The We Care Food Pantry is an unfunded, 501(c)(3) corporation. We have over 160 volunteers who donate approximately 3,600 volunteer hours every month. Our volunteers are the heart and soul of our operation and are here because their hearts are in the right place and they want to give back to the less fortunate. Many of our volunteers are actually on our program.
Every month we provide food to approximately 2,600 people in Homosassa, including working poor families with children, seniors, veterans, and the homeless. We give our clients dry goods, produce, bakery, meat, dairy, frozen and refrigerated product along with household, cleaning and hygiene items. Our program is income based and our clients must qualify according to USDA guidelines.
We distribute food two times every month. Due to the amount of people that we service, we divide the alphabet into A-K and L-Z. Our food distribution is similar to a McDonalds drive through. Clients line up and stay in their cars. They drive up, sign in and our volunteers put the food in their cars.
We Care Food Pantry also shares food with over 30 agencies in Citrus, Marion, Hernando, Sumter and Pasco counties. We are able to reach tens of thousands of additional households with our food sharing program. We partner with large, world-wide charities in Ocala and Orlando who can distribute any excess product that we have.
Last year we rescued and distributed over 3 million pounds of food which equates to over 2.5 million meals. We have built a food procurement infrastructure like no other in our five county area. We bring in semi truckloads of food located throughout the country. A semi-truck holds 24 pallets and because these are donated products, we are able to procure these trucks for the price of delivery. We are also fortunate enough to pick up food from several national grocery store chains as well as partner with the Florida Gleaners in Orlando, several national beverage companies, a frozen food company located in Tampa and large agencies like ourselves throughout Florida. Our countrywide networking has produced some unusual items that we are able to donate to other agencies.
Food insecurity throughout our country is a plague that is not dissipating. At Homosassa Elementary School in Citrus County, 74% of school aged children are on the free and reduced lunch program and 27% of Citrus’ residents live below the poverty level. One in six adults and 1 in 4 children throughout our five county area suffer from food insecurity.
We Care Food Pantry does not stop at providing food to those in need. We have many outreach programs of which we are equally proud. We have donated books to help start the library at the Boys and Girls Club. We routinely donate items like diapers and baby bottles to the pregnancy center. We have donated mattresses to the homeless shelters. In 2016, we were able to donate $477,000 of eye glass frames to the Lion’s Club of Homosassa. Each Christmas we provide gifts to children who otherwise would go without. Together with Lowe’s we deliver fully lit and decorated Christmas trees to homes with children.
We are totally unfunded. We support ourselves through grants, fundraisers and generous people who believe in helping the less fortunate.
We have come a long way in our 12 year history. We Care Food Pantry through its capital campaign constructed two, 1.2 million dollar warehouses. WalMart Foundation donated $60,000 for our 26’ refrigerated truck and $30,000 for a fork lift. Publix Charities, Winn Dixie Foundation, Capital City Bank Foundation and Bank of America Foundation are all major contributors. We have constructed coolers and freezers with grants from USDA.
We also have a long way to go. There are so many of our neighbors in need and we need your help to continue this vital mission.
We welcome everyone to contact us for more information on our programs. We are proud of our operation and would enjoy conducting a personal tour so we can explain our complete vision for ending hunger. One picture is worth a thousand words, so please come and visit us.