For the week of July 30 through August 4, approximately 120 employees from Florida Hospital Memorial Medical Center put their daily job duties on hold to volunteer at Halifax Urban Ministries, 340 North Street in Daytona Beach.
These employees were supporting Florida Hospital's mission of extending the healing ministry of Christ; this time not inside a hospital, but inside a homeless assistance center. Employees prepped and served meals to 300 to 400 homeless each day for a week.
The meals were made from scratch and featured a different menu each day, including spaghetti, chili, lasagna, and rotisserie chicken.
Those who couldn't step away from their job duties at the hospital during the day, volunteered to go grocery shopping in the evenings, after their regular shifts.
In addition, several hospital employees gave back in a different avenue; several painted the interior of the Star Family Shelter, a shelter that helps families with children get back on their feet.
"Our time with Halifax Urban Ministries was both meaningful and sobering. There are so many needs in our community that need volunteer support and a sustained focus. It was an honor serving," said Daryl Tol, Florida Hospital Memorial Medical Center CEO. "I'm proud of the work that Halifax Urban Ministries is doing. At the hospital, we call our work sacred. So is theirs and participating provides a great personal blessing."
"When you are homeless, people don't even see you, they don't even notice you," said Troy Ray, Halifax Urban Ministries executive director. "There are 5,178 homeless in Volusia County, and over half of those are families."
Halifax Urban Ministries responds to the needs of the hungry, homeless and low income people in Volusia and Flagler counties and provides emergency services to help keep people from becoming homeless. Each year, the homeless assistance center provides approximately 1,450 meals that cost the center about eight cents a plate.
"Partnering with outside organizations like Florida Hospital Memorial Medical Center makes it possible to sustain and do even more," Ray said. "We say our tagline is ‘people matter to God.' Both Florida Hospital and Halifax Urban Ministries are in the mission of not only relieving suffering, but also demonstrating with our actions that God cares about every human being."