St. Theresa's Catholic Church Social Services ministry.

The St. Theresa's Catholic Church Family Resource is for struggling families in Marion County Florida that need a hand-up. There is assistance for certain struggling families, such as food, meals, utility bill or rent help, and more. The community center supports a radius of territory around Belleview and the county.

Basic needs are a focus as well as referral to job programs and budgeting. There may be food from a pantry, clothing from thrift stores, shelter, and financial aid for housing or utilities. Also, during the summer months, working in partnership with other agencies there may be meals or snacks for children. The St. Theresa's Catholic Church center also has partnerships with many other non-profit agencies to provide assistance programs to the greater low income community.

Food, soup kitchen and thrift store programs

To ensure that the Marion County population does not go hungry, there is a pantry and soup kitchen. There is also a dedicated team that meets to serve meals and works on food preparation. All volunteers are welcome by St. Theresa's Catholic Church including members of church groups or other organizations who are willing to come in once a week to prepare and deliver food, serve coffee, sandwiches, baked goods, hot chocolate, juice and water. Again, the St. Theresa's Catholic Church soup kitchen and food pantry is able to feed dozens of low income people on any given night.

In addition to feeding the low income, unemployed as well as homeless population, volunteers work to ensure clients have access to or are given propane to heat their home, batteries, flash lights, tarps, toothpaste and soap to make sure they meet their basic survival needs. The team at St. Theresa's Catholic Church Social Services works hard to meet the needs of struggling families and build relationships while understanding firsthand how difficult life is for some clients.

The Thrift Store at St. Theresa's Catholic Church resource center is open to the general public and operates primarily from customers sales which covers overhead and program support. Special sales events and daily deals available in Marion County make shopping affordable for everyone.




Hundreds of low to moderate income families meet their clothing, school supplies, household and furniture needs by shopping at the Thrift Store. New items are stocked daily including winter coats, furniture, appliances, even designer jeans at the site.

The holiday clearinghouse from St. Theresa's Catholic Church Social Services coordinates a number of agencies, organizations, charities, volunteer, and churches that wish to help families with children or senior citizens during the holiday season, with a focus on Thanksgiving and Christmas services. The team that is part of the Clearinghouse works to eliminate duplication of service in Marion County, which will ensure there is not abuse in the system. This will then lead to as many needy families as possible receiving toys, meals, or other wanted items at the holidays.

St. Theresa's Catholic Church resource center services

For families who are at risk for hunger, eviction or an interruption in their utility service, St. Theresa's Catholic Church has financial help available through the United Way and Emergency Shelter Utility Funds. They also raise money from the sale of goods at the thrift store. This is paid out first come and served to those that qualify, and once the funds are gone for bills such as rent or energy costs, no other assistance is provided by the resource center at St. Theresa's Catholic Church.

This life-sustaining help is available along with support services as follows. There is medical/psychological supervision from doctors, assistance in obtaining permanent housing, employment or nutritional counseling, substance abuse treatment, and referrals. Staff from St. Theresa's Catholic Church work with clients in applying for federal, state of Florida and local assistance including mental health benefits; veteran’s benefits; and other income support assistance such as supplemental security income benefits. Other applications can be completed at the Resource Center for section 8 rent help or LIHEAP for utilities, general assistance, or SNAP food stamps.





St. Theresa's Catholic Church Skills Enhancement Center – This location at the resource center will provide clients the free use of a computer. They can then address the skills they need around employment, job or technical computer skills, and self-sufficiency. There are computers at the center that can be used at no cost.

The work stations are for interested individuals so they can find local Marion County Florida employment opportunities using the internet, create and print cover letters and resumes, as well as apply for jobs on-line. Some families also use the ministries computers to apply for financial aid, such as food stamps or disability.

Other uses of the center will be classes classes so clients can gain new technical skills. Volunteers from the community, including teachers or those giving back to the region, teach people on how to use the internet. They also cover computer software programs (such as Microsoft Excel, Word and PowerPoint), teach people on Apple software, and applications such as Quicken for finances.

The resource center is based at 11528 South Highway 301, Belleview, Florida 34420. The thrift store is open to anyone to shop at, but other programs from the resource center are only available as a hand-up. Call (352) 245-1359.




By Jon McNamara

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