Marion County Salvation Army assistance programs in Florida.

The Center of Hope in Marion County is where many of the Salvation Army programs are run from. The non-profit often relies on funds raised from the sale of goods at the thrift store to provide help or they partner with HUD on programs such as the Evangeline Booth Garden Apartments. Everything from disaster relief to help for former prisoners is coordinated.

Not only can the less fortunate apply for aid, but the Salvation Army also allows individuals to both volunteer their time or donate. It provides people the means to give back to others that live in Ocala Florida or nearby communities.

Thrift Store – This is open to the public, no matter their income. There are low income families that shop there as well as more moderate to higher income residents. Everything from basic necessities (clothing, boots, school items, etc.) to more vintage goods or furniture may be sold.

All of the money raised from the Family Store stays in the local Marion County community. The local Ocala Salvation Army keeps these funds local to fund their programs. So it pays for food, school supplies, rent or electric bill help, and much more.

Over 50 housing units are available for senior citizens in Evangeline Booth Garden Apartments. They are several hundred square feet in size. The tenant will need to pay a portion of the rent (based on their total income) but it will tend to be affordable. The Marion County Salvation Army accepts pets, have kitchens, and coordinate services such as recreational programs. Apartments are also available for the mobility impaired, or disabled.

Information, applications to financial aid, and volunteer opportunities are all available at the Center of Hope. This is the primary drop in location for the community to use. If someone is qualified for Salvation Army assistance programs, then they can get help. Otherwise the staff will refer the client to either a state of Florida benefit or another local charity.

-Financial aid can help stop homelessness or stop a power disconnect. This is offered as a last resort and pays a portion of any rent or energy bill arrears.
-Food is passed out from an emergency pantry.
-Marion County Salvation Army staff can offer guidance in applying for LIHEAP, section 8 housing, SNAP food stamps, and more. Questions are answered and there is support for applying to grants.





Christmas programs – Using donations from the community, contributions to the Red Kettle campaign, and money from the thrift store, the Salvation Army in Marion County offers resources to spread holiday joy. Most of the support is either from Angel Tree or Adopt a Family. These two help children from families living in poverty.

There can be free toys or school supplies giving. Many children may be given needed clothing for Christmas, such as jackets, boots, hats, or pants. While many parents do want toys or gift cards for their children, the fact is that Marion County Salvation Army can only provide what is donated. So this means many people may be given clothing.

There are income/eligibility requirements in place. The Salvation Army will assess the applicant's income and expenses, and consider factors such as medical expenses, housing costs, or pharmaceutical bills. The client will also need to create a budget to live within their means, and participate in a case management process too.

Disaster assistance – This can help with either natural events (such as hurricanes) or unexpected situations, including fires or a home burning down. The Salvation Army process will offer the Marion County family a meal, new clothing, or even vouchers. They also help the first responsers in the community.

The Center of Hope coordinates other social services. With the increasing age of citizens in Marion County, including more senior citizens, they do try to help the elderly. Meals, companionship, and information on basic steps to take for medical care are arranged. Other Salvation Army programs focus on supporting single moms, they help the unemployed, and shelter the homeless.

All of the assistance is given in a non-judgmental manner. For details, or to apply, the Center of Hope of Marion County is at 2901 Northeast 14th Street, Ocala, Florida, 34470 or call the Salvation Army at (352) 629-2004.



By Jon McNamara

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