SEBASTIAN — The Sebastian area community did it.
Thrivent Financial for Lutherans recently donated a second $5,000 check to the Ecumenical Food Pantry on Roseland Rd., because the Sebastian area community raised $10,000 toward a Thrivent challenge grant obtained by Christ the King Lutheran of Sebastian.
“The amazing donations from Thrivent and those from the community to get the challenge grant have been life blood to the pantry. We currently have over 1,800 family units registered for the 2013-2014 year.
Since many come only when they get caught short, we are currently serving more than 500 families a month. This is an increase over last year.
We are getting 15–20 new families monthly. With our present economic conditions, we expect more because there will be a decrease in food stamps starting Nov. 1,” said Jinny Earnshaw, director of the Ecumenical Food Pantry.
The monthly food box given to a small family contains basic staples designed to last 4 to 7 days. Clients receive one meat, fresh produce, and pet food, when available.
“The grant money is used only to purchase food. We are currently spending more than $1,000 a week to purchase food stuffs, usually from the regional food bank, plus using the many food donations from churches and organizations to stock the pantry,” Earnshaw added.
Gift from heaven
“With the holiday season approaching, we feel we will be able to give some extras for the holidays now. It is truly a gift from heaven to have received this grant money and a real success story for the congregation of Christ the King Lutheran Church in their money raising dedication as they partnered with the Thrivent Foundation for matching funds,” said Earnshaw.
“Our congregation’s purpose is to share God’s love and will as we reach out to our neighbors. Applying for this grant and working with our caring community, from Barefoot Bay to Vero Beach, is just one of the ways we all share God’s gifts with our neighbors and, hopefully, change some lives for the better.
We thank everyone who has helped us reach the goal of raising $10,000,” The Rev. Karen Leedahl of Christ the King Lutheran explained.
“This has been a fantastic community-wide effort. We are so thankful to be part of such a great, caring community,” said Doris Kilbane, social ministry coordinator at Christ the King Lutheran.
Funds for the drive came from:
Ecumenical Thanksgiving Service in Nov. 2012 at St. Sebastian Catholic Church
St. Sebastian Socialites
Concordia Lutheran, Barefoot Bay
Welcome Wagon Club Junior Alumnae
Our Saviour Lutheran, Vero Beach
Christ the King Lutheran (annual yard sale, Ladies’ Luncheon, and various fundraisers)
“Our ongoing needs at the food pantry are just to be able to keep up with the growing demand for help. Looking to the future, the Ecumenical Food Pantry is planning on using a grant from the Sebastian Clambake Committee to cover the costs of a new parking lot behind the pantry. It is something we desperately need,” Earnshaw said.
November yard sale proceeds help, too
The Sebastian Lutheran church will continue to help the Ecumenical Food Pantry and the community. Half the proceeds from its Nov. 9 Yard Sale Festival will again go to the food pantry.
In addition, the first 100 students at the Yard Sale Festival will receive school supplies, and all participants will be offered free blood pressure checks. Social service agencies have also been invited to host a table at the event to share their program information with those attending.