News Releases

May 26, 2016 - Catholic Charities Expands into Sumter County with Grant from United Way

Leesburg, FL – On May 24, the United Way of Lake and Sumter Counties presented Emergency Family Services (EFS), a program of Catholic Charities of Central Florida (CCCF), a check in the amount of $30,000, a capacity grant to underwrite the cost of hiring a part-time caseworker to help manage Catholic Charities expansion into Sumter County. EFS helps those who are facing financial emergencies such as job loss, medical expenses, major car repairs, a divorce or other unexpected expenses due to natural disasters or death in the family. Through Catholic Charities, EFS provides vital social services to people in need, regardless of their religious, social or economic background.

The partnership began in May of 2015, when the United Way, whose mission is to unite people and resources to build a stronger community, joined forces with CCCF. According to Barbara Crewell, United Way Community Services Director, the United Way was looking for a service provider to handle their case management. Catholic Charities was asked to manage this because of its thorough vetting process and high standards.  The partnership increased CCCF’s caseload from about 400 cases per year to 800 cases per year, all supported out of the Leesburg office located on the campus at St. Paul Catholic Church.

“It was only right that we would help put another person in there to help take care of the job. This is now an added tool to help manage the volume. We want to provide for any obstacle in taking care of families,” Crewell said.

United Way, Interim CEO, Dr. Alan Holden, commented on the partnership saying, ”We are excited to partner with Catholic Charities. They do an amazing job of caring for the people as well as checking up on their stories and making sure that they network with other organizations to make the money and their resources stretch as far as they possibly can.”

The new part-time caseworker, Mary Lou Mroczkowski,  will work out of the Lazarus Free Medical Clinic located at the San Pedro Jesus Maldonado Mission Church in Wildwood and she will hopefully set up other satellite offices at nearby parishes. The capacity grant includes mileage so that Mroczkowski can travel to clients. The inclusion of mileage in the grant will enable CCCF to better serve its clients in both counties.

“This partnership is a genuine collaborative effort between church and community. One plus one equals more than two because there is a synergy that happens with collaboration,” said Alan Rettig, Director of Preventing Homelessness at Catholic Charities.

About Catholic Charities

The mission of Catholic Charities of Central Florida is to provide vital social services for people in need regardless of their religious, social, or economic background, to improve lives of individuals, families and the community.

About the United Way

United Way’s mission is to unite people and resources to build a stronger community by empowering individuals and improving lives, while striving for IDEALS that facilitate lasting, positive change.

April 27, 2016 - Agape Food Bank Prevents Childhood Hunger with Help From $15,000 grant

Established in 2012, SmilePak serves more than 1,100 children in Polk County who would otherwise go hungry on the weekends when free school lunches are not available. Recognizing the impact that SmilePak is having on the lives of children, the Givewell Community Foundation announced on April 18 that it has approved a $15,000 grant through the George W. Jenkins Fund to support the continued operation of SmilePak in 20 of Polk County’s poorest schools.

The funds will cover a portion of the food that is purchased for the program and also help with costs for transporting food to the schools.

“The GiveWell Community Foundation and its donors look for ways to make a positive difference in our community,” said Terry W. Simmers, President/CEO of GiveWell Community Foundation. “Supporting SmilePak through this grant is a great way to help our county’s children and their families.”

The SmilePak program is an essential source of nutritious food for Polk County’s hungry children and their families. While these children receive free meals at school Monday-Friday, food is scarce on the weekends. SmilePak provides these children a backpack full of food each Friday to prevent childhood hunger over the weekend.

“Agape Food Bank has been able to make such a significant impact on the lives of children because of generous supporters such as the Givewell Community Foundation,” said Brenda Reddout, Director of Alleviating Hunger for Catholic Charities of Central Florida, which oversees SmilePak and Agape Food Bank.

Another important factor for the success of SmilePak is the partnership with local schools that recognize the tremendous need and help to ensure that the students who are most in need have access to the SmilePaks. The participating schools agree to find a secure site to establish a food pantry on their property. The schools also provide volunteers to fill and distribute backpacks. Teachers identify the students whose situations are most critical. Agape Food Bank purchases and delivers the nutritionally balanced food each week that includes beef stew, rice and beans, tuna, cereal and canned fruit. Extra food is provided to feed siblings and other family members. Seeking to respect the dignity of the children, the backpacks are nondescript and blend in with the other backpacks children use.

