St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church and Food Pantry will host a food distribution on Thursday, June 18, from 10 am to 3 p.m.
People experiencing food insecurity during the pandemic are invited to come and receive food.
Cars can arrive and park at the St. Rose of Lima campus, 3860 Pleasant Hill Road, Kissimmee, to await the distribution which will begin at approximately 10 a.m. This is a joint project between the St. Rose of Lima Food Pantry and Second Harvest of Central Florida.
At the last distribution on May 7, 800 cars, representing 1,241 families and 3,131 household members, received 47,000 pounds of food by day’s end. Pantry distribution increased 730 percent on that special distribution day.
In addition, the St. Rose Pantry is open every Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The new normal is still emerging for the weekly Tuesday pantry distributions, but it has increased by 230-270 percent. When the pandemic struck the nation with such deadly force, the St. Rose community and all those around it, channeled its collective generosity through the pantry they had built during the last national catastrophe: The Great Recession of 2008. Due to a decade of practice and an army of volunteers, the parish and its community has been able to rise to meet the need caused by widespread unemployment from COVID-19.
Pre-pandemic, St Rose helped 30,000 families a year from an area with a poverty rate 5.6 percent higher than the national level, and that after a decade of recovery from the Great Recession. Almost 100 percent of children in the surrounding elementary schools qualified for the USDS free and reduced lunch program before the pandemic struck. Pantry clients tend to be working families for whom even two incomes in low salary tourism jobs aren’t enough; retired people who can’t make it on their fixed incomes; grandparents raising grandchildren; people with health problems; the newly arrived; people in transition from life crises; and the massive number of economically displaced people due to the pandemic.
There is no sign that the virus and its economic effects on families and businesses will wane anytime soon. The tourism industry unemployment rate is 51.3 percent, so this corner of the I95 corridor is feeling the full brunt of the coronavirus. Florida is reopening, but most visitors want to be able to trust that they will be safe before planning vacations. Until a vaccination is available, the economic return for tourism workers may be slow.
Here’s how you can help:
Online donation: www.saintroseoflimacc.org, choose online donation, pantry option
By mail: St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church, 3860 Pleasant Hill Road, Kissimmee, Florida 34746, Note: pantry.
To volunteer: call 407-932-5004 parish office to inquire about the fingerprinting process required to serve.