination of social as well as recreational activities, such as physical fitness, art, reading classes, free computers, visual arts, indoor games as well as crafts.
Free or low cost summer camps are also held. They help children of all ages, whether teenagers to kids in elementary school or younger. This service can also really assist the parent too, as it saves them money for needing to pay for day care. A leader in this space is Plymouth Congregational Preschool (3429 Devon Rd, Miami, FL 33133, (305) 448-8774).
Children from families living in poverty can also get help for basic needs. It is often challenging for a parent, whether they have a job or not, to pay for holiday meals, back to school supplies or Christmas gifts. Churches step in an an effort to fill this needs, and may offer the following.
Of course, they also feed kids. When an immigrant is new to Dade County, too many live in poverty. They can stop in at a parish for a meal or snack during the summer months. Bethel Church of the Nazarene is one site, and they are at address 2800 SW 102 Avenue, Miami, Florida 33165 (phone 305-221-4900). There are also food types for all backgrounds, such as Latinos, Cubans, and of course US Citizens.
Since there are some many churches in Dade County, some of which offer financial aid and some which don't, the best number to call is 305-358-HELP. Families will be given information on places to turn to.
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