One of four Polk County children are food insecure. The SmilePak program helps bridge the gap that exists over the weekend when the school’s free breakfast and lunch program cannot meet the need.

The Agape Food Bank, a program of Catholic Charities of Central Florida, is a food distribution warehouse in Lakeland, Florida serving nearly two hundred non-profit partner agencies in Polk, Highlands and Hardee counties. It is part of the national Feeding America Food Bank network and is the only designated USDA approved provider serving the tri-county region. Their vision is that 100% of the hungry population in the community has access to an adequate supply of nutritious food. Their mission is to lead the fight to end hunger in the community by providing nutritious food and transforming lives through innovative programming, education, and hunger advocacy. The mission of Catholic Charities of Central Florida is to provide vital social services for people in need regardless of their religious, social, or economic background, to improve lives of individuals, families and the community.

April 5, 2016 - St. Thomas Aquinas Free Medical Clinic to Receive $5,000 Grant to Help Serve the Uninsured

Who:     Gary Tester, executive director of Catholic Charities of Central Florida, supporters and doctors of the St. Thomas Aquinas Free Medical Clinic

What:    Check presentation for $5,000 grant from the Million Dollar Roundtable Foundation (MDRT) presented by MDRT member Michael Aun

When: April 6, 2016 at 4:00 p.m. (Clinic will be open between 5pm – 8pm)

Where: St. Thomas Aquinas Free Medical Clinic, 510 Brown Chapel Rd., St. Cloud

Why:     The money will be used to support the efforts of the St. Thomas Aquinas Free Medical Clinic in St. Cloud, a program of Catholic Charities of Central Florida that provides health care to uninsured men, women and children in Osceola County. Services include medical care, case management, preventative health education programs, specialist referrals and referrals to community social services.

Background:

Aun is one of the recipients of the MDRT Foundation Quality of Life Grant Program which honors the selfless volunteer efforts of MDRT members who give their time to serve charitable causes in their own communities and worldwide. As a recipient he is able to designate grant funding to a charity of his choice. A supporter of the clinic since its inception, Aun says that he believes in the mission of the clinic and helps in any way he can, particularly by raising awareness and funds in the community to assist the clinic’s operations.

“The kind of work we’re doing there is for the greater good. It’s good for the community, it’s good for the underinsured, the uninsured, the people who can’t get the benefits elsewhere,” explains Aun. “Sometimes I will pass the clinic at 6 o’clock in the morning on my way to start my business day and there are people sitting in the yard waiting to be seen that afternoon. That’s how demanding this need is. We could run 24/7 easily.”

The St. Thomas Aquinas Free Medical Clinic has been providing free medical care to uninsured men, women and children who are at or below 200% of the federal poverty level since 2008. In the last five years alone, the medically underserved, low-income individuals and families of Osceola received 6,101 patient visits at our clinic. As a program of Catholic Charities of Central Florida, their mission is to provide vital social services to people in need regardless of their religious, social or economic background, to improve the lives of individuals, families and the community.

For more information, click here: http://cflcc.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/StThomas_factsheet_2015.pdf

 

 

February 10, 2016 – Polk’s Prosperity Day Gives Families Free Access to Resources that Promote Prosperity

Who: Various community organizations of the Polk Prosperity Campaign, including Catholic Charities of Central Florida, Committed Citizens of Waverly, Florida Rural Legal Services and Florida Equal Justice Center

What: Polk’s Prosperity Day provides free tax preparation, financial education, credit counseling, homebuyer education, foreclosure information and employment resources to low and moderate income Polk County residents.

When: Friday, February 19, 9:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Where: Polk State College Student Center Room West 127, 999 Ave H. NE., Winter Haven

 Additional Information:

The Polk Prosperity Campaign is a coalition of organizations that have been providing quality free tax preparation in Polk County since 2005. Their goal is to improve the quality of life for Polk County citizens by promoting prosperity and addressing the needs of low to moderate income households.

During Polk’s Prosperity Day, the coalition will be providing free tax assistance to low and moderate income Polk County residents. We have 25 trained volunteers ready to help residents making under $58,000 a year with filing their returns, applying for tax credits and making the most of their refund.

