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HUM helps families end year on high note

HUM helps families end year on high note

e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service

HUM helps families end year on high note

Jan. 12, 2006 News media contact: Tita Parham* 
800-282-8011  Orlando {0426}

An e-Review Feature
By Jenna De Marco**

DAYTONA BEACH — Kids get a chance to visit with Santa Claus while their parents pick up Christmas dinners at Halifax Urban Ministries here. Photo by Troy Ray, Photo #06-295. Web photo only.

Santa Claus showed up just before Christmas for some special deliveries at Halifax Urban Ministries (HUM) in Daytona Beach.
Santa and many other volunteers at HUM made the holiday merrier for about 800 families by giving each of them a Christmas dinner valued at about $25. Children from those families also received Christmas gifts, and HUM volunteers and staff threw a Christmas party for the kids while their parents picked up the meals.

HUM serves homeless and low-income residents of Volusia and Flagler counties. It is an outreach ministry of the Florida Conference that's supported by United Methodist churches and many other groups and congregations of other denominations.
"At holidays we try to help families have a holiday meal and we provide meal packages that include turkey (or) ham," said Troy Ray, HUM's executive director.
The meals included $10 grocery gift cards for turkeys. The gift cards were distributed in Daytona, Ormond and New Smyrna beaches and donated by a local businessman who wished to remain anonymous. The remainder of the meal included such side dishes as stuffing, potatoes and cranberry sauce.

Santa Claus was a featured guest at the Christmas party.
"One of our volunteers does Santa Claus every year," Ray said. "He came and sat in a chair in our driveway, and he met and greeted at least a hundred children."
Ray called seeing the results of this ministry "precious." He said reactions from the recipients included tears, impromptu prayers and praise.
"(The children) are getting something that they never expected," Ray said. "Those are the kind of events that raise the morale of the staff and volunteers."
Leslie Scavone, HUM's volunteer coordinator, said they focused particularly on getting donated items for children older than 12, may of whom may not have received gifts from other community toy distributions.
"With the peer pressure (in schools), the older-children focus was big — new coats and new school supplies," she said.
Scavone said teens also received compact disc players and fashion jewelry. About two dozen volunteers showed up for a party to wrap the hundreds of donated toys.
"Toys were categorized by age, and they were all over the building," Ray said.
HUM volunteers pre-registered the families who received the dinners on a first-come, first-served basis. Many of them were regular guests served by HUM, according to Ray.
"The basis of our ministry is demonstrating to people that they matter to God by providing for their most basic needs," he said.
HUM also provides a cold-weather shelter; a regular shelter for single, homeless men; emergency financial assistance with rent and utilities; food bags for families in need; daily hot meals; and traveler's aid for people who need to return to another community.

Ray said HUM has a budget of about $1 million. Cash support comes from the Florida Conference, churches, private individuals, businesses, organizations, memorial gifts, endowments, grants and United Way.

For more information about HUM visit its Web site at


This article relates to Christmas Outreach.

*Parham is managing editor of e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.
**De Marco is a freelance writer based in Viera, Fla.