A gathering to connect churches and state resources

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The Florida governor’s office tapped Better Together to help kick off 11 events taking place around the state that are aimed at helping government and the faith community work better together in the area of child welfare.

During the first “Gathering of Godly Leaders and Government” at Christ Community Church in Fort Myers on Tuesday, Erik Dellenback, the Faith and Community Based Liaison to the Governor, said his team connects faith leaders to the right helpers in government through Governor Ron DeSantis’ Faith and Community Initiative.

“We are back seats to the work you do, as we want to be your resource,” said Dellenback, who prior to joining the governor’s office served as president and executive director of the Tim Tebow Foundation.

A very easy way for churches to help families, Dellenback said, is to participate in CarePortal.

CarePortal is an app where child welfare investigators and organizations like Better Together post direct, immediate needs, and churches, community groups and other member organizations can respond to those needs in real time.

The needs are often quite simple: a pack of diapers, a crib, a car battery so that a mom or dad can get to work and provide for their family.

“All we want to do is something that matters and lasts,” Dellenback said.

Pastors and other leaders present expressed optimism after the panel.

Dan Johnson, a former police officer who runs the helps ministry at First Assembly of God, said CarePortal is something that can help churches be more effective.

“These are things each person in a church can do,” he said.

McGregor Baptist Church Pastor Wade Harmon said his congregation is already active in several ministries, “but an 800 number is something we could do.”

Dellenback had shared that the Red Phone, (850) 717-9494, puts church leaders directly in contact with the governor’s office, and the Hope Line, (850) 300-HOPE, puts families in contact with a Hope Navigator who can recommend resources and guide parents through struggle.

To learn more about Governor Ron DeSantis’ Faith and Community Initiative or to sign up online, visit faithandcommunityflorida.com.

We are grateful for Christ Community Church in Fort Myers for hosting the event.

“We want to be part of the solution,” said Lead Pastor Chad Woolf, “so we’re always happy to host something like this.”



Posted October 11, 2023

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