Tax preparers help participants open savings accounts and offer incentives for saving at least a portion of their refund. In partnership with Doorways to Dream, everyone who directs at least $50 into a savings account is entered into a weekly prize drawing of $100 with a grand prize of $25,000 drawn at the end of tax season.

In addition, Catholic Charities of Central Florida encourages continued financial education by offering budgeting and credit counseling services throughout the year.

These services offer education and guidance to people like Tyrone, a single father who came to Catholic Charities in November 2014 for help filing his taxes and credit counseling to help him reach his goal of one day owning his own home.

“We encourage families to save their refund for emergencies, pay down debt, or use toward a down payment on a home,” said Ameshia Jackson, Family Empowerment Program Director at Catholic Charities. 

After nine months of credit counseling, Tyrone increased his credit score by nearly 100 points enabling him to become prequalified to purchase a home. 

January 21, 2016 - New Case Managers to Serve the Community in Winter Haven Office of Catholic Charities

Winter Haven, FL – Martha Murphy has been named Lead Case Manager of the Family Empowerment Program in the Winter Haven office of Catholic Charities of Central Florida. The Family Empowerment Program provides case management services, food and financial assistance to those in need in Polk County.

As the Lead Case Manager, Murphy will work with volunteers, churches, community groups and businesses to help connect clients with much needed community resources. She will help individuals and families who are financially struggling to set and reach financial goals so they can become self-sufficient. 

“I know that I can help prevent homelessness in the long-term by helping someone learn how to budget, get a job, increase their skills or improve their credit,” said Murphy, “but I can also help in the short-term by helping to pay a bill, or even just giving someone in need a bag of food.”  Murphy has worked for Catholic Charities of Central Florida in the Winter Haven office for five years.  In 2012, Murphy became a certified credit counselor through the National Association of Certified Credit Counselors, and a certified tax preparer since 2011. She is now the coordinator of the VITA  free tax preparation program. She also received certification through Florida Master Money Mentors in 2014.

Murphy is replacing Anne Winkler who retired this month after almost 17 years. Murphy’s previous position will be filled by Ellen (Ellie) Weaver, former administrative assistant in the Catholic Charities’ Lakeland office.

“One of my greatest joys is meeting people where they are in life and allowing them to find their way to better circumstances through education and assistance. As we better one, we better many,” said Weaver, who is a Certified Tax Preparer through VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance).

As a full-time case manager, Weaver will provide case management services which include credit counseling, financial case management and tax preparation for the VITA free tax program.

The mission of Catholic Charities of Central Florida is to provide vital social services for people in need regardless of their religious, social, or economic background, to improve lives of individuals, families and the community.

January 21, 2016 - Dr. Phillips Charities Grant to Catholic Charities will help Homeless Men

Casselberry, FL – A two year grant from Dr. Phillips Charities is allowing Catholic Charities of Central Florida to expand services at Pathways to Care (PTC) and launch a new program called Step 2. PTC serves homeless men and women, including veterans, who are recovering from illness or injury.

The new program is housed in a separate living space at PTC in Casselberry where ten new beds will give homeless men the additional time and support they need to learn how to safely manage their chronic conditions and receive assistance to apply for benefits and secure permanent housing.

The program is offering hope to men like Donald who is learning how to manage diabetes and perform daily tasks after a recent amputation.

“I never had health insurance so I never went to the doctor. I didn’t know what to expect coming to Pathways to Care, but without them, I know I’d be on the streets. They are basically teaching me how to take care of myself and I’m also learning patience. It’s a big adjustment, but they’re helping me every step of the way,” said Donald.

Without PTC, homeless men and women often have no choice but to live on the streets after being treated at a hospital. But PTC allows this fragile population to recover in a safe environment and also learn to become self-sufficient. While 90 percent or more of PTC residents are successfully connected with long-term housing, those who cannot work and do not have disability income have a difficult, if not impossible, time securing permanent housing.

“These residents are not likely to succeed or remain healthy if they are discharged to a shelter or return to living on the street. With Step 2, we are able to provide stability to the homeless men who fall into this category,” said Dawn Zinger, Administrator at PTC.

“Dr. Phillips Charities remains committed to helping others help themselves.  We are proud to partner with Catholic Charities to increase valuable services for men and women, including veterans, in Central Florida,” said Ken Robinson, Dr. Phillips Charities President.

