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Tue, November 15, 2022 at 7:00 AM


FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., Nov. 15, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Sunshine Health recently awarded $90,000 in Community Connections grants to 18 nonprofit organizations across Florida to address homelessness, food insecurity, mental health, health literacy and more. This is the health plan's third round of Community Connections grants to address social determinants of health (SDoH) in 2022, bringing the total to $300,000. The grants come at a difficult time for Floridians and nonprofits, as many are still recovering from Hurricane Ian. "Like many of our partners, the Sunshine Health team has been in the community assisting with Hurricane Ian relief efforts," said Nathan Landsbaum, Sunshine Health President and CEO. "These groups applied for this round of grants before the storm. We are proud to support them in the aftermath to strengthen the social safety net that keeps our communities strong and healthy." Sunshine Health is committed to improving access to food, jobs, education, housing and other SDoH for all Floridians. Community Connections grants of $5,000 each were awarded to the following community partners:

"The youth athletes we serve rely on the meals we provide before and after the game. It's been a journey to feed them this summer," said Tractice Bright, Pensacola High School Football Booster Club. "We are so grateful that this grant will provide pre-game and post-game meals and snacks twice a week for the kids. They will be so happy."


"I'm so happy, I want to cry. So many need so much. We want to give them hope, and when we say we don't have the money, it's devastating," said Amy Houston, President, Clay City Rescue Mission. "This grant will help us provide hotel stays and food for the homeless and displaced populations that we serve while we locate more permanent housing. We are so thankful."

"Thank you so much for this amazing gift of support that will help us serve 2,000 meals to our Tallahassee neighbors in need of food. We are so very grateful and will be excellent stewards of this gift to assist those that come to Catholic Charities for help," said Bambi Provost, Director of Fund Development, Catholic Charities of Northwest Florida.


"These funds will help support the work that our Trauma Therapy team does to heal children from abuse. Your support is invaluable to Pasco Kids First by helping us turning victims into survivors," said Maria Hixon, Director of Development, Pasco Kids First.


"Receiving the $5,000 grant from Sunshine Health is giving some of our youth a place to call home. It's providing comfort, stability and love during a difficult time," said Shanta Barton-Stubbs, CEO, New Image Youth Center, Orlando. "This is truly the unity we need in our community."

Organizations interested in applying for 2023 Community Connections grants can find details in the Sunshine Health Newsroom beginning in spring 2023, or follow the health plan on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook.

Sunshine Health offers many programs and benefits to reduce the impact of SDoH for its 2.3 million members across Florida, including partnerships with more than 600 community groups.

Sunshine Health's Community Resource Database also connects anyone in needed with community resources and support programs. Floridians also can call the Community Connections Help Line at 1-866-775-2192 to be connected with local resources.


About Sunshine Health

Headquartered in Broward County and with offices across the state, Sunshine Health is among the largest healthcare plans in Florida. Offering coordinated care and a network of support for our members,


Sunshine Health is a wholly owned subsidiary of Centene Corporation, a diversified, multi-national healthcare enterprise. We offer government-sponsored managed care through Medicaid, Long Term Care, the Health Insurance Marketplace (Ambetter), and Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug Plans (Wellcare). Our specialty plans include the Child Welfare Specialty Plan serving children in or adopted from the state's Child Welfare system; the Serious Mental Illness Specialty Plan for people living with serious mental illness; and the Children's Medical Services Health Plan, operated by Sunshine Health on behalf of the Florida Department of Health for children and adolescents with special healthcare needs.

For more information, visit SunshineHealth.com or follow us on Facebook and Twitter @SunHealthFL.

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Updated: Nov 15, 2022

Many of you met Ronshell at this year's breakfast. She was brave enough to share her story with over 200 people in attendance. Ronshell lost her job and struggled to pay her monthly bills. She reached out to Family Promise and received utility assistance so she could remain housed. She now participates in our Circles Stabilization Program. Ronshell spoke of the impact this program has had on her life as well as the lives of her boys.


Circles matches volunteers (Circle Allies) with participants (Circle Leaders) to help Leaders connect to resources, improve their credit, reduce their debt and improve their incomes.

Becca (left) enjoys a moment with Ronshell (right) at the Day Center recently.

Ronshell tells the story of how she couldn't have made it without the support she received. Her Circles ‘family’ has forever changed her life for the better. She's learned how to be independent and learning how to budget and be a great mom. Her Ally, Becca, speaks to the resiliency of Ronshell and comments how she was open and willing to put in the hard work. "I think she's grown tremendously," says Becca.


Life was hard enough and then Hurricane Ian hit. The apartment where Ronshell had been living in for the past seven years was completely flooded. She looked around not knowing where to begin. Mold began to form quickly. Ronshell advocated for herself and had several meetings with the apartment complex. They agreed to move Ronshell and her boys to a hotel until they resolved the issue. Several weeks went by and they realized the gravity of the situation. They decided to move Ronshell to a second story apartment where the flooding would no longer be an issue.


Ronshell continues to work in a school, provide for her boys and her father. She dreams of one day opening her own child care center for children. She continues to work hard everyday in hopes of one day making her dreams a reality.


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Thousands of people in Central Florida are on the verge of homelessness, but one local organization is working to prevent that. By Joe Kepner


Family Promise of Greater Orlando opened its doors back in 200 with a unique approach, working with local faith communities and using their facilities as temporary housing.


However, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, they had to shift their strategy, moving families into hotels.


Now, as more churches reopen their doors, Family Promise says they’re ready to shift back, and are hoping to find even more facilities willing to help.


“It’s such a magic that happens, because they love on our families, and they provide them that fellowship, and meals, and a safe place to be,” Family Promise Executive Director Kathy Southern said. “Right now, we’re in a position where we really are needing to find additional churches and congregations to come on board and support our shelter to get it back up and running.”

Southern says they helped 200 families last year find what she calls a “path towards stability.”


“This isn’t about giving families money and sending them on their way,” Southern said. “This is about helping them on that journey, and guiding them to the resources and supports that they need for that long-term stability.”


Southern also says some of their federal funding from the pandemic will soon come to an end, so it was a cause for celebration when Family Promise learned they’d be receiving $30,000 from the Orlando Magic Youth Foundation.


The donation was a part of the team’s effort to donate to 30 local charities in honor of their 30th anniversary season.


“Being able to have that kind of flexibility in funding to be able to meet families’ needs, and to be able to cover some of those costs that we don’t normally get covered in some of those really particular funding sources is an incredible gift to us,” Southern said.


According to Family Promise, approximately 85-percent of the families they help are able to remain in permanent housing.


For more information on how to help support their mission, click here.

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