The conversation started with a man sitting outside of a restaurant. He was hoping to find a church where he could worship within walking distance of where he lived. He had no car. He had no home. For Steve and Linda Smith, Co-Founders of New Beginnings Ministry of Central Florida, it was that conversation on a cool Sunday morning in January, 2007, that brought to light the great need of resources for the homeless and hungry in the Clermont, FL area.
Research shows that it costs nearly 90% less to prevent an episode of homelessness for a family of 4 then it costs to help the family out of homelessness. It cost on average about $12,000 to get a family out of homelessness and only $1,600 to prevent that same family from becoming homeless.
New Beginnings of Central Florida (www.nbcfl.org) is a faith-based, non-profit organization in Central Florida helping the homeless, hungry and poor to learn how to live a responsible life. New Beginnings can provide a home, food, clothing, professional counseling, job opportunities, spiritual training and mentoring. Above all, they offer hope and encouragement. Since that first conversation, God has been amazing at transforming lives – not only of those in need, but those who support and are involved in New Beginnings.
- So far in 2017, 78,400 pounds of food have been distributed, 3,196 individuals have been helped, 3,478 families have been helped, 14,631 volunteer hours have been worked.
- 2 large homes are available that can accommodate 26 at any one time for those wanting to turn their life around
- 8 affordable housing units are available for families, seniors, veterans, single men and moms with children
- 35 paid caring staff members and over 1,000 volunteers serving annually
- 3 large thrift stores throughout central Florida (Clermont, Winter Garden, and Four Corners) that give away tens of thousands of dollars worth of clothing and household items yearly
- 3 drop-in centers where we help the homeless, hungry and poor of Central Florida
- 3 pantries to help people who are hungry and in need of a hand up – serve over 400 people weekly from the food pantries and the Saturday Helping Hands Outreach program.
New Beginning’s mission is to empower people in need to live a responsible life, and they accomplish this by teaching one to fish rather than by just handing out fish.
We are asking the congregations of our synod to help bless this ministry in three ways prior to the Assembly:
- To bring items from the attached list to the New Beginnings Display area. This has been divided up by Conference.
- To bring gift cards (see the attached list for specific cards/amounts that are needed)
- To bring loose change (that is going towards 100 folding metal chairs they are needing to purchase for their outreach events)
Each congregation may choose to:
- hold a drive for items (or a specific item) from your Conference’s list (find the list of items for each conference to collect HERE)
- put the word out for people to just bring gift cards (we will have a “tree” at the assembly where all the gift cards brought in will be attached!)
- take up a “noisy” offering of loose change during September.
You can do just one, two, or all three! Be creative! Be generous! Be the blessing for this ministry that will change lives for our homeless and hungry right here in Central Florida! And know you are going to make a huge difference in the lives of people who really need to see what the love of Jesus is all about.
There will also be an area for people to make cards and write encouraging notes for those who are recipients of New Beginnings Ministry. Finally, we will have on hand people from this ministry to answer any questions you may have or if you want to learn more about this ministry here in Central Florida.
Thank you in advance for your prayers and support!
Rev Julie Frank, Rev Melinda Plumley, and Rev Stan Reinemund, Service Project Coordinators