About Catholic Charities

The mission of Catholic Charities of Central Florida is to provide vital social services for people in need regardless of their religious, social, or economic background, to improve lives of individuals, families and the community.

About Dr. Phillips Charities

Once the largest citrus producer in the world, Dr. Philip Phillips left a legacy that has spanned several generations culminating in the establishment of Dr. Phillips Charities, comprised of The Dr. P. Phillips Foundation and Dr. Phillips Inc. These two distinct funding organizations are well known in  Central Florida for their grant support to worthy capital projects and innovative programs of charities that address critical community needs, demonstrate the potential for ongoing community support, and have a significant, lasting impact on the community.

 

December 9, 2015 - Publix Food for Sharing program donated over 86,000 pounds of food to Agape Food Bank

To help provide food for families in need this holiday season, the Publix Food for Sharing program delivered over 86,000 pounds of food to Agape Food Bank, a program of Catholic Charities of Central Florida.

The donations were delivered to Agape in three truckloads carrying a total of fifty-one pallets of food for distribution during the holidays to over 185 partner agencies including food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, and other feeding organizations serving across Polk, Hardee and Highlands counties.

“The Food for Sharing program is a campaign we offer in the Spring and Fall where Publix customers have the opportunity to make monetary donations when they check out at the register. These donations are used to purchase products needed by organizations like Agape Food Bank. It’s an easy way for Publix customers to make donations to help families who struggle to put food on their tables this time of year. We’re very thankful for our loyal customers and their generous donations and proud of our partnership with Agape and the work they do in the community,” said Brian West, Media and Community Relations Manager at Publix.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 18.2 percent are living in poverty in Polk County. This is higher than the state’s rate of 16.3 percent.

“Hunger is not isolated to one day, event or season but it is felt more intensely during the holidays. Donations like this from Publix and their generous customers help us continue to provide food for our partner agencies and the children, families and seniors they serve when they need it most,” said Kim Long, Director of Agape Food Bank.

Additional Information:

Attached is a photo from the delivery.

The Agape Food Bank, a program of Catholic Charities of Central Florida, is a food distribution warehouse in Lakeland, Florida serving nearly two hundred non-profit partner agencies in Polk, Highlands and Hardee counties. It is part of the national Feeding America Food Bank network and is the only designated USDA approved provider serving the tri-county region. Their vision is that 100% of the hungry population in the community has access to an adequate supply of nutritious food. Their mission is to lead the fight to end hunger in the community by providing nutritious food and transforming lives through innovative programming, education, and hunger advocacy. The mission of Catholic Charities of Central Florida is to provide vital social services for people in need regardless of their religious, social, or economic background, to improve lives of individuals, families and the community.

November 20, 2015 - Brevard Residents will Distribute Thanksgiving Meals to Families in Need

Media Alert: Brevard Residents will Distribute Thanksgiving Meals to Families in Need

Who: Concerned citizens who seek to share their blessings this Thanksgiving, parishioners of Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church, Clients of Catholic Charities of Central Florida

When: Tuesday, November 24 from 5-7 p.m.

Where: Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church, 5135 N U.S. 1, Cocoa

What: Parishioners at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in Cocoa are distributing Thanksgiving meals to families in need served by Catholic Charities of Central Florida.

Additional Information:
This is Blessed Sacrament’s third annual Thanksgiving meal distribution to support families in need. On Monday, November 23, volunteers from Blessed Sacrament will be packing bags with food donated by parishioners. On Tuesday, November 24, volunteers from Blessed Sacrament, including their youth group, will help distribute food to families in need who signed up to receive a Thanksgiving meal.

Families signed up to receive their Thanksgiving meal through Blessed Sacrament and the Emergency Family Services at Catholic Charities of Central Florida – a program designed to help people who are facing a financial crisis and are at risk of losing their home, health and hope for a brighter future. The program helps families find self-sufficiency through case management and financial assistance with rent/mortgage and/or utilities and food to last about three days.

Media are invited to profile the volunteers who are helping making the season brighter for families in need.

INTERVIEW OPPORTUNITIES:
Ashleigh Putman, Brevard Emergency Family Services Program Manager at Catholic Charities of Central Florida. Blessed Sacrament volunteers and staff.

