Why We Exist:
There are many kinds of poverty- financial, spiritual, relational- just to name a few. Heart for Winter Haven exists to connect all sectors of our city (churches, businesses, non-profits and city leadership) to alleviate poverty, in all its forms. We do this by utilizing a comprehensive community development strategy that emphasizes strengthening families through employability, housing stability and emotional/mental health support, all surrounded by faith affirming initiatives.
The Non-Profit Community in Winter Haven is splintered, rendering us less effective and, in many ways, ineffective. Due to a lack of collaboration and unifying strategy among our organizations, people needing help often continue to suffer needlessly in poverty.
“Poverty is rooted in broken relationships, so the solution to poverty is rooted in the power of Jesus' death and resurrection to put all things in right relationship again.” (Fikkert)
Since 2014, Heart for Winter Haven has worked to strengthen relationships and encourage collaboration among the various sectors of our city. Some of the initiatives used in this effort include:
- Jobs for Life: Working with area churches, businesses, non-profits (and even the Polk County Sheriff’s Department), unemployed and underemployed men and women are being equipped to find purposeful work and financial stability.
- The Housing Partnership of Winter Haven: In partnership with The City of Winter Haven, the Winter Haven/Downtown CRA and area non-profits, families are being strengthened and provided help with eviction prevention and housing stability.
- The Center for Well-Being: Individuals are able to receive free and low-cost mental health counseling. In addition, by providing supervision to dozens of mental health interns at no cost, free counseling is also available at partner agencies.
- Scholarship House: Collaborating with local businesses, non-profits and civic organizations on renovation efforts, we have developed a housing program for homeless college students in partnership with a local area church.
- Faith & Finances: Faith-centered financial education for people in low-income situations, with training that equips participants to address obstacles that keep them trapped in poverty: predatory lending, poor credit, low financial literacy and broken relationships.
We believe each person has inherent worth and value, as we are all created in the image of God. Our desire is for all people to see poverty in light of broken relationships, and to see themselves as restorative healers, binding the brokenhearted. You can join us in making a difference in our community by: praying for the people of our city, volunteering in one of our programs and/or donating resources or financial support to sponsor a program, participating in an event like our annual banquet or golf tournament, offering housing/support for homeless families and students, or by making a general donation to Heart for Winter Haven. We believe God has called us to carry His image to marginalized people so that they too can experience lifetransforming enrichment and restoration as fellow image bearers.
Why Do We Do This?
“But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.” Jeremiah 29:7