More than 100 cars lined up by 9:30 a.m. on May 1, before the Second Harvest Food Bank truck arrived at St. Catherine of Siena Parish in Kissimmee. That truck was packed with a whopping 20,000 pounds of food- fresh vegetables, meat, and more for Catholic Charities of Central Florida’s first ever mobile drive-thru food drop.

Cars pulled up 20 at a time while 67 volunteers from the parish, Catholic Charities and St. Catherine of Sienna’s Knights of Columbus Council 13116 loaded the healthy choices. The stations for loading moved smoothly, according to John Bonfiglio, Catholic Charities’ food ministry manager. He said the operation was “flawless.”

“There were a lot of small details that made a difference,” he said. “It’s the right location to try this because of the access road it has,” explained Bonfiglio noting the side street near the church allowed cars to exit without blocking traffic. Plus, “This is where the need is,” he added. “We hope to get out here again before the end of the year.”

Blanca Davila, coordinator for St. Catherine’s food pantry, worked with Bonfiglio and several others for the past three months to bring the event to fruition. “I am very happy,” she commented. “This is a growing area and with the mobile drive-thru, we can serve more people. This helps us offer the community something extra.”

She explained the parish pantry is open four days per week and feeds neighbors once a month. However, due to the recent influx of Puerto Rican and Venezuelan families, the pantry has limited resources. She indicated the partnership with Catholic Charities and Second Harvest enabled them to offer a greater variety of nourishment to more people.

In the end, more than 250 families drove away with their cars packed full of food. Pastor José Bautista was moved by the special moments. He shared, “I am in awe and very, very touched that this is happening in our parish. It is the love of Jesus in a tangible way. I had never seen anything like it. To experience this on your own premises is amazing!”

By Glenda Meekins of the Florida Catholic – May 1, 2018