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Community Resources

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211 - United Way

United Way’s 211 is the most comprehensive source of human and social services information in the country. Our teams of compassionate, highly trained specialists are available 24/7 to connect you with the best services available in Polk, Hardee and Highlands counties. United Way’s 211 provides information about:

-supplemental food & nutrition programs
-clothing, shelter & housing options
-financial assistance
-emergency information & natural disaster relief
-health care services
-child, adolescent & adult mental health services
-addiction prevention & rehabilitation programs
-support groups for individuals with mental illnesses & special needs
-a safe, confidential path out of physical or emotional domestic abuse
-adult, child, family & elder services
-services for individuals with disabilities

ECHO Ministries

ECHO Ministries helps families who are caring for children that aren’t their own. We seek to meet the physical and spiritual needs of foster families, relative/non relative caregivers, and adopting families through our donation centers and community outreaches throughout Central Florida and beyond.

Our urgent donation needs- boys clothes size 7 through teen, twin beds and bunk beds, socks & underwear size 4 through teen, pajamas size 4 through teen, cribs and toddler beds, diapers, Pullups, and wipes. Please email if you have donations.

Feeding Tampa Bay

Feeding Tampa Bay, part of the national Feeding America network, focuses on providing food to the hundreds of thousands of food insecure families in the 10-county area of West Central Florida, including Polk County.

FOOD DISTRIBUTION – Through a partner food pantry network and Feeding Tampa Bay’s distribution programs, families can collect free groceries for the week at multiple mobile pantry sites each week in Polk County. Visit the Feeding Tampa Bay website to learn more.

VOLUNTEER – Just one hour of volunteer work generates exponential meals to feed our neighbors in need. When you give your time, you’re directly contributing to the livelihood of your neighbors. From sorting non-perishable goods in our warehouse to serving meals and groceries, with every volunteer opportunity, you make a direct impact on the wellbeing of our community.
See upcoming volunteer opportunities at the Lakeland Mega Pantry.

George Harris Jr. Runaway & Youth Crisis Center

Runaway, Homeless and Youth Crisis Shelters are there for children who often need an emergency œSafe Place.
Are runaway or homeless
Are œlocked out or œkicked out of their home by parents or guardians
Need short-term respite or crisis placement due to family conflict
Need emergency shelter placement due to abuse and/or neglect
Need emergency placement due to foster home placement disruption

Donations needed include clothes, shoes, school supplies, toiletries, games, sports equipment, etc. for ages 10 – 17.

Polk County Health Department

The Polk County Health Department provides a range of services to children and adults including preventative care, comprehensive screenings, family planning, dental care, and more. If you do not have insurance, care is provided on a sliding fee scale.

3241 Lakeland Hills Boulevard, Lakeland, Florida 33805
835 West Central Avenue, Lake Wales, Florida 33853
1812 North 19th Street, Haines City, Florida 33844
1805 Hobbs Road, Auburndale, Florida 33823
Boys & Girls Clubs of Lakeland & Mulberry

Boys & Girls Clubs of Lakeland & Mulberry has been in the forefront of youth development, working with young people from disadvantaged economic, social, and family circumstances. We serve more than 2,000 young people through Clubs, summer sites and outreach programs. We operate 4 full-time Clubs in 2 cities.

Donations also welcome. Donations needed include œteen things – clothing, hygiene items, card games, etc. Small dollar store/kids meal type toys, hygiene items, school supplies, snacks, candy, and toys. Club members earn œclub bucks on a daily basis that are used to teach financial literacy. The kids decide whether to save or spend their œclub bucks and learn the value of both choices.

Children's Home Society

Building bridges to success for children. Visit https://www.chsfl.org/wish-list/ to see a full list of donation items including clothing, household supplies, toiletries, bedding and linens, and more.

Early Learning Coalition of Polk County

The Early Learning Coalition of Polk County is a not-for-profit agency focused on early education and care. The goal of the Coalition is to prepare all children to enter kindergarten ready to succeed.
The ELC administers the VPK program for Polk County, visit their website to apply for your VPK certificate and learn more about how to select a VPK provider.
The School Readiness Program is also available through various participating child care providers. Eligibility is based on total family income and parents must be working or going to school. The program serves children from 6 weeks to 12 years of age. Fees are assessed based on a sliding fee scale. Hours of child care are determined by each child care provider.

