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December 12, 2012 | News

Battling Homelessness in Seminole County

Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation Grant Recipient: Christian Help Foundation

Seminole County, one of the state’s most affluent, drew national attention last year after a Scott Pelley “60 Minutes” television report chronicled the county’s growing homelessness problem. The report prompted the Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation to act immediately with a grant to the Christian Help Foundation. Human services organizations like Christian Help fill a much-needed void in the community, picking up whergovernment programs such as food stamps or discounted/free lunches leave off.

The economic downturn left record numbers of Central Floridians hungry and homeless for the first time. Grant money immediately went to providing food for the existing food pantry and enabled the “Care Cabin” at Casselberry Elementary to expand operations. The Cabin provides students and their families with food, clothing and other essentials. The grant helped to expand services to meet increased demand. Within a year, those requesting assistance had gone from the families of 15 kids to 100.

In addition to providing emergency assistance, the Foundation also pairs community volunteers with Cassleberry Elementary students in a mentoring program, advocates for the school, and documents successes and procedures so the model can be duplicated throughout the community. The school directly attributes community involvement such as this as one of the factors that helped raise it from a “C” school to a “B” school.

The impact of the grant made by the Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation to Care Cabin can be felt through the testimonials provided by the families that use the service:

“Care Cabin was like an angel to me. They did not judge my situation or look down on me. They shared stories about other people that were in similar situations as me and made me feel very comfortable. You can tell they truly have a love and passion for what they do.” – Kimberly T.

“My family and I are going through a financial situation, we lost everything! Care Cabin has been a fabulous help to me as I try to find work and even offered a bit of peace of mind. Thank you!” – Karen Z