People automatically think the families that visit the pantry are unemployed. This is a myth, as most parents are working several jobs to provide for their families. When season is over, the jobs dwindle, and the supply of food through schools decreases. Thus, the need for Our Daily Bread Food Pantry exists where they encourage their guests to come year-round. The purpose of Our Daily Bread Food Pantry is to prevent homelessness by encouraging people to come to them for their food so that the guests can then use their money on rent. The organization exists “to share the love of Christ by reducing hunger and building relationships in our community.” Their goal is “to offer nourishing food choices, encouragement and hope.” Their vision is “Working to Wipe Out Hunger,” by making food accessible and available to those in need.
Led by the four founding members, Jo Anne Lundquist (Director of Food Procurement & Opera-tions), Vicki Johnson (Director of Finance & Office Management), Liz Pecora (Director of Communications & Donor Relations) and Nancy Kot (Director of Volunteers & Senior Initia-tives), Our Daily Bread served over 51,000 people to date. It distributed over 217,000 pounds of food in 2018 to over 26,000 persons in need. It has over two hundred active volunteers of all ag-es that swarm to help, with well over four hundred volunteers in their database. The volunteers help in four to six-hour shifts, some up to four times a week.
According to Vicki Johnson, “God has provided us with everything we have needed and more.” For instance, the ladies were running out of freezer space and, lo and behold a donation of a new freezer came in the next day. “It’s a God thing,” said Jo Anne Lundquist. “He has His hand on us, for sure.”
And if that’s not enough, they are available by appointment and have a mobile outreach (in part-nership with Allyson Richards and her super volunteer group, Al’s Pals) that travels to Manatee Middle School, Marco neighborhoods, and the US 41 corridor.
Our Daily Bread Food Pantry also organizes senior luncheons to promote friendship which is then followed by a senior pantry day. With this, seniors can shop in a slower paced atmosphere. The “Care and Share” program is for income-qualified seniors where thirty pounds of supple-mental food is available every month. Additionally, seniors can make appointments to visit the pantry.
So how can we as a community help? Donations can be dropped off 24 hours in the deck boxes located outside the Auburndale pantry entrance. Our Daily Bread Food Pantry is now a standalone 501C nonprofit organization, so your tax-deductible donation may be mailed to: Our Daily Bread Food Pantry, 1450 Winterberry Dr., Marco Island, FL 34145. If you are inter-ested in volunteering, you are welcomed to join them by contacting 239-259-5188 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Our Daily Bread is also looking for a wholesale food distributor who is interested in donating items to the food pantry.
For those that can’t make it on the second and fourth Saturdays of the month, appointments can be made by calling 239-259-5188 or email@example.com.
Stacia has a husband and two sons, and has resided in Goodland since 2007, and in Florida since 1999. She is a graduate of the University of Missouri.