The need for food in Southwest Florida has grown exponentially since the pandemic began. So, St. Matthew’s House is adding more food distribution locations.
Throughout his life, and more recently, during the pandemic, Miguel Cruz of Naples has relied on his faith. “When you trust in the Lord when you trust in the Bible in the promise …you can fight any situation,” Cruz said.
And, since the pandemic, his family has struggled to put food on their table. “This is pandemic why because the price of the food is higher every day. Sometimes the salary is not enough,” said Cruz.
That being said, he considers the boxes of food from St. Matthew’s House to be a blessing. “This is a wonderful time to receive help in this time in this difficult time,” Cruz said.
Monday was the first distribution of the week at St. Elizabeth Seton Church in Golden gate. Father Casey Jones says it’s much needed. “Just a lot of our people are hungry. You know, if you drive around Golden Gate City you can look at the homes and see that there’s a need,” said Father Jones.
That is exactly why St. Matthew’s House and its CEO Vann Ellison are here. “We are trying to get closer to the population that’s really needed the food and hurting. So, we are having a better effect on a specific ZIP Code or a specific area by making sure we are in the neighborhood,” said Vann Ellison.
The charity says they serve around 2,000 families per week. And, St. Matthew’s House knows neighborhood giveaways will be needed. Ray Steadman is the Director of Shelter Operation and Food Assistance at St. Matthew’s House.
“So you have that dichotomy of the desperation of the folks that we’re serving but also, you have the gratitude that they’re able to get the food and we feel that as well. We feel that same level of emotion,” said Steadman.
But Cruz continues to see it as a blessing. “Not only for me but for the community it’s great, it’s a big blessing,” he said.