Hemming Park, by Fran Ruchalski

National Feed the Homeless Day in Hemming Park

Hemming-15842701970_90c568aIn recognition of National Feed the Homeless Day, Hemming Park hosted Jacksonville’s social service partners for an event in the park on Tuesday, December 17 from 10:30 a.m.-4:00 p.m. This will be a yearly event highlighting the social services available to those in need in Jacksonville. All invited organizations have the mission to eradicate homelessness from Jacksonville, and the gathering shows a local, unified face in combatting this national social issue. Through educating the community of the range of services that exist locally for anyone experiencing hunger, homelessness, or in need of services, there are resources and agencies ready to assist. The Sulzbacher Center and Clara White Mission offer meals seven days a week, three times a day, to ensure no one ever needs to go without a meal.

“Clara White believes in partnerships to engage and further build capacity to improve the quality of life for underserved individuals. We value our partnership with Hemming Park and other nonprofits as we identify service gaps as it relates to homelessness in our community,” says Ju’Coby Pittman, president of Clara White Mission.

The agencies were on hand during National Feed the Homeless Day to connect with anyone interested in learning more about services offered in the Jacksonville area. Agencies that will be in attendance include: Lutheran Social Services, The Clara White Mission, The Sulzbacher Center, Jewish Family & Community Services, City Rescue Mission, Salvation ArmyCity Rescue MissionJewish Family & Community Services and Emergency Services Coalition for the Homeless.

“The Sulzbacher Center is proud to partner with Hemming Park, Clara White Mission, Salvation Army and City Rescue Mission who are among the over 100 community organizations that we partner with to eradicate homelessness here in Jacksonville,” says Cindy Funkhouser, president and CEO of The Sulzbacher Center. “Through our joint feeding programs well over 1 Million meals are served in the urban core every year to hungry and homeless individuals. We could not do this without the partnerships in the community including government, businesses, churches and our other non-profit partners-it is only through collaboration among all the sectors that we can and are changing the lives of homeless people in this community”.

“As part of our responsibility to reactivate and program our public square in downtown Jacksonville, community members have asked how we will integrate our plans to create a modern, urban public square with community members who are in need of social services. We are dedicated to transforming the park in a way that is inclusive and diverse,” says Vince Cavin, executive director for Friends of Hemming Park. “As part of our commitment to assisting the jobless and homeless, Friends of Hemming Park has a social worker in the park at least five days a week to help find services for those in need. This daily social services outreach is in conjunction with the Sulzbacher Center, and it exemplifies our mission to actively build cooperation with all of our Jacksonville social service agencies to help the homeless.”


About Friends of Hemming Park: Founded in 2013, Friends of Hemming Park (FOHP) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization established to help revitalize the heart of our city. It has recently been selected by the City of Jacksonville to take over the management of Hemming Park. FOHP is made up of a collaborative team consisting of members with experience in major cultural organizations of Northeast Florida including the Cultural Council, Downtown Vision, Inc. and One Spark, and supported by cultural institutions and downtown business leaders. The organization is dedicated to programming Hemming Park year round to make it clean, safe and attractive as a gathering place and central location for family-friendly activities. Visit www.hemmingpark.org for more information.

About Keith Marks