Early Steps Program

Early Steps is Florida’s early intervention system that offers services to eligible infants and toddlers (birth to thirty-six months) with significant delays or a condition likely to result in a developmental delay. Early Intervention is provided to support families and caregivers in developing the competence and confidence to help their child learn and develop.

Early Steps services are based on Early Steps evaluations and your family’s concerns, priorities, and goals. Early Steps uses a Team Based Primary Service Provider approach which aims to empower each eligible family by providing a comprehensive team of professionals from the beginning of services until the age of three. The goal is for the family to receive strong support from one person, provide a comprehensive team of professionals from beginning to end, and for the family to have fewer appointments and more time to be a family. Services are provided to the family and child where they live, learn and play, to enable the family to implement developmentally appropriate learning opportunities during everyday activities and routines.

FDLRS Child Find

Child Find offers information and FREE SCREENINGS for children (birth – 5 years) who may have difficulty learning, speaking, playing, seeing, walking, or hearing. Contact Child Find if you think your child might need special help. There is no charge for screenings, regardless of family income. Child Find can help assess your child’s vision, hearing, speech, and developmental skills and then provide referrals and information on relevant programs and community resources.

Florida Baptist Children's Homes and One More Child

Below is a snapshot of our services for children:
FOSTER CARE – Providing loving, Christian homes for hurting children by licensing and equipping families statewide
CHILD HUNGER PROGRAMS – Life-changing nourishment that helps children and families in Florida and globally
RESIDENTIAL CARE – Loving, family style homes where we provide essential nourishment and care for children removed from their homes
EMERGENCY SHELTER – 24-hour shelters where we care for children who need immediate placement
SANCTITY OF HUMAN LIFE – Compassionate, Godly counsel for women facing unplanned pregnancies
FAMILY SUPPORT SERVICES – Preventive care and resources providing a boost to children and families
SINGLE MOMS – Mentorship, housing and training to help single moms become self-sufficient
ANTI-TRAFFICKING – Safe home care for child victims of sex trafficking and restoration leadership to prevent future trafficking
GLOBAL – Meeting urgent needs in Africa, Central America, Europe and South America through feeding programs, infrastructure projects, mission trips, child sponsors and more
ADOPTION – Recruiting, equipping and connecting families and churches as they navigate the complexities and joys of adopting a child who needs a loving, forever family
To learn more about our services, visit us at onemorechild.org.

Support One More Child through donations and volunteer opportunities. Donations needed include children’s clothing, toys, books, bedding, women’s clothing, diapers, household items, kitchen supplies, food, and more.

All donations are used to support their services including foster care, family support, single moms programs, and more. Drop off donations M-F from 8:30am-4:30pm at Harold Clark Simmons Compassion Center.

Visit https://onemorechild.org/volunteer-opportunities/ for details on volunteer opportunities.

Florida KidCare

Florida KidCare is the umbrella brand for the four government-sponsored health insurance programs – Medicaid, MediKids, Florida Healthy Kids and the Children’s Medical Services Managed Care Plan – that together provide a seamless continuum of coverage for Florida children from birth through the end of age 18.
Florida KidCare is designed specifically with kids in mind. That’s why our coverage provides your child with access to the services they need at each stage of growth and development. Health and dental services are delivered through quality plans that offer a choice of local doctors, dentists, specialists, hospitals, pharmacies and other healthcare providers.
Florida KidCare includes free, subsidized and full-pay options based on family income and household size. Most families pay nothing at all, and many pay as little as just $15 or $20 a month for all children in the household. Families who do not qualify for free or subsidized coverage may purchase a competitively priced full-pay plan.
Visit the website to apply now.

Good Shepherd Hospice & Bethany Center

Good Shepherd Hospice offers bereavement support for all hospice survivors in addition to ongoing community support groups, including those who have experienced a sudden or unexpected death. There is no charge for bereavement support and services. Individual & family support, as well as adult grief support groups are available.

