Beach Baptist Church helps feed Fort Myers Beach after Ian

Reporter: Amy Galo Writer: Joey Pellegrino
Published: Updated:

Beach Baptist Church on Fort Myers Beach is not just a place where people go for fellowship and worship. It’s a place to find food and other resources needed to recover from Hurricane Ian.

The church contains a bustling kitchen, the smell of cooking food and grocery carts stuffed with canned goods—not what you would expect in most churches.

“It doesn’t look like your traditional church operation,” said Pastor Shawn Critser.

Critser says Beach Baptist has always been more than a typical church for the 19 years he’s been there.

“We’ve always thought that’s what it ought to be,” Critser said. “The hurricane just gave us an opportunity to show what we’re capable of doing with the community’s help.”

Four weeks after Ian, church members got to work helping families in need one meal at a time. The church also partnered with FEMA after the hurricane to provide showers and laundry facilities.

“We wanted to do it the day after,” Critser said. “But we were hit so hard.”

Beach Baptist Church. (Credit: WINK News)

“I’m very appreciative because it’s very good,” said Fort Myers Beach resident Tim Bussick of Beach Baptist’s food. “It’s chicken alfredo, and it’s legit!”

The church partnered with FK Your Diet to serve two hot meals daily, six days a week.

“Anywhere between, you know, three [hundred] and 500 people a day… we’re seeing a lot more people,” said Tori Levesque, a volunteer with FK Your Diet.

There’s now a food pantry underneath where church services used to take place, provided by the Harry Chapin Food Bank.

Beach Baptist Church feeding people on Fort Myers Beach. (Credit: WINK News)

“Vegetables and beans and fruits, spaghetti, just everything that you could put; it’s almost like a little grocery store,” said volunteer Craig Melms.

All of that in one place, free of cost. Beach Baptist Church is just another example of how Harry Chapin is feeding families across Southwest Florida.


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