Emergency help and food from The Sharing Center.

One of the key services from The Sharing Center is to help feed lower income families, or direct them to programs that can meet that need. They also provide other basic needs, such as clothing or shelter for the homeless. Using a combination of volunteers as well as fund raisers from the general public, direct assistance is offered. They try not to turn anyone away, and all programs in Seminole County are offered without question to race, religion, or age.

For very low income families or senior citizens or the disabled, additional support may be provided to them. Some of those resources include SNAP food stamps for long term aid. Seniors or the home-bound in Sanford can sign up for a home delivery of meals. Much more is provided too. The staff from the charity do care, and they try to satisfy the needs of the applicant.

When applying for help, The Sharing Center requires proof of income as well as residency in Seminole County. This can include a copy of a lease or an utility bill. It will need to have a name and address on it. Assistance is only for residents of Sanford and Seminole County. Also, income guidelines are in place. For more information, or to go over this process, appointments can be made.

Food programs

A pantry can be used on a monthly basis. Up to a few days worth of emergency groceries may be passed out. The exact items that people can obtain from the client choice pantry depend on donations, but some examples include Canned Meats such as Tuna, Ham, Chicken. There are also fruits and vegetables, Boxed Pastas, Cereal, Peanut Butter (no glass jars) and more. The Sharing Center can only give what they themselves are given, so this is when food drives can be helpful.

Many organizations across Seminole County, such as churches and charities, conduct food drives.  They rely on the the community to join in the effort. Businesses as well as private individuals also play a key role in keeping the pantry running.

Of particular need is for healthy items, such as multi-grain cereal, fresh produce, dairy products, whole grain pasta,, low salt staples of every kind, and anything else. If someone wants to participate, it is recommended to hold a so called Nutritious Food Drive in the general public.




Intake is also given to the federal government Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Information is given to very low income families and those living in poverty. Staff from The Sharing Center will give advice on  their initial application for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

The amount of aid is very limited. It only addresses hunger related issues for low-income families. However it can only pay for a small portion of what a family needs, and the person should not rely on government aid only to solve their concerns.

Basic needs from The Sharing Center

The resources include a clothing closet, thrift store, and more. Using these programs, the exact goods passed out include the following.

Children from lower income families can sign up for Back to School. Parents are encouraged to register their students for this service as early as possible during the Florida summer months. There are several items available from this service as well, ranging from clothing to uniforms. More traditional supplies may also be passed out, such as notebooks or pens/pencils.

The Sharing Center Christmas programs are an option too. There is a gift service for children from lower income families. One of the objectives of Community Hope is to try to provide each child with some type of present to open on Christmas morning.

Using donations from the community, parents or businesses sign up. Low income families also register. The client will need to provide staff with a list of needed items (such as clothing) and wanted items (toys or games) for their children. The requests are distributed at partners of The Sharing Center, such as churches. Shoppers from the community may then fulfill the requested items and return them wrapped to to the Community Center.





Limited financial aid from The Sharing Center and support services

Very small amounts of emergency financial assistance may be available from time to time from the agency. This will be provided on a limited basis for qualified clients. The support is only for people facing unexpected needs, and they need to have been stable in the past. If not qualified, referrals may be given to other options in Seminole County.

The Sharing Center will help, when possible, with transportation to a job interview, utilities, rent and medical expenses. Trained staff and volunteers work to connect people from the community to financial assistance from the charity as well as other area service providers. All financial assistance from the agency will be in the form of payments directly to a service provider.

Referrals will connect seniors, the disabled and the low income with needed assistance. Applicants will be given information as quickly as possible. Clients can learn about resources for Free Prescriptions, Local Transportation, Home Health Care Agencies, Legal Assistance, Credit Counseling, Mortgage Foreclosure Help, and more.

There is much more in the community as well. Everything from Computer Labs can be used to search for jobs and overcome challenges to finding employment.  There are also classes on money management, opening savings accounts, and more. The Sharing Center can also listen to the clients needs and redirect them as needed. For more details, the center is at 600 North Hwy 17-92, Longwood, Florida 32750. The location is only open a couple days per week, and telephone number is (407) 260-9155.




By Jon McNamara

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