St. Matthew’s House volunteers feed community amid coronavirus crisis

Author: Drew Hill
Published: Updated:
St. Matthews House
St. Matthew’s House. CREDIT: WINK News

“I had a free day and I was aware of the need in the community given the current things going on, I thought I’d donate my afternoon to help them out,” said Ryan Russell, volunteer at St. Matthew’s House.

St. Matthew’s House, and many other food pantries in Southwest Florida, are suddenly in demand as the Coronavirus pandemic has shut down many stores, restaurants and schools. For some families, schools provide the only source of meals for their kids. “At times, mothers will come in here and say ‘thank you, I didn’t know how I was gonna feed my baby today’ and that kind of thing is really rewarding,” said Marc Story, another volunteer.

All of these closures, including most workplaces, are limiting the funds most families currently have. Some employees are even being laid off. According to Vann Ellison, President of St. Matthew’s House Nonprofit, this is driving more people towards their mobile pantries and soup kitchens. “We have more people that are being laid off from work, that have limited income right now. So, the food pantry where we are right now is a really vital part of our outreach to families that are hurting,” Ellison tells us.

Services like these are life-saving to families facing food insecurity. “We believe that our being on the front lines is most important. We’re continuing to serve food at our soup kitchen. We’re continuing to meet the needs of the less-fortunate,” Ellison added.

While helping the families is the ultimate goal, the volunteers at St. Matthew’s House are getting something valuable from this experience. “I get a good feeling out of helping people,” said Marc Story.

Vann Ellison said, “It’s so gratifying to meet the needs of another human being at that hour of their need.” He added that we should keep calm and come together.

If you or someone in your neighborhood needs help, the number and schedule for the food pantry will be available on our app. St. Matthew’s House accepts donation drop-offs at their various thrift store locations. These donations could greatly impact someone’s life.

Volunteer Marc Story reminds us that “all of us together can make a difference.”

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