What Are we Up To?
One Wednesday a month we provide a homemade meal for the middle school Bible study night at SOZO Missions, which is housed in the OASIS Community Center in Samoset. In addition to making sure each student receives dinner that evening, we also send them home with extra meals to share with family members or enjoy themselves later in the week. We also sponsor one student each summer so he/she is able to attend SOZO’s amazing summer camps and programs. This summer or fall, we will host a yard sale to generate funds for SOZO and OASIS. We are accepting donations and will keep you posted on the date of the sale. (The health risks presented by COVID-19 have prevented us from setting a date at this time.)
One Sunday a month we visit the main SCAT Transfer Station at 105 North Lemon Avenue in Sarasota to provide: homemade meals, cold drinks, portable snacks, hygiene kits, bicycles, bedrolls, and other essentials to our homeless neighbors. While distributing meals and supplies, we also pray and enjoy fellowship with small groups and individuals. Furthermore, we often try to fulfill additional needs brought to our attention, like providing a much-needed pair of shoes or using our network of supporters to gather household supplies for someone who has recently secured housing. (On average, we prepare 110 meals for each outing. During the extraordinary circumstances created by COVID-19, we visited the station every Sunday for six weeks to be certain our homeless neighbors had meals, bottled water, masks, and hygiene products.)
Our special efforts in the community include:
On November 7, we hosted a yard sale to benefit the children and teens of SOZO Missions and raised $1,600. We did not keep a single dime for ourselves, so they now have funds for special projects and/or their summer programs.
Our Giving Tuesday Facebook Challenge was a huge success. Thanks to the generosity of many benevolent folks, we were gifted over $2,600. We will use it to spread Christmas cheer to individuals and families experiencing food insecurity and/or homelessness in our area.
This December we will be surprising our elderly neighbors with cleaning and hygiene products along with groceries through a special project we're calling "Holiday Hugs." Many of these seniors have been homeless in the past or are at risk of homelessness. It is our sincere hope these "hugs" will ease their mind and lift their spirits during this difficult time.
We also plan to provide Christmas gifts to our neighbors who are homeless at our SCAT station outing. We will give each person a tote bag filled with hygiene products, a poncho, and portable snacks as well as a traditional holiday lunch.
We were just awarded a grant in the amount of $2,000 from the Women's Ministry at Sarasota's Church of the Redeemer that will allow us to provide basic clothing items, shoes, and work boots for our homeless neighbors. We currently provide these items to individuals who reach out with a need, but now we will be able to do so on a much larger scale. We are very honored and excited to have this tremendous opportunity!