NORTH FORT MYERS, Fla. — Inside the Watlaodohammavanoo Buddhist Temple in North Fort Myers, locals gather to find what so many us also seek during this time: peace.
Nearly a year ago, Governor Ron Desantis issued a Safer At Home executive order.
But, there were a few exceptions - including houses of worship.
Sandy Manivong is the temple’e secretary, and she tells FOX 4 they’re feeling the impact of the pandemic.
“Nobody want to go to the temple,” Manivong says.
She says attendance is lower and limited to help keep everyone safe.
But as they work to protect people, the 501c3 non-profit is facing challenges of its own.
“We 100 percent depend on donations.”
Due to the pandemic, she says the temple has been unable to host its annual gatherings.
Those events, Manivong says, welcome upwards of 300 guests to the temple’s campus.
“That will leave us (in a) big hole. We are having hard time. Very, very difficult hard time.”
Prior to last year, Manivong says the temple planned to expand on its property.
Those plans are still in the works, but are currently on hold due to Covid-19.
Manivong says she’s not sure how the temple will push through year 2 of the pandemic, but she’s certain that it will continue to share a message of hope.
Despite what comes next for the temple, Manivong shares this message to our community:
“We just have to love and care for each other.”