The Polk County St. Vincent DePaul supports the low income and also runs advocacy projects. Whether a client needs affordable housing, vision and dental care, help for utilities, or information on benefits such as Medicaid or food stamps, the charity may be able to help.
St. Vincent is run by Ministry of St. John Neumann Catholic Church. The organization also provides education and information to state, county of Florida, and federal resources. All of this is done in an effort to address the challenges that directly impact low income people, minorities, the disabled and unemployed in Polk County Florida. Many lower to moderate income people face these issues daily, so help is offered.
A large number of dedicated volunteers coordinate operations at the Clothing Closet of St. Vinent in Lakeland, which sells household goods, appliances, and clothes to the general public at thrift store prices. All of the money raised as proceeds is being used toward offsetting program costs. The primary function of the Clothing Closet is to provide gently used, needed items at no cost to clients of the churches Emergency Assistance Program.
St. Vincent DePaul Society of Polk County provides basic supplies for children from low income households, including single parents. For these youth who are homeless or live in struggling homes, the Ministry can offer them much needed supplies such as free diapers, formula, school supplies and clothing. Relationships are also established with the parents which helps them find community resources and invitations to the church are extended. The non-profit also has a special focus for struggling young mothers with children.
The Ministry of St. John Neumann Catholic Church is proud of a long partnership with local charities that all help it run a local Food Pantry. This has been available since its establishment. The staff have referred numerous low-income clients to the pantry, which is a “choice food” location, meaning that it’s set up so that income qualified families and individuals can “shop” as they would in a grocery store. This allows clients to select foods they prefer, with no fear of judgment.
Volunteers from across Polk County staff the Pantry, ensuring that residents in need are supplied with free or low cost food on a semi-monthly or once-monthly basis. The Pantry is open each weekday, with some holiday meal services too. For long term support, the volunteers will refer a client to state of Florida benefits, such as SNAP food stamps.
Rental/Mortgage/Utility Bill Assistance – An intake process is required. Some of the application criteria in place by Saint Vincent include, but are not limited to, the following.
The applicant must have proof that any financial aid issued will prevent eviction. They need to be a resident of Polk County. The applicant needs to be out of all other options and sources of funding, whether from a charity or family member. Funds for housing expenses will only be issued if the applicant has a source of income. Lastly, the church will prioritize the elderly, disabled single, or a low to moderate income household with children.
When all conditions have been met, and if funds are available, then St. Vincent may provide a small amount of money for those bills. The Ministry may cover rental costs or utility bills, such as electric or water.
The church has referrals to Polk County medical and dental clinics. These service very low income and/or homeless individuals in Lakeland Florida and nearby towns. Volunteer nurse-practitioners operate the clinics at the emergency shelter a few mornings per week.
Another nurse-practitioner or volunteer doctor provides services at the center and also travels with the agency’s outreach team to offer medical assessments. They will arrange support to homeless persons who are reluctant to engage in a more formal service system. Moreover, a local dentist in Polk County Florida provides care as well to those that would otherwise go without.
Saint Vincent DePaul arranges assistance with the every-day tasks as part of Home Care. This service will allow seniors and younger people with disabilities to continue to live in their own homes. Respite is one service, and it will give a short-term break for family caregivers. Homemaking helps with laundry, light cleaning, shopping, meal preparation, and dishwashing. There is also personal care, ranging from bathing, grooming, and feeding. Lastly, Home Care includes chores such as shopping, heavy cleaning, yard cleanup, trips to a doctor, errands, and minor household repairs.
Individual, couple and family counseling is available. This program provides school-based services as well. The non-profit agency can help clients increase their understanding of child development, improve their parenting skills, and help people of all ages develop better self-esteem. Other benefits from the Saint Vincent Ministry may be stronger communication skills and people will generally enhance their overall quality of life.
For more information on the Saint Vincent Ministry in Polk County, as well as the social services they provide, call (863) 644-7469 for referrals. The charity will do what it can to help the vulnerable.
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