Local groups need help feeding families

Posted at 4:44 PM, Mar 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-26 14:55:50-04

SOUTHWEST, Fla. — “We’re seeing an increase of people being unemployed, and seeking a hot meal.”

Many Southwest Floridians know the financial impact of COVID-19.

Organizations throughout our area are working to help out during this time.

But, Nina Hart from the Cafe of Life says some are having difficulties keeping up with the need.

“It’s increasing and our inventory is decreasing,” Hart said.

The organization has helped to feed people in the Southwest Florida community for 21 years.

Among their targeted communities, the elderly, those living in rural areas of Bonita Springs and migrant communities.

Hart says she’s seen the need increase by 20%.

The group works to serve families at Riverside Park in Bonita Springs.

According to Hart, they normally serve between 60 - 75 meals.

But, recently she says they’ve been running out of food to share.

“We’ve seen an increase of people who are unemployed and seeking for a hot meal,” Hart says.

But, her group is not alone.

“We’re seeing more and more people starting to come to the pantry needing groceries.”

Van Ellison is the President and CEO of St. Matthew’s House.

The nonprofit serves our community through a variety of ways, including fighting homelessness and hunger. Familiar with the impact a sudden change in income can have, Ellison explains the current reality for many people.

“There are people today who are going to have to choose between paying a bill, or paying their mortgage,” he tells FOX 4.

This reality keeps both groups (and many more) fighting.

That’s why they’re turning to you for help.

Groups like these need your donations to help provide hot meals, and keep their pantries stocked.

Items they need include canned goods and non-perishables.

Of course, concerns of coronavirus have changed some of their operations.

That’s why the cafe is now serving their meals in to-go boxes.

But both say donation arrangements can be made.

Either way, these groups say they’re going to continue to serve.

“There are people that are struggling…that are hungry,” Hart says.

Ellison says those people won’t be forgotten.

“We still feel compelled to help them out.”

To learn more about the organizations and their needs, click the following links:

Cafe of Life
St. Matthews' House

To learn more about the thousands of nonprofits in Southwest Florida and ways to get involved, click here.