November 10, 2015 - Empty Bowls Gala on Nov. 14 to Raise Funds for Childhood Hunger Relief

Lakeland – While many of us plan to fill our tables with food this Thanksgiving, one in six people will struggle to put food on the table today. For children, the effects of hunger are devastating to their development. In Polk County, one in four students is at risk of hunger.

You can offer support to children facing hunger and raise the funds needed to provide food for their empty bowls by attending the Empty Bowls Gala to support Agape Food Bank, the leading hunger relief agency in Lakeland. For over 30 years Agape has provided nutritious food and transformed lives through innovative programming, education, and hunger advocacy. One hundred percent of net proceeds from the Empty Bowls Gala will be directed to Agape Food Bank’s childhood nutrition programs.

The event features a live and silent auction of a variety of ceramic bowls and other works that have been hand painted, signed and donated by local art and community leaders. These leaders include Rocky Bridges of Harrison School for the Arts, 2015 Florida State Teacher of the Year Christie Bassett, Carol Hughes of Arts Ensemble Education Foundation, Isaac Knight of Florida Highwaymen, Senator Kelli Stargel, State Representative Colleen Burton, City of Bartow Vice Mayor Trish Burdin-Pfeiffer, Lakeland Ledger Editor Lenore DeVore and CEO and President of United Way of Central Florida Alan Turner.

More than just works of art, these “empty bowls” serve as a reminder of the more than 100,000 children, seniors and family members in Polk County who struggle to put food on the table every day.

At the event The Mosaic Company will receive the “Champion Against Hunger” award for outstanding efforts to alleviate hunger.

This award was established by Catholic Charities of Central Florida to recognize individuals and organizations who have made a direct impact on hunger relief services in the state of Florida.

“The Mosaic Company has been an incredible support to Catholic Charities – donating a truck to our mobile food pantry program and volunteering to pack backpacks of food for our SmilePak weekend meal program for hungry children,” said Kim Long, Director of Agape Food Bank. “We are pleased to present this award to The Mosaic Company for their dedication as an organization to help those in need in our community.”

The Empty Bowls Gala will take place on November 14, 2015 at Polk State College in Lakeland. For event registration and to view some of the artwork for auction, visit: http://www.cflcc.org/empty-bowls-gala. For more information, contact Agape Food Bank at 863-665-7074.

The Agape Food Bank, a program of Catholic Charities of Central Florida, is a food distribution warehouse in Lakeland, Florida serving nearly two hundred non-profit partner agencies in Polk, Highlands and Hardee counties. It is part of the national Feeding America Food Bank network and is the only designated USDA approved provider serving the tri-county region. Their vision is that 100% of the hungry population in the community has access to an adequate supply of nutritious food. Their mission is to lead the fight to end hunger in the community by providing nutritious food and transforming lives through innovative programming, education, and hunger advocacy. The mission of Catholic Charities of Central Florida is to provide vital social services for people in need regardless of their religious, social, or economic background, to improve lives of individuals, families and the community.

October 29, 2015 - Third Annual Soup Bowl Supper Raises Over $200,000 for Pathways to Care in Seminole County

Casselberry, FL – Pathways to Care (PTC), a medical respite care center serving homeless veterans and non-veteran men and women, held its 3rd Annual Soup Bowl Supper fundraiser in the Parish Life Center at St. Mary Magdalen Catholic Church, Altamonte Springs Saturday, October 24.  The event raised more than $200,000 – a 30% increase over the previous year and hosted 430 guests.  Over 98% of the income generated will be used to support PTC, one of a few medical respite care centers in the nation that serve homeless veterans and non-veteran adults.

Guests were greeted by staff members of Pathways to Care, a program of Catholic Charities of Central Florida, while listening to a live guitar performance and sampling wine in the luminary-lit courtyard before entering the venue.  Ellis Feaster of Z88.3 Radio, emcee for the evening, invited guests to bid on the 120 silent auction items to raise much needed funds for Pathways to Care. Guests also enjoyed light appetizers, wine, and over 15 varieties of soups and desserts donated by area restaurants and catering companies.  Soup was served in the “Soup Kitchen” by Most Reverend John Noonan, Bishop, Diocese of Orlando; Reverend John Bluett, Founder of Pathways to Care; Rabbi Moe Kaprow; Bob Dallari, Seminole County Commissioner; and others along with the Pathways to Care Board members.