Children’s Grief Services – Good Shepherd Hospice Bethany Center is a place of hope and healing and provides a special place for children and teens to understand their grief. The caring and professionally trained staff and volunteers are dedicated to providing compassionate grief support to children, ages 3 to 18, and their families.

The Bethany Center offers the following:
–Children and family support groups: Available to adults, teens and children to help facilitate healthy grief work through sharing and creative self-expression. Inside the Bethany Center’s activity rooms, feelings are expressed through art, games and dramatic play.
–Grief Cave: Children are able to write personal messages on the walls of this unique space where their words glow in the dark.
–Camp Brave Heart: Annual spring camp for children ages 6 to 16 who live in Polk, Highlands or Hardee counties.

Head Start Preschool Program

Head Start is a federally funded preschool program centered on education, comprehensive health services, and parent leadership. Head Services are available from ages 3 – 5 when the child enters kindergarten.

Polk County Public Schools (PCPS) operates Head Start centers for low-income eligible families at schools throughout the county. The PCPS Head Start program locations for the school year are listed by area on their website. Student spaces per site are limited. Sites are subject to change every school year.

Healthy Families Polk

Healthy Families is a free, voluntary program that gives families useful information on parenting and child development. Being a parent is an important and sometimes difficult job. Healthy Families offers tools to make the job easier so you can have the support you ned to reach your goals and build a bright future for your children.

Healthy Families offers parenting classes for parents, expectant parents and caregivers of babies, toddlers, and preschoolers. Classes are open to the community and focus on children from birth to age 12.

Cost: $25 per person, or $40 per couple and all class materials are included in this fee. If you are a Healthy Families Polk participant, there is no charge.

Fee Includes: Six week course, Class materials, Certificate of completion (given at last class for those who participate in all classes)
To register, call (863) 534-5344. Advanced registration is required.

Healthy Start

Healthy Start is a free home visiting program that provides education and care coordination to pregnant women and families of children under the age of three. They are a helpful contact for finding local resources – 863-534-9224.

InnerAct Alliance

InnerAct Alliance, formerly the Drug Prevention Resource Center, is very proud to have provided substance abuse prevention to the Hardee, Highlands and Polk County communities in Central Florida since 1985 with services including science-based education in elementary, middle and high schools, teen-driven social norming campaigns, as well as informative presentations and family-oriented awareness events that touch the lives of youth, adults, families, businesses, faith-based organizations, community groups and others in need with an important anti-substance abuse and anti-bullying message.

621 Florida Avenue South, Lakeland, Florida 33801
Lighthouse Ministries

Lighthouse Ministries serves the community by providing needed products and clothing at reasonable prices at our stores. You can contribute by donating goods to be resold. Stop by one of our stores to drop off any of the accepted goods listed on our website including clothing, electronics, furniture, shoes, linen, books – https://www.lighthousemin.org/donate-goods/

711 North Florida Avenue, Lakeland, Florida 33801
3092 Havendale Boulevard Northwest, Winter Haven, Florida 33881
838 6th Street Northwest, Winter Haven, Florida 33881
LVIM - Lakeland Volunteers in Medicine

Lakeland Volunteers in Medicine (LVIM) is a volunteer-run health care center that provides free, high-quality medical, dental, and mental health care to the working uninsured of Polk County.
-Are you a Polk County resident?
-Are you uninsured?
-Is your income below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL)?*
-Are you employed or a full-time student?
If you answered YES to these four questions, we’d love to welcome you to the LVIM Circle of Caring! Please call 863.688.LVIM (x104 or x105) to schedule your eligibility screening today! You can also visit their website for more information.
(*For Example, The income of a family of four cannot exceed $51,500 dollars)

Mulberry Community Service Center

The Mission of the Mulberry Community Service Center is to create financially stable households through financial management education.
What We Offer:
Money Management Education
Free Tax Preparation
Utility Bill Assistance
Rent/Mortgage Assistance
Food Boxes
Clothing/Thrift Store
Medical Assistance
Special Support to Laid Off Workers
School Uniforms/Backpacks/Supplies
Participation in Local Angel Trees
Thanksgiving Meals/Christmas Baskets

Visit the thrift store featuring seasonal decor, household items and more. All proceeds from the thrift store support the community center and the food bank. Accepting food and clothing donations. Clothing donations should be washed and food items should be in date.

