Nonprofit Spotlight: Hand Up To Victory

In this week's Bradenton Nonprofit Spotlight, we're excited to hear from Hand Up to Victory. Here's what they had to say.

What is your mission, and how do you support people in our community?

“Our mission is to give a hand up out of the depths of addiction to an abundant life.”

Hand Up To Victory is a next-step choice for individuals with a desire to successfully recover from Substance Use Disorder. These individuals are being released from jail, detox, rehabilitation centers or are homeless and living on the streets. They have no one to help them, no safe place to live, no clothing, no hygiene items, and no food. Without stability, these individuals find it difficult, if not impossible, to find or maintain employment due to not having the basic means of survival and often, an extensive criminal history.

Can you tell us a bit about your organization’s background?

Our Founder and Executive Director, Justin Halas, was a 15-year drug addict himself. He has currently been clean and sober for almost 9 years. While going through the recovery process himself, he saw there was a missing piece.

Justin knew that we can offer recovery meetings, free food, clothing, and job opportunities all day long – but if these individuals have no safe, sober place to live, when the day is done, they are left with no other option to return to homelessness.

Without our help, these individuals will eventually return to the same places they were living and using substances. Being around others who are actively using, they find it impossible to continue to withstand the temptation to use drugs and eventually will return to substance use.

If they do not overdose, resulting in their untimely death, they will quickly return to a life of crime to fund their addiction – which will inevitably lead them back to jail. This vicious cycle leaves them feeling completely hopeless.

How does Hand Up to Victory help?

We have direct contact with many well-managed Sober Transitional Living facilities in Manatee and Sarasota Counties. We have an intake process that consists of answering a few questions to help us know more about who they are, what they struggle with the most, and where they are mentally, physically, and emotionally.

Because we work closely with our approved transitional homes, we are aware of the rules and guidelines for each one, as they differ. This information helps us place struggling individuals in what we believe will be the best living situation for them to find personal growth. We will then locate a suitable bed at one of our approved Sober Transitional houses, set up the arrival process, and fund the first week’s fees for them.

This process is typically accomplished in 2 to 3 phone calls. Once placed into their new temporary home, individuals are invited to join us at our High on Jesus Recovery meeting. They are informed that at this weekly meeting they can get a hot meal, bags of free food, clothing, hygiene items, and an amazing message of recovery.

These meetings are held every Wednesday night and individuals are welcome to the free items after every meeting. After the first week, our client is told to call in to request their second week’s fees. They go through a secondary interview process so that we can see if the individual needs additional services such as employment resources.

As long as the individual is making an effort to find what works for them in their recovery and most importantly, they are staying completely sober, Hand Up To Victory will pay for a second week’s fees. This gives them time to secure employment and hopefully a first paycheck, so they can continue to pay their housing fees on their own once our commitment to them has been satisfied.

Individuals who do not currently have active cell phones are also eligible for our cell phone program, as they are needed today for contact with potential employers in order to secure employment.

What can our community do to support your mission?

It takes about $500 to put one individual completely through our program. Donations can be made through our website at

Clothing, shoe, and hygiene donations are needed and greatly appreciated. Please call 941-782-9482 to set up donations of these kinds of items.

We encourage all to join us to see the work we do at our Wednesday night High on Jesus Meetings. Dinner is served at 6:30 pm and the meeting starts at 7 pm and ends at 8:30 pm. The meeting is located in the fellowship hall of First United Methodist Church located at 603 11th St W Bradenton, FL

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