Big News!

Two women sit in chairs on stage

Share this post!

Better Together is expanding!

Thanks to an incredibly supportive and energized congregation at Church of Hope in Ocala, Better Together is establishing a new region: North Central Florida.

It’s a big step toward serving all of Florida within the next five years with a mission to end the foster care crisis in the Sunshine State. We started out in the Naples-Fort Myers area in 2015 and gradually grew into Sarasota, Manatee, Tampa Bay and Jacksonville, serving families in 15 counties.

That number is growing to include Marion County and others in the region as we build a staff and team of volunteers to serve North Central families.

Church of Hope and the Ocala company Tri-Eagle Sales kickstarted the expansion. The beverage wholesaler pledged the funds needed to expand the program into North Central Florida, and the church rallied with numerous volunteers. In just one Sunday, more than 100 people at the church signed up to volunteer with Better Together. It’s a great start to a powerful statement—that the church and volunteers can change the world.

“We are leveraging our lives, partnering with people to discover that in Christ there’s hope. We’re choosing to love God and love people,” Pastor Mark Cummins told his congregation as he introduced Better Together CEO Megan Rose to his congregation that Sunday.

The church’s mission is to bring hope to people. “We are going to partner with families here in the Central Florida region that are kind of on the edge. They’ve got some struggles, some potential setbacks that maybe if there’s not some kind of hope brought to them, their children might end up in a foster home,” he said. “We’d rather see those children remain in their families. We want to strengthen the family. And that’s exactly the purpose and the mission and the vision of Better Together.”


The Ocala region’s pastoral views belie the great need in the region. Circuit 5 of the Department of Children and Families, which serves Marion, Lake, Sumter, Citrus and Hernando counties, reported an average of 71 children entering out-of-home care each month in 2022. Nearly half of those children were in Marion County, home to Ocala.

Most of these removals are preventable. Most—60% in July—were due to parental drug abuse, 19% to alcohol abuse and 14% to inadequate supervision.

Together, the church and community can reduce this need. The Better Families program pairs struggling parents with host families and mentors to help strengthen families and prevent the need for foster care. Our Better Jobs program helps the 76% of families we serve whose root cause of their crisis is a lack of employment.

“When parents fall into crisis, fully screened and trained volunteers host children in their homes while mentoring parents toward stability. This includes help with finding a job, securing housing, child care, treatment and more,” said Megan Rose, CEO of Better Together. “The need is great, and we are excited to come alongside local partners to help change the trajectory for the Ocala community and its people.”

If you, your church or your organization would like to get involved, or you’re simply curious and want to meet our team, please join us for an informational meeting Tuesday, September 13 at Church of Hope, 3233 SE Maricamp Road, Ocala, FL 34471. The meeting will run from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. and light refreshments will be served.

We look forward to meeting you!

The Better Together Team


LEARN MORE: Better Together posts four job openings in North Central Florida


Share this post!

We are Participating in Give4Marion, and Need Your Support!

Join us for a 33-hour campaign dedicated to raising money and awareness for nonprofit organizations doing good in Marion County. Fundraising kicks off today and ends at 7 p.m. tomorrow.