“I know you care, but you can’t keep spending your paycheck on this…”
Kali Fabal, SE Regional Director for Lutheran Services Florida, was telling her team member to stop spending so much of her personal money on groceries for their immigrant clients. While Kali admired counselor Diana Davila’s commitment, Diana was using so much of her personal time, money and other resources to make sure families in the area had enough to eat.
But the need was just too great.
Diana often drove to her clients’ homes to make sure they had enough to eat. One client in particular was struggling because their husband left during the height of the pandemic, and the mother had to work from 4am to 6pm every day. She lacked both the time and money to get the food she needed to feed her family. So she used what little she had to buy cheap fast food for her children. The mother grappled with a daily decision to fill her children’s bellies with whatever was affordable and giving them something nutritious that cost more than she could spare.
“A lot of our clients are in these tough situations,” says Diana. “They’re doing the best they can, but it’s not enough.”
But then something amazing happened.
Despite their compassion and commitment, the small LSF counseling team of three was unable to maintain door-to-door grocery drop-offs. There were simply more families than team members, and they were quickly overwhelmed.
Then one day, they learned about the Feeding South Florida grant and decided to apply. They didn’t think it would happen until months later when they got the call and were told that they were chosen as recipients for the funds!
The team sprang into action and began transforming some of their office space into a food pantry. With the grant, they’ll now be able to feed between 80-100 families each week!
While the team is still working out the logistics of the food pantry operation, they are eager for the doors to open in late December 2021/ early January 2022. They hope to feed immigrant families across Fort Lauderdale, and they’re thankful for the grant that helped to make it possible.
If you’d like to participate in this initiative, please consider donating brown paper bags for the team to distribute; volunteering on Saturday mornings as the team sorts and distributes food; or donating new packages of socks and underwear that these families so desperately need to clothe their little ones. You can also contact Diana Davila at email@example.com.