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St. Matthew's House continues to feed SWFL as fears surrounding evictions grow

Posted at 7:27 PM, Jun 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-16 19:27:32-04

NAPLES, FL. — The Coronavirus crisis continues to create an increased need for food relief in Southwest Florida.

To help fill the gap, St. Matthew's House has been providing thousands of families with food donations each week.

But now, with the eviction moratorium set to expire on July 1, the organization anticipates the need will continue.

On Tuesday, over 500 families lined up for the St. Matthew's House food drive outside Golden Gate High School in Naples.

One of those families was Gloria Pryer, who says her hours were cut at work since the pandemic began.

"This is really a blessing because there are a lot of families that are in need of food right now during these difficult times," said Pryer.

St. Matthew's house has seen a record-breaking number of families attend their food drives since March.

Vann Ellison, President & CEO of St. Matthew's house, says the number of families the organization typically feeds in a year is what they are now serving monthly.

"A really critical time is hitting starting in July," said Ellison.

The eviction moratorium signed by Governor Ron DeSantis in April is set to expire on July 1.

The moratorium was put in place to protect homeowners and renters from evictions and foreclosures during the coronavirus crisis.

"A lot of the families we work with are getting really concerned [saying] how am I going to make it now," said Ellison.

As many families face the possibility of eviction come July, St. Matthew's House is helping families make ends meet.

"Right now, our biggest focus is food, making sure that if somebody is having to choose between food and paying rent, we're going to help them out with the food resource," said Ellison.

To continue to help families in Southwest Florida, St. Matthew's House says it plans to keep running their food drives with support from the Harry Chapin and Midwest Food Banks.

"Our challenge is to get out there and show the community that we're in this together, and that we care," said Ellison.

St. Matthew's House holds food drives at Golden Gate High School on Tuesdays from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m, and on Thursdays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the First Baptist Church of Naples.

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