This morning I got a call from one of my parents about how her 3 children did this school year and possible retention. She didn’t have the money for bus fare to the school and was hoping we could help her via the telephone. After the academic conversation, and knowing that the family had been experiencing homelessness, I asked if we could help her with food or toiletries. She explained that she was feeding her 5 children the last can of chicken noodle soup and did not know where she would find anything for them for dinner.
My Love Pantry coordinator packed up a box of food/personal items, and she and I drove to the apartment complex where the family was now living with her mother and brother. While the Mom shyly told us that the 3 adults in the household had not eaten in 4 days so that the children would be able to share what little food was in the cupboard. We had to strongly encourage the grownups to eat some of the food we brought from the Love Pantry so they would have the stamina needed to care of 5 children.
The family was so happy and thankful to be able to put food out for their children (they have no tables, chairs, or beds) but my coordinator and I felt truly blessed to have the resources from the Love Pantry to support one of our families in need.
Thank you, Love Pantry, for allowing us to help feed our Rock Lake Beavers. Because of thoughtful and dedicated people like you, Rock Lake Elementary moved from the school grade of “D” to a “C” this year.
A father came in to school to report that their home had been broken into a few times within the past month. As a result they were set back financially and were worried about not being able to buy food, or keep up with their monthly bills. He wasn’t sure what to do and was very distraught. While I wasn’t able to completely solve the family’s problems, but it was certainly a huge help to be able to offer emergency food for the family while they worked to get back on their feet. The father expressed gratitude that we offered the Love Pantry, as they would have been unable to reach a food pantry otherwise due to their lack of gas money and transportation issues.
Report cards are out! The Love Pantry gets another A+. This past 2013 Fall Semester, 68,439 food and 3,802 hygiene items were distributed through 69 school Love Pantry locations impacting the lives of 7,558 household members of which 5,235 were children.
The Love Pantry is removing hunger as a barrier to learning.
Below is a blurb from one of our parents receiving food from the Love Pantry before the holidays:
We are so thankful for the food provided to us. It was a great help as we began the new school year and settled into living in Orlando from Minnesota. While I have a steady job now and we no longer need the help, I cannot be anything but thankful for everyone who helped us during the transition. It was a challenging situation moving here and I am so grateful for the help when we needed it most.
We’ll have a big order this time around–we had a lot of families on our Angel Tree this year (twice as many as ever before) and we’re sending home food from the Love Pantry with them, as well. It’s also raising awareness of the pantry’s availability–2 of the parents today teared up over the gifts, and then outright cried when I handed them bags of food to help with the kids’ lunches and breakfasts during the week next week.
One parent said, “I try so hard never to ask for help, but I just knew we couldn’t afford to get anything for the kids for Christmas with the car breakdown costing over $800 to fix last month. I never dreamed that not only would we be able to give them something to unwrap on Christmas morning, but now I don’t have to worry about them having something in their bellies every morning and afternoon while I’m at work next week. This is such a huge blessing. Thank you, thank you!”
Thank you so much for the Love Pantry. You have no idea how many children you have fed during the last few days here. I have had several new homeless students enter the school and couldn’t believe how quickly my pantry was being cleaned out. I have children in my school who would have gone without food over the Thanksgiving break if it had not been for the Love Pantry. I need a total restock. I can’t thank you enough for all you do. Bless you!!!
Adrienne K. Dienst, MSW
Howard Middle School
We have a family of 3 kids who are homeless at the moment. They sometimes stay at a hotel that only has a microwave. We are able to give them food from the Love Pantry because it all can be cooked using a microwave. The food they received was most likely the only food they had those days. The little girl, who is in fourth grade, told her teacher, “I’m so happy when I see the bags with food here for me!”
It is difficult to put into words how much the Love Pantry blesses families at Millennia Elementary. Without it, children and their parents would be hungry and distressed. No longer do we have to struggle finding ways to provide for them with the Love Pantry on our campus. The food items and personal hygiene products are now readily available to families in need.
One family in particular lives in a hotel room with six children. The mother is disabled and the father struggles to find work every day as a construction worker. On a good day, he fills in as a temporary builder. With your generous gifts of food to this family, the children are nourished and come to school satisfied and able to learn.
Your mission and goal of providing food and hygiene products for our children continues to ease the minds of many Millennia families who are experiencing difficult times. You also help those of us who care so deeply for these precious children. Thank you again for serving ALL of us at Millennia Elementary School. May the Lord continue to bless your efforts as you bless others.
We have a family at our school with seven children. The family struggles to have the necessities to carry on everyday life. One parent is working and the other is not due to caregiving of the children ages ranging from 2 through 16. We have provided food for this family out of our Love Pantry and they are very grateful for help received. I have given them the community resource information for assistant to see if there is any other help that can be provided. These parents are good people on hard times. They wanted me to express their thanks for all.
Donna Neubauer, John Young Elementary Love Pantry Coordinator
A dedication of the Love Pantry at Winegard Elementary School was held to honor this most recent expansion of the project. Winegard’s Love Pantry is being sponsored by First United Methodist Church of Orlando’s End Childhood Hunger Task Force. The dedication is representative of the long-term support of the Center by First United Methodist Church of Orlando, as they were one of our founding churches back in 1971. The efforts behind this latest partnership was spearheaded by Lora Gilbert, OCPS Sr. Director, Food and Nutrition Services. Pictured here is (left to right) Antwanette Jones, Winegard Love Pantry In-School Coordinator and Guidance Counselor, Lora Gilbert, Terrilyn Jackson, Winegard Assistant Principal, Robert Stuart, Executive Director of the Christian Service Center, Marguerite and Kofi Ghartey, community volunteers.
The Love Pantry is removing hunger as a barrier to learning now at Winegard Elementary School and 65 other schools in Central Florida.