Catholic Charities Provides Food to Central Florida for 60 Years
Guest Blog post: Catholic Charities of Central Florida
Have you ever been in a situation where your family was challenged with not having food for a meal?
Not with what to make, but rather is there anything to make.
Imagine the courage it takes for a parent to ask for food assistance, having to humbly request support because they simply can’t provide sufficiently for their family, through no fault of their own. Recognizing the incredible hardships that families and individuals face at times, Catholic Charities of Central Florida has provided food ministries in Central Florida for over 60 years and now responds with Agape Mission Markets, food pantries that endeavor to augment a household food budget through a volunteer-led, staff supported model. During the COVID pandemic, these ministries served as a stop-gap for many families when store shelves were severely depleted or empty. Today, these ministries serve to help families overcome economic uncertainties and food scarcity, helping to meet the most basic of needs in a caring, compassionate way.
Catholic Charities of Central Florida operates three food ministry sites in Polk County with great support from United Way of Central Florida and Publix. The ministry sites are located in Lakeland, Winter Haven and Lake Wales. These ministries seek to address the challenges that families and individuals face because of inflation, financial struggles and related issues. Our goal is to augment a household food budget by providing non-perishable food items, dairy proteins, meats and baked goods that help a family to stretch their food budget further.
Each of these Agape Mission Markets is operated at a local Catholic parish, affording an accessible site in each community with little to no occupancy expense, allowing more of the funds from United Way of Central Florida, Publix and individual donors to go toward the purchase of food. These Agape Mission Markets flourish under the direction of staff who love their work and who are supported by dozens of volunteers at each location who find purpose in supporting families in need.
Since the beginning of the Catholic Charities of Central Florida fiscal year on July 1, 2023 these three Agape Mission Markets in Polk County have served nearly 7,000 Polk County households, with an average of 150 volunteers contributing 400 hours each month to distribute almost 170,000 pounds of food.
Our ministries operate two to three days each week and our work is simply not possible without the amazing involvement of volunteers. If you would like to volunteer at one of our Agape Mission Markets, please contact Ineavelle Colon-Reyes, Manager of Mission Engagement, at IColonReyes@cflcc.org. If you would like to find out more about our Agape Mission Markets, please contact Juan Vega, Director of Food Ministries, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are grateful to United Way of Central Florida, Publix and all of our donors and supporters who embrace the opportunity to serve others through our ministries.
Catholic Charities of Central Florida is a partner agency of United Way of Central Florida providing Agape Mission Markets and Senior Wellness Services to our community.
Thank you, Catholic Charities of Central Florida!