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Early in 2010, after hearing repeated pleas for services for homeless families in Clay County, leaders of The Mercy Network decided to step out in faith to make provision for them. They began raising funds from local churches and compassionate hearted individuals to accommodate homeless families in local hotels.
Resource Referral Call Center
Following a monthly network meeting, one of Mercy Support Services’ leaders was told by the Community Liaison for Orange Park Medical Center the hospital had empty offices in Fleming Island, where the lease was paid up for 2 more years. The Orange Park Medical Center CEO was approached shortly thereafter and asked to donate the office space to Mercy Support Services. He graciously agreed.
Due to the stress that a person in crisis is under, Mercy Support Services trains volunteers to be their advocates and to help access resources on their behalf. The trained Mercy Care Advocates also oversee case plans, which professional case managers have compiled to help clients become self-sufficient. Mercy Care Mentor Training is done bi-monthly at the offices of Mercy Support Services.
Mercy Community Action Teams
When the Clay County Emergency Management directors heard about the extensive and cohesive networking achievements by Mercy Support Services, they invited Mercy Support Services to be the Emergency Support Function 15 (ESF 15) for Clay County. The ESF 15 coordinates incoming donations and the volunteers who step forward in times of disaster. The ESF 15 coordinates these resources to help the disaster victims on the path to long- term recovery. In order to keep teams of volunteers who are ready to deploy in times of disaster motivated, Mercy Support Services creates opportunities for these teams to serve in ‘blue sky,’ times by doing projects in the community. Examples of community projects are: doing yard work for shut-ins and maintenance for single parents, low income families and the elderly.