NewsPolk County


Project Park Bench receives overwhelming donations to help the homeless in Winter Haven

Posted at 6:56 PM, Dec 24, 2021

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. — A Winter Haven nonprofit is remembering people experiencing homelessness this holiday.

Situated right in the middle of Salon Ashanti is a park bench.

“I had a vision and the vision that God gave me was to put a park bench in the center of the salon and just invite people to come in and give,” said Twanna Dewdney, Founder of Project Park Bench and owner of Salon Ashanti.

That’s how the nonprofit, Project Park Bench, was born. Every winter they collect donations to help those experiencing homelessness.

“They donate jackets, blankets, nonperishable food items, toiletries, handbags, shoes, you name it,” Dewdney said.

This year donations have been through the roof. Dewdney is normally done collecting items at the end of November and delivers them to The Mission of Winter Haven for Thanksgiving.

On Christmas Eve, she made a second trip to The Mission to deliver another load of donations just in time for Christmas.

“To have our community that comes together and not just times like this during the holidays but throughout the year. Especially after the past 18-24 months that we’ve had in a pandemic, our community has shown up like never before,” said David Berry Executive Director of The Mission of Winter Haven.

Because of the outpouring of generosity, those struggling with homelessness are not forgotten, especially on Christmas.

“When we take the generosity of our community and match that to those that are in need. It's Christmas every day,” Berry said.