The evening’s program included keynote speaker, Dawn Zinger, Administrator of Pathways to Care, and two residents – Debra and Dennis, both veterans who credited Pathways to Care with saving their lives.  In Dawn’s presentation, she described PTC as, “A place where miracles occur every day.” and went on to say, “during the past 12 months, approximately 200 homeless veteran and non-veterans have been admitted to PTC because they don’t have the same luxuries many of us take for granted. Their home may be under a bridge, in the woods or in a storage unit where there is no water, limited food – not the environment in which to heal.  PTC provides a medical safe haven for these individuals with 24/7 care.”  Dennis spoke about the love and care he receives at PTC and included a “sing-along” as part of his presentation as he led the room full of guests in several verses of Swing Low, Sweet Chariot by Wallace Willis.  He had every guest on their feet singing along!

A live auction offering several big-ticket items including a 7-night stay in a 4-bedroom villa in Bantry, Ireland, high on a bluff overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, roundtrip airline tickets and a custom designed 14K gold Tau cross necklace valued at $1200 rounded out the evening.

Kirstian Perez a senior at Lake Howell High School was awarded the Artistic Student Award by Seminole County Commissioner, Bob Dallari for designing the most unique soup bowl from all the student bowls submitted. He received a $100 prize for his creation.  The 2nd Annual Making a Difference Award was presented by Reverend John Bluett to a surprised Joe Buranosky, former Executive Director of Catholic Charities of Central Florida for his support over the years.  As guests left at the end of the evening, each was presented with a gift of a hand-created ceramic soup bowl made by area high school and professional artists as a thank-you for their support.

Pathways to Care is a 40 bed medical respite care center dedicated to providing healthcare, housing, and hope to Central Florida’s vulnerable homeless veterans and non-veteran men and women in need of a safe environment to heal from serious illness or injury.  Pathways to Care is a licensed assisted living facility that opened in 2003 to support their residents in achieving greater health, self-sufficiency and housing stability.  On average, 85% of all Pathways to Care residents relocate with family or other independent living options after leaving the facility.

September 4, 2015 - Lakeland Artists put a New Spin on Alleviating Hunger

What: Local artists will spend 18 consecutive hours on a potter’s wheel for charity – “throwing” bowls for an upcoming fundraiser to benefit Agape Food Bank, a program of Catholic Charities of Central Florida. The bowls will be auctioned during the “Empty Bowls Gala” in November. The empty bowls represent the over 100,000 people in Polk County who struggle to put food on the table every day.

When: The 18 hour “Potterthon” will begin Thursday, September 10, 2:30 p.m. and continue until Friday, September 11, 10:30 a.m.

Where: Agape Food Bank, 625 McCue Road Unit #2, Lakeland

Additional Information:

The art demonstration and display will accompany the unveiling of new equipment at Agape Food Bank that will expand their ability to alleviate hunger in Polk County, including a custom designed 24 foot refrigerated box truck donated by The Mosaic Company. The unveiling ceremony on Thursday, September 10 will begin at 5 p.m.

The “Empty Bowls Gala” will be held on November 14 at Polk State College.

Interview Opportunities:

Interview opportunities will be available with representatives from The Mosaic Company, Kim Long, Director of Agape Food Bank and Gary Tester, new Executive Director of Catholic Charities of Central Florida.

The Agape Food Bank, a program of Catholic Charities of Central Florida, is a food distribution warehouse in Lakeland, Florida serving nearly two hundred non-profit partner agencies in Polk, Highlands and Hardee counties. It is part of the national Feeding America Food Bank network and is the only designated USDA approved provider serving the tri-county region. Their vision is that 100% of the hungry population in the community has access to an adequate supply of nutritious food. Their mission is to lead the fight to end hunger in the community by providing nutritious food and transforming lives through innovative programming, education, and hunger advocacy.

September 3, 2016 - The Mosaic Company Grant will Help Feed the Hungry in Polk County

Lakeland, FL – Thanks to The Mosaic Company’s recent donation of a refrigerated box truck, Agape Food Bank, a program of Catholic Charities of Central Florida, will be able to broaden its reach, serving more children, seniors and families in areas of critical need.

The Mosaic Company’s generous donation of $126,706 enabled Agape Food Bank to purchase the truck, which is needed to bring fresh foods, including fruits and vegetables, to neighborhoods with high rates of poverty and food insecurity.

