ENGLEWOOD — Since COVID-19 struck, not all of the volunteers at St. David’s Jubilee Center have been able to come back to help.
The virus caused the in-person pantry visits to switch to curbside pickups.
These days, volunteers stand under a tent and give away boxes of food, meat, sometimes pet food and fresh vegetables to residents in need. Hours are 10 a.m. to noon, Monday through Wednesday.
Understanding the need, members of the Lemon Bay Sunrise Rotary stepped up to help with the curbside giveaways.
“I rotate helping with another Rotarian on Tuesdays,” said member Fred Beck. “We understand that COVID is keeping some of the volunteers from coming back. We load the boxes into people’s vehicles when they drive up.”
With layoffs, cuts in pay and children being out of school for an extended period, the Jublilee Center saw an increase in families needing help all through the summer. The center also helps the homeless.
“We have tarps and care bags for our (homeless) campers,” said volunteer Karen Moore. “When it rains, some campers’ stuff gets all wet, and in some cases it’s ruined. We help them replace some of the things they need.”
Supplies like bug spray, pop-up tents, sunblock, pop top canned goods, toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, shampoo and hand wipes are especially helpful donations right now.
Supporters of the center recently bought two turbo fans to cool off volunteers under the tent.
The center also re-opened the clothing closet after several months without volunteers to work due to COVID-19.
“It’s being done a little differently because of COVID-19,” Moore said. “Anyone can come to the closet. They can tell the volunteer what size they need and the volunteer goes to see if it’s in the closet while the person waits outside. We don’t expect it to be this way forever, but it’s a way to do it safely for now.”
The clothing is free and the closet is open 10 a.m. to noon on Tuesdays.
“We could really use volunteers on Tuesdays,” Moore said. “I seems to be the busiest day. We are seeing new faces. We understand why. A lot of people have been impacted.”
For more information, call the Jubilee Center at 941-681-3550.