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Lee and Manatee Catholic Charities assistance programs.

Family Resource Centers are operated by Catholic Charities around Lee County and southwest Florida, and the locations provide seniors, low income, and struggling families with help. Emergency financial assistance may be offered over the short term for basic needs and bills. Other resources include, but are not limited to, programs for seniors, food pantries, and immigration services. Learn where to turn to for help from Catholic Charities in Lee, Desoto, Manatee, and surrounding counties.

Emergency financial assistance may be provided by Catholic Charities in order to help families and individuals who are struggling due to a financial hardship that is outside of their control, and is not caused by them. Examples in which financial assistance may be provided include an illness or death in the family, loss of income or unexpected unemployment, or unplanned expenses such as a medical bill or car repair. Many people are faced with a crisis that makes it difficult for them to make ends meet, and that is when Catholic Charities can help.

Funding is always limited, and it will vary by center in Lee, Manatee, or nearby counties. Money can be provided for expenses and bills such as past due rent or utilities. If you have a serious medical condition, then look into prescription drug assistance. Other needs that can be met include necessities such as maternity, food, and pregnancy needs. Seniors and others who may need transportation to a job interview or doctor appointment may qualify for emergency transportation. Holiday programs are also available, and include free Christmas gifts and food/meals. Only qualified individuals who live within the Diocese of Venice of Southwest Florida can receive assistance.

Food and meals are always in high demand. Catholic Charities provides free or low cost food or vouchers, groceries, and meals to families and individuals who are struggling with paying bills and making ends meet. Several food banks and pantries operate in the region, and they can assist the poor with staples and items that they may need to make it through a week.

Some of the basic food commodities that may be distributed for free or low cost include dry beans, tomato sauce, pasta, rice, cereal, macaroni and cheese, breads, canned meats and fish, corn flour, and cooking oil. The food banks always need donations, so if you can contribute please drop off groceries or excess food items are a nearby Catholic Charity center in Lee County Florida.





Programs for children are offered. Examples include St. Martha’s Early Learning Center, which is a Catholic Charities sponsored program that offers early childhood learning experience that is affordable and high quality. It embraces each child and their family as an individual while recognizing differences and commonalities among them. All students who work with Catholic Charities learn pre-reading, pre-math, and writing skills. They can also develop or enhance their social skills and early literacy. The Creative Curriculum for Pre-School is used along with resources and services such as Growing Healthy Kids and Discovering God. The Catholic Charity center also offers Free Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten as well as Parenting with Partners Program.

A number of migrant workers and farmers live and support the economy in Southwest Florida, including in Desoto and Henry County. Many non-profits and government agencies, including Catholic Charities in Lee County, recognize the value and hard work they bring to the community. So assistance programs and case management is offered to help them earn money and escape poverty.

Some of the resources provided include financial assistance for needs and expenses such as rent, housing, or energy bills. Food, meals, and soup kitchens also address their needs. Also, very importantly, migrants can access education, tutoring, case management, and immigration services and programs.

A number of elderly live in the region. Senior Services of Catholic Charities offer qualified senior citizens services such as case management, which is available for elderly living at Holy Cross Manor in Palmetto or Villa San Marcos in Venice. These are low income apartment units that allow seniors to be residents and focus on living independently. On site programs focus on health and wellness as well as educational needs.

Other programs that help senior citizens in Lee and Manatee County include health assessment and coordination of in-home medical services for low-income seniors who are isolated and/or frail persons, case management, and a telephone reassurance project.

The large Hispanic, Hatian and Latino population can also look into help. Services offered to this population include housing counseling, employment assistance, education programs for children and adults, financial assistance, immigration and citizenship services, special holiday aid, and after-school tutoring.

Affordable immigration-related services are offered to people in Manatee and Lee County Florida. Resources can also extend to nearby towns and counties. Counselors are certified by the national Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), and Catholic Charities will provide immigrants, refugees, and other newcomers to the county with affordable, high quality legal advice and assistance in navigating that complicated immigration process.





For example, well trained counselors can assist with some or all of the following. Get help with completing applications for citizenship or work authorization, petitions for family members, permanent residency, consular processing, and requests for replacement of lost documents. Victims of domestic violence, trafficking and battery can also look into help.

Location of centers in Southwest Florida

Catholic Charities of DeSoto County, 1210 East Oak Street, Arcadia, Florida 34266, phone 863- 494-1068

Catholic Charities of Manatee County, 1219 16th Street West, Bradenton, FL 34205, telephone 941-714-7829

Catholic Charities of Hendry County, 208 North Deane Duff Ave., Clewiston, Florida 33440, call 863-983-2274

Immokalee is covered by Guadalupe Social Services of Catholic Charities, 211 S. 9th Street, Immokalee, Florida 34143, telephone 239-657-6242

Naples residents can get assistance from Family Resource Center of Catholic Charities, 4209 Tamiami Trail East, Naples, FL 34112, main number 239-793-0059

Bethesda House of Catholic Charities, 1670 Fourth Street, Sarasota, Florida 34236-5008, dial 941-366-1886. Or another location is St. Martha's Early Learning Center, 1658 4th Street, Sarasota, FL 34236, call 941-366-1395

Wauchula - St. Michael's Catholic Church, 408 Heard Bridge Road, Wauchula, Florida 33873, primary phone 863- 773-4089




By Jon McNamara

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