One-stop shop for social services expands to Cattleman’s Hall.
About 200 families on average visit Access Flagler First, which offers social services to Flagler County’s poor and homeless, the first Friday of every month.
Previously held at the Flagler County Extension Services building, the event moved to Cattleman’s Hall at the Flagler County Fairgrounds, Friday, Jan. 6, to accommodate the growing attendance.
“It’s one-stop shopping for the services that are here, in Flagler,” said the Rev. Charles Silano, of Grace Tabernacle Ministries, who organizes the event. “Most people don’t even know (the services) exist and they can’t afford to get there. It’s an all-day thing for them to get around.
“This offers them the opportunity to access all that Flagler has to offer.”
Residents who attend are given a bag of groceries and are able to shop tables of donated clothes for free.
Attendees are asked to fill out a survey, and they have the option of meeting with a Mobile Benefits specialist, but there are no strict criteria for attendance.
“If they need it,” Silano said. “They wouldn’t be here unless they really did.”
To ensure that those who are in need make it to the event, Flagler County Transportation has joined the effort, offering rides to people from pickup points in Daytona North and from the Wickline Center, in Flagler Beach. Silano said they are working on adding an additional pickup in the Hammock.
“People need treatment, and they’re coming out of the woodwork to get it,” he added.
In addition to food and clothes, flu shots and haircuts are also offered at most events.
At least one success story has come out of the services offered. A man who attended every month had been battling cancer for 10 years. Over time, Silano said, volunteers were able to gain his trust, and through the service connections offered at the event, the man is now being treated at Shands Jacksonville.
“There is a tremendous amount of giving happening in this community,” said volunteer Teri King, as she folded clothes.
In addition to rehabilitation, homeless and advocacy services already offered, volunteer John Cignarelli said there is strong need for an ophthalmologist and a nutritionist.
Shoes, children’s clothing, jackets, blankets and pillows are also needed and can be dropped off at Grace Community Food Pantry, which is behind Flagler Palm Coast High School. Call 586-2653.
SERVICES OFFERED BY ...
Alcohol and Narcotics Anonymous, Adult and Community Education, Alpha Pregnancy Center, the Family Life Center, One Stop Employment, Senior Services, Children’s Advocacy Center, Flagler Cats, Human Services, Elder Source, Disabled American Veterans, Coalition for the Homeless, Stewart Marchman, Magellan Behavioral Health, Department of Children and Families, Florida Kidcare, Flagler County Health Department, Alzheimer’s Resource Council, Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida Inc., Employ Florida, National Alliance on Mental Illness, Division of Blind Services.