In 1983, the religious pastoral community in Marion County saw a need to provide emergency assistance to individuals and families in crisis. With a minimal group of workers, Interfaith Emergency Services was given birth. For more than 3 decades, Interfaith has continued to serve the people of Marion County with sincere Christian love and caring devotion.
Interfaith is governed by a Board of Directors with representatives from clergy, social services, business and other community leaders, who volunteer their expertise and leadership to obtain our goal of offering assistance and comfort to those who have fallen between the cracks of the social service system. The Board of Directors ensure the ethical practices of our non-profit as well as the financial sustainability of the organization.
Our staff is comprised of a CEO who oversees the organization and secures the funding and resources for the daily operations. Our ministry areas are directly overseen by dedicated Interfaith staff. With less than 30 employees, many of which are part time, they work together to create a positive, Christ-centered environment.
A list of Interfaith leadership:
- Karla Grimsley, Chief Executive Officer
- Sonya Tyler, Director of Operations and Development
- Jessica Rodriguez, Director of Ministries
- Kayla Hess, Finance Manager
- Steve Clem, Food Distribution Manager
- Koya Harris-Beard, Intake Manager
- Karen Fant, Food 4 Kids Manager
- Shannon Pickering, Thrift Store Manager
- Diane Coleman, Center for Life Manager
- Tina Reid, Volunteer Coordinator
However, the real workforce of Interfaith is made up of over 200 dedicated volunteers. Our volunteers help manage the daily donations of food, clothing and other items as well as process clients to maximize the number of people we are able to serve.
Interfaith has satellite outreach centers in remote parts of the county including Reddick, Fellowship, Ft. McCoy, Marion Oaks, Dunnellon and Pedro to eliminate the hardship for some to get to the main downtown location.
Interfaith Emergency Services provides a full range of services and assistance for residents of Marion County. We serve individuals and families in need. Clients are referred to Interfaith by churches, synagogues, public services agencies or word of mouth. We provide basic needs such as food, clothing, shelter, medications, hygiene items and much more to enhance the quality of life and ease the burden for those in financial distress. Our clients are those experiencing homelessness, senior citizens, veterans, people with disabilities and the under-employed.
On an annual basis, Interfaith Emergency Services through outreach and services touch the lives of approximately 30,000 people in Marion County. Interfaith does not discriminate against race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age or disabilities in hiring practices or provision of services.
Interfaith Emergency Services is a community of faith called by God to offer emergency assistance without judgment to all persons in Marion County.
Interfaith strives to be the solution for many Marion County residents in financial distress. For those in need of shelter we want to provide a safe place for them to stay while we support them in regaining their self-sufficiency. We also serve thousands of people and families each year with grocery assistance which allows them to use their resources to pay for rent and utilities when they don’t have enough to make ends meet.
For those in need of food, clothing, shelter, identification cards, prescription medications hygiene items, or eye glasses, Interfaith is the solution. Our goal is simple – to help as many people in the community as we can, with the resources we receive. Interfaith relies 100% on donations to fund our programs and services. We are supported by local individuals, businesses, churches and organizations through financial and physical donations. For over 3 decades, our organization has made a positive, lasting impact on our community by meeting these critical needs. We continue to reach out to our community to maintain a lasting relationship with donors and provide the most effective emergency services to people who are struggling in our community. It is our hope that the Marion County community sees us as the solution for those in need.
Interfaith understands that partnering with our local community is crucial if we are to meet the needs of our most vulnerable citizens.
- Through our “Bring the Harvest Home” program, we seek to partner with local business, neighborhoods and churches that hold food drives throughout the course of the year. By assigning a monthly commitment from local partners, we are guaranteed an influx of donations each month to meet the demand for those looking to us for help.
- Financially, one of our greatest tools is our monthly newsletter. Currently our newsletter is mailed to over 2,600 subscribers and 825 email subscribers, from which 52% of our donations are received from enclosed donor envelopes.
- With nearly 2,100 followers, our Facebook page is also a great tool for reaching out to the local community when a specific need arises or to advertise for special events.
- Interfaith also understands the need to make it easy for donors to make financial contributions so we offer online donation opportunities including the ability to set up a monthly recurring donation. Afterall, the need occurs every month of the year.
- Interfaith operates a Thrift Store to generate funds for prescription medication assistance as well as provide quality merchandise at low prices. The Thrift Store also has it’s own Facebook page.
- The best way to convey the need and the good work that we do is to offer a tour of our campus including our food pantry, Food 4 Kids warehouse, our homeless shelter and the Center for Life clinic. To request a tour contact our CEO, Karla Grimsley, at 352-629-8868 ext. 219.
With just 26 staff members we rely largely on our volunteers for our workforce. Our volunteers are connected throughout our community and help spread the word when we have special needs or events. Likewise, our Board Members are a wide variety of local professionals that step up to assist us.
We are fortunate to be supported by several local government officials and can often reach out to them when a critical need arises and they call the community into action. Also, our local newspaper helps by sharing the information when food supplies are low and to highlight special events. Many of our staff members and volunteers are connected through local clubs and organizations throughout the community, so that we can leverage those relationships to benefit our organization. Together, our staff, board and volunteers work to connect the local community to our mission and serve those that need our help.