We all know someone who’s making a difference. Let’s help share these amazing stories! Presented by Ring.
SARASOTA, FL — When times are tough, heroes emerge. We all know someone who’s making a difference right now as we live through unprecedented and changing times.
Here at Patch, we’ve launched an initiative to help recognize these heroes making a difference in their communities. Together with Ring, we’re working to let all your neighbors know about these outstanding people and their stories.
This submission comes from an unidentified reader who nominated Harvest House for the recognition. This reader also volunteers for the nonprofit.
Name: Harvest House
Hero’s work: Harvest House provides human services including food pantry, homelessness prevention and assistance for families and young adults, addiction recovery for single adults and veterans.
Relationship to nominee: Volunteer
Reason for recognition: Throughout the entire pandemic, Harvest House has not closed their doors or diminished services. Instead, they’ve ramped up services to meet the growing needs of their growing client base without fear of the future.
At the heart of the organization’s community services, Harvest House provides supportive emergency and transitional housing to homeless families, veterans, youth, and adults with a history of addiction and incarceration, said Erin Minor, executive director. In addition to offering around 400 bed to individuals in need, the nonprofit also operates 25 affordable rental units for low-income families that qualify for HUD assistance, she added. The goal is to provide stable housing to vulnerable members of the community.
“It’s a therapeutic environment. When people are in crisis, when they’re homeless, often they don’t feel safe, they don’t have adequate food, often there’s a mental health component of crisis, maybe the kids don’t go to school regularly,” Minor said. “We’re on the ground in the trenches working with people who are in the middle of crisis providing them with a safe place to sleep, keeping them hydrated, keeping them fed and offering them some peaceful rest.”
As a community resource, Harvest House also connects these individuals they need to get them back on their feet. This includes everything from life skills classes to support groups to journaling classes.
“Basically, all different ways to engage the whole person to a place of health and wellness,” she said.
The also organize outings and lessons for families and others they work with “to give them a broader scope of the possibilities in life,” Minor said. Often, these families don’t have the funds to provide extracurricular activities such as cultural outings, sports and lessons.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Harvest House staff saw a decrease in the need for emergency housing because of the statewide eviction moratorium, she said. But there was an increased need for mental health and addiction services.
“This is driving people crazy,” she said “Think about how much we have all suffered through this. Then you put those at-risk factors (of addiction and mental health needs) in there we’ve seen increased anxiety with our clients. Think about the isolation and how difficult that can be with people on the brink.”
There’s currently a waiting list for its addiction program and emergency shelter.
While Harvest House is holding off on activating its volunteers to assist in person, the organization seeks monetary donations for its various programs, including its off-campus outings. Those interested in supporting the nonprofit might also consider holding a donation drive for items like bedding and pillows, Minor said, With the turnover in emergency shelters, they go through these items quickly.
Learn more about Harvest House online .
Thank you for all you do, Harvest House!
>> Do YOU have a local hero you would like us to know about? . Read about other heroes from across Florida here.
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