On Thursday, September 10, Agape Food Bank will unveil the new 24 foot refrigerated box truck during a special ceremony to recognize donors who have generously supported Agape Food Bank and other programs of Catholic Charities of Central Florida in Polk County that alleviate hunger.

“We are grateful for The Mosaic Company’s dedication to supporting our hunger relief efforts,” said Kim Long, Director of Agape Food Bank, a program of Catholic Charities of Central Florida. “Their generous donation will enable us to improve our efficiency by significantly increasing the amount of food we can pick-up and deliver on a daily basis and expand our mobile food pantries to reach more families in our community who struggle with hunger.”

The funding for the truck comes at a time of particular need as food insecurity remains high in Polk County. According to the 2015 Feeding America Map the Meal Gap Study, food insecurity in Polk County is at 16.5 percent.

“We truly appreciate and admire the critical work of Agape Food Bank and are thrilled to continue partnering with them in their efforts to expand access to fresh produce and vegetables and other foods to our neighbors in need,” said Gary N. “Bo” Davis, Mosaic Senior Vice President, Phosphate Operations.

In 2014-15, Agape Food Bank distributed over 9.4 million pounds of food, providing over 7.5 million meals to hungry people in our community.

Additional Information:
Agape Food Bank, a program of Catholic Charities of Central Florida, is a food distribution warehouse in Lakeland, Florida serving nearly two hundred non-profit partner agencies in Polk, Highlands and Hardee counties. It is part of the national Feeding America Food Bank network and is the only designated USDA approved provider serving the tri-county region. Their vision is that 100% of the hungry population in the community has access to an adequate supply of nutritious food. Their mission is to lead the fight to end hunger in the community by providing nutritious food and transforming lives through innovative programming, education, and hunger advocacy.

About The Mosaic Company and The Mosaic Company Foundation:
The Mosaic Company is the world’s largest combined producer and marketer of concentrated phosphate and potash, two essential crop nutrients. Driven by its mission to help the world grow the food it needs, Mosaic is committed to strengthening global food security and protecting critical water resources. The Mosaic Company and The Mosaic Company Foundation make investments in and partner with best-of-class leaders in the focus areas of food, water and local community investments. More information about Mosaic is available at www.mosaicco.com<http://www.mosaicco.com>.

 

July 31, 2015 - Orlando Sentinel Family Fund donates $40,000 to Catholic Charities of Central Florida

Seeking to provide hope to families in need, the Orlando Sentinel Family Fund, a McCormick Foundation fund donated $40,000 to support the Emergency Family Services Program at Catholic Charities of Central Florida.

The Emergency Family Services Program provides case management, financial and food assistance to families who are experiencing a crisis situation and are at risk of becoming homeless.

“We see an incredible amount of families each day who have fallen on tough times and come to Catholic Charities for support and guidance. These funds go directly to those families who are struggling to pay rent and utilities,” said Alan Rettig, Director of Preventing Homelessness at Catholic Charities.

Amanda, 50, and her husband Charles, 59, is one family who found hope thanks to a 2014 grant from the Orlando Sentinel Family Fund.

Charles supported his family while wife, Amanda, was a full time student. In January, Charles went to the hospital with a medical emergency that required multiple surgeries. Shortly after being released to a rehabilitation center, the couple learned that his insurance had been cancelled and he was forced to leave the facility and recover at home.

Unfortunately, Charles’s injuries prevented him from returning to work. Without insurance, income or savings to cover their mounting expenses, Amanda put school on hold and came to Catholic Charities of Central Florida for help where she met with an Emergency Family Services case manager.

“Amanda was waiting for social security disability when she came to us for help. The approval process can take anywhere from four to six months and she could not afford to live during this time without some form of financial support,” said Anita Capetillo, Emergency Family Services case manager at Catholic Charities who provided Amanda with financial assistance to help the couple remain in their home and pay bills. Amanda was also provided job referrals to find employment.

To learn more about programs that prevent homelessness through the ministry of Catholic Charities of Central Florida, visit www.cflcc.org/prevent.

The mission of Catholic Charities of Central Florida is to provide vital social services to people in need regardless of their religious, social or economic background, to improve the lives of individuals, families and the community.