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Now browsing: Hometown News > News > Volusia County

Deltona church offers food, clothing, counseling to needy
Rating: 2.77 / 5 (13 votes)  
Posted: 2012 Nov 16 - 06:16

 

 

By Erika Webb

 

 

The Bible teaches that God helps those who help themselves and a Deltona church is on a mission to demonstrate that message.

The ministry at St. Clare Catholic Church is based upon the work of its patron saint, St. Clare, who devoted her life to helping the poor.

Ministry coordinator Rosemary Ortiz said the St. Clare Someone Cares Ministry, with the help of volunteers and donations from parishioners, has been assisting parish families and those in neighboring communities for more than 20 years.

"Over the years this ministry has grown, enabling us to offer more services and assistance to, not only our Deltona neighbors but our neighbors in the surrounding communities of Lake Helen, Orange City and Osteen, where they don't have many resources," Ms. Ortiz said.

Every Tuesday is "pantry day" at St. Clare. Ms. Ortiz said that once a month, for six months, families in need may receive food from the church. Last year, she said, St. Clare's started offering "gently used" clothing and toys in addition to food. When funds are available through Catholic Charities the church is able to offer further assistance with utility bills and rent.

Recently the church has been able to assist the Deltona Pregnancy Center, offering diapers, food and formula to young mothers.

"We have an application process to determine that people are truly in need," she said. "We are an emergency facility where they can come while they try to get a more permanent means of support for their families."

She said referrals to other community agencies for financial and job counseling as well as help obtaining documents necessary to find employment, housing and other financial aid also are among the services Someone Cares offers.

This ministry never rests.

"Last year we had a winter coat program. Through donations from Burlington Coat Factory, we provided 19 coats to seniors in need," Ms. Ortiz said.

In July the "Get Ready for School Day" project provided school bags with supplies, clothing and 184 pounds of food and beverages to 36 children.

"That was to get them ready for the first three days of school while they applied for free or reduced (price) lunch," she said. "On the bags, we had the website printed with instructions on how to apply."

Last December the Angel Tree Program bestowed 172 Christmas gifts to 50 children. Each Thanksgiving and Christmas, 25 families per holiday receive a turkey and a Publix bag filled with everything necessary for a complete dinner.

"This past fiscal year our little ministry assisted 2,266 people through our pantry, holiday and special programs. Truthfully 80 percent of being able to do all of that is through the contributions and food donations of parishioners of St. Clare's Church," she said. "We get very little outside assistance, other than a small percentage from Catholic Charities."

Even the soured economy has not stood in the way of service. Ms. Ortiz said the food pantry has never gone bare and that in the five years she has been the coordinator, the ministry's services have steadily increased.

"When they say the Lord provides, that's so true because we have always had food to give out," she said.

But, she explained, she doesn't do this alone.

"I have my right hand, my left hand and plenty of other hands. These folks are like the U.S. Mail," she said of her fellow volunteers. "Through rain, sleet and hail, they're always there."

Ms. Ortiz and others have begun preparing bags of food for Thanksgiving. It seems the work never ends but she doesn't sound weary. Actually, she seems just the opposite.

"In Romans 12 we are told that God has given each of us the ability to do certain things well," she said. "If your gift is that of serving others, serve them well."




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