FFP Helps Florida Catholic Charities Cope with Coronavirus

COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (June 26, 2020) – A recent surge in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations in Florida is putting more pressure on organizations that serve the state’s most vulnerable communities.

Food For The Poor, its longtime partner Matthew 25: Ministries and the Knights of Columbus Florida State Council have teamed up this week to assist Catholic Charities throughout the state with tractor-trailer loads of essential goods.

"These items will be utilized to help COVID-19 affected people and those that are in need every day," said Disaster Preparedness & Relief Manager Andy Cornett, of Catholic Charities of Northwest Florida. "We are in a potentially vulnerable hurricane location. Hurricane Michael of 2018 devastated our area, our neighbors, our friends. With donations such as this, we no longer are reactive, but we can now be proactive."

Volunteers from Catholic Charities of Northwest Florida, in Panama City, unloaded a 53-foot tractor-trailer packed with cleaning supplies, personal care items, wipes, diapers and paper products. Some of the items will be saved for hurricane provisions for residents in need in the Florida Panhandle.

It was a similar scene at the Catholic Charities facility in Orlando. Many in the region whose livelihood depends on tourism are being severely affected by coronavirus.

David Ell, Chief Operating Officer of Catholic Charities of Central Florida Inc., called their gift of support a blessing.

"Thanks to this gracious donation, we will be able to meet the basic needs of many throughout this community," Ell said. "We also are facing a storm season that has already produced three named storms. We are now prepared to meet what lies ahead for Central Florida, while simultaneously being able to meet the immediate needs of the community."

Food For The Poor primarily works internationally, but the charity is acutely aware of the difficulties some Florida families are having. Some cannot afford to buy basic supplies.

"The mission of Catholic Charities is to provide service to people in need, to advocate for justice in social structures, and to call the entire church and other people of goodwill to do the same," Food For The Poor President/CEO Ed Raine said. "We understand that we cannot fix all of the problems happening at once, but we are striving to do our best to offer some relief with the support of our great partnerships and generous donors."

There are communities in rural Florida towns whose residents desperately need essential supplies. Some places in the Tampa Bay area, in northern Pinellas County, are home to seasonal migrant laborers and their families. Many are having a tough time finding work as a result of the coronavirus, and don’t have the money to buy day-to-day basics.

"We are grateful to Food For The Poor and Matthew 25: Ministries for donating household items during this pandemic; it will contribute greatly to the success of our ministry," said Executive Director Maggie Rogers, of Catholic Charities of St. Petersburg.

Some of the most vulnerable residents in South Florida are those who live and work in Palm Beach County’s agricultural communities.

"There are a lot of people who need help. We serve 27 food pantries and that includes Belle Glade; everything we get stays local," said Kate Devine, President of St. Vincent de Paul District Food Program of Palm Beach County.

Volunteers with the Knights of Columbus unloaded the 53-foot container, packed with pallets of supplies, which was delivered to the St. Francis of Assisi Church in Riviera Beach, Fla. Another group of volunteers in Humvees drove half of the pallets to St. Mary’s Catholic Church, in Pahokee, Fla., which serves a large agricultural community in western Palm Beach County.

"There’s joy that comes from giving that in itself is a gift from God," said Alex Stevens, Associate Director of Catholic Charities Diocese of Palm Beach, Inc. "We pray that all of our partners experience that joy."

To see Food For The Poor giving locally, click: www.FoodForThePoor.org/rivierabeachdelivery.

Food For The Poor, one of the largest international relief and development organizations in the nation, does much more than feed millions of the hungry poor primarily in 17 countries of the Caribbean and Latin America. This interdenominational Christian ministry provides emergency relief assistance, clean water, medicine, educational materials, homes, support for orphaned and abandoned children, care for the aged, skills training and micro-enterprise development assistance. For more information, please visit www.FoodForThePoor.org.

Wanda Wright

Public Relations
954-427-2222 x 6079