Additional opportunities – Volunteer your time. Sort food/clothing, stock shelves, pack and distribute Christmas baskets. Be a Money Coach for families in our Personal Finance Center.

New Life Center for Family Preservation

NLC is open to single, pregnant women and teens (18 and older) in and around Polk County. The focus of the NLC is to meet the needs of the homeless pregnant women and support them in their desire to keep and raise their child¦. changing lives two at a time.

Donate items to the ministry. The wish list can be found at https://www.facebook.com/notes/new-life-center-for-family-preservation-inc/nlc-home-wish-list/914172768601229.

Call or email for the donation location.

Nurse Family Partnership

The Nurse-Family Partnership is a free, voluntary program that partners first-time moms with nurse home visitors. When moms enroll in the program, a specially trained nurse will visit them throughout their pregnancy and until their baby turns two years old. During these visits, the nurse will offer the knowledge and support needed to confidently create a better life for baby and mom.

Peace River Center

Peace River Center provides an array of mental and behavioral health services as well as domestic violence shelters, and a Rape Recovery and Resource Center.

24-hour Crisis Line: (863) 519-3744
Lakeland 24-hour Domestic Violence Line: (863) 413-2700

Services include: Mental health, victim services, substance abuse treatment, crisis services, club success, and more.

Polk HealthCare Plan

The Polk HealthCare Plan (PHP) is for those who are caught in the gap between not qualifying for Medicaid, and not being able to afford market place insurance. While the PHP is not insurance, it is a way for qualifying individuals to get healthcare. IHC manages a provider network for the healthcare plan that includes primary care and specialty care physicians, urgent care centers and five area hospitals. Sponsored services include primary and specialty careservices, routine diagnostic testing, lab, radiology, hospital inpatient, outpatient and emergency services, and a Plan formulary.

Because the PHP is not insurance, participants have no annual deductibles and no claim forms. Most services require a low co-payment, which is collected by the provider.

Only Polk County residents who are not covered by any other health insurance and are not eligible for any other state or federal programs are eligible for the Polk HealthCare Plan.

Talbot House

Talbot House provides help to the homeless and hungry of Polk County through food, shelter, medical and dental care.

The Dream Center of Lakeland

The Dream Center of Lakeland operates a community co-op which provides non-perishable food, clothing, and home goods to those they serve, at no charge. Donations can be made at the Outreach Center at 704 W. 5th Street, Lakeland.
TUE: 10AM-noon & 5:30PM-7PM
WED: 12PM-2PM
THU: 5:30PM-7PM

The Salvation Army

Those struggling to make ends meet will find a helping hand to move them back toward self-sufficiency. During times of disaster, we provide accommodations and a hot meal. Families going through difficult times discover spiritual help from caring Corps Officers and loving support from a community of believers.

Whether it’s a warm blanket, a safe place to stay, The Salvation Army stands ready to share the love of Jesus Christ with everyone. Programs that The Salvation Army offers through their dedicated staff and volunteers include:
PROGRAMS AND SERVICES:
Emergency Financial Assistance
Food Pantry
Disaster Services
Youth Character Building
Worship Services
Holiday Assistance

VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES:
Social Services Office Assistance
Food Pantry
Disaster Services
Red Kettle Campaign
Holiday Assistance

Donations are welcome – needed items include new and gently used linens, school supplies, clothes and shoes, and hygiene items.

2620 Kathleen Road, Lakeland, Florida 33810
1898 U.S. 17, Winter Haven, Florida 33881
Women's Resource Center

Women’s Resource Center of Florida helps women and their families during times of crisis and transition. Services include domestic violence support, crisis intervention, financial fitness classes, interview skills, interview clothing, computer skills, job training, and more.

Donations welcome – diapers and pull-ups, formula, baby wipes, baby shampoo, teething gel, soap, deodorant, bath products, feminine products, toiletries, toothbrush and toothpaste, non-perishable food.

Volunteer opportunities are available – visit the website for details.

Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)

Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) is a nutrition program for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding or who have recently been pregnant, infants & children under age 5. Visit their website or call 1-800-765-5942 to see if you qualify.

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