Florida Food Banks >> Mount Dora Food Assistance

Food banks, soup kitchens and food pantries in Mount Dora FL

Lake Cares Food Pantry
Mount Dora, FL 32757
Details: Lake Cares Food Pantry sprouted from a challenge to Debrah Paradis and the congregation by the pastor at Holy Cross Lutheran church in Lake Mary. He urged them to create a project that would make a difference in one person's life. However, Debrah contemplated helping more than just one person, so she decided to organize a food drive. In December 2008, people lined up for food distributed from the back of a U-Haul truck parked at Hillcrest Insurance Agency in Mount Dora. "This was after the economy had really gone south, and there was a huge line of people just waiting to get a bag of food," Irene O'Malley (then a volunteer, and now executive director) reminisced. "It was at that point that Debrah figured there was a real and ongoing need." In January 2009, Debrah organized another meeting and the idea for Lake Cares was born. Jim Croson offered the nonprofit mission an old building that he owned on Old U.S. Highway 441 in Mount Dora. He also offered rent and utilities at no charge for a year. Lake Cares officially opened its doors on April 4, 2009. Just one year later, Croson donated the building to Lake Cares, giving it a permanent and "paid for" home. "For the first couple of weeks that we were open, we served about 15 to 25 families," Irene recalls. "People didn't know about us, so we started handing out flyers...the word spread quickly." With 140 active volunteers, Lake Cares now serves more than 5,000 pounds of food a week to approximately 130 families. Last year, they fed more than 18,000 people and distributed over 260,000 pounds of food. This year, they expect to feed over 20,000 people. "Unfortunately," Irene adds, "the need seems to keep rising." Helping with a compassionate touch ... Beginning at 9 a.m., the welcoming faces of regular volunteers greet the clients who arrive at their appointment time. The walk-ins linger outside, hoping to replace any no-shows that day. In just 45 minutes, 35 families have already been served. To check in, they give their assigned client number and a photo I.D. No proof of income is necessary. "We use the honor system," Irene explains. "If they come to us and say they need it, we believe them." Counselors conduct interviews to evaluate each client's needs, discussing such things as food preferences, allergies, and pantry specials. If clients have a pet, Lake Cares gives them dog and/or cat food since many people, especially those who are elderly and alone, would choose to starve in order to feed their pets. During interviews, clients occasionally talk about personal struggles. Sometimes they need a shoulder to cry on or an encouraging word - or prayer to make it through the day. "There is a human touch when they come here," Irene says as she surveys the interview room. "We just don't hand them a bag of food. The clients bond with our volunteers and vice versa." Personal items are also distributed to clients such as toothpaste, deodorant, personal hygiene products, and hotel-style shampoos and soaps. Volunteers pre-bag basic food staples for larger families like tuna rice, and spaghetti but most of the bags are made-to-order. They also pack the bags according to a client's mode of transportation. Someone riding a bicycle or walking will have this or her items packaged differently than someone who has a vehicle. Aside form being a welcomed source of food for those in need, Lake Cares provides other important services. On Thursdays, clients can receive help to apply for food stamps, and Lake Tech offers GED and English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) classes. On certain days, a counselor, a lawyer, and a yoga instructor are on site to offer services. There are even smoking cessation classes held from time-to-time and both Walgreens and CVS offer flu shots at no charge to clients.
Solid Rock Worship Center - Food Pantry
Mount Dora, FL 32757
Details: Meeting the practical needs of the people in our community has always been a high priority at Solid Rock. That's why beginning in 2009 Solid Rock opened a Food Pantry. It's our desire to provide food for our friends and neighbors who are struggling financially. There are no qualifications, minimums, income restrictions, or applications. We have canned, non-perishable foods available to people in need. Unfortunately there are no refridgerated or frozen foods available. If you, or someone you know is facing a difficult time and is in need of food, please feel free contact us at: (352) 735-5777 or stop by the church office anytime during the week. Our Food Pantry is also open on Sunday Mornings directly after the morning service.