March 2015 - HOPE for Lent
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Dear Friends of Catholic Charities of Central Florida,

In his 2015 Lenten Message, Pope Francis said, "Every Christian community is called to go out of itself and to be engaged in the life of the greater society of which it is a part, especially with the poor.” 

Help us bring hope to families in need by offering a prayer, a meal or a few hours or service during Lent. You can make a difference by organizing a food drive with your family, friends, church community or corporation. See below for more details. 

From February 18 through April 2 we’re teaming up with Knights of Columbus to collect food donations for the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, local parishes and Catholic Charities.

You can make a difference by organizing a food drive with your family, friends, church community or corporation. Then drop off your donations at a pantry near you! Visit our food drive webpage to see our list of participating parishes and drop off locations. 

Contact Christine to schedule a donation pickup at: or (407) 246-4823
Alleviating Hunger - Your Help Makes a Difference
Trucks, tractor trailers, and mini-vans fill the parking lot outside Agape Food Bank bright and early each weekday morning. A line slowly begins to form outside the 21,000 square foot food bank. 

As the garage doors open, a few people at a time are let in to shop for food at below wholesale prices and deeply discounted.  This food will be distributed to the community via food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, half-way houses, senior centers, schools, and other emergency aid providers. 

“We have about 20 to 40 shoppers a day,” said Angie Pattison, Agency Relations Manager at Agape Food Bank, a program of Catholic Charities of Central Florida that distributed over 9 million pounds of food In 2013-14.

Click here to read more.
When Disaster Strikes, Will You Know What to do?
Catholic Charities of Central Florida is presenting a new initiative to help educate the community on disaster preparedness and the resources available to help them before, during and after a disaster.

“What do you do after a disaster? How do you get the message out to your family and loved ones that you’re okay or that your need help?” asks Gabe Tischler, Emergency Management Specialist, Catholic Charities of Florida, Inc. who will be leading five Disaster Preparedness Workshops this March at churches throughout the Diocese of Orlando.

“It’s all about communication before, during and after the storm,” he said. 

Tischler advises that every household should have an emergency plan with a communication strategy to help get the word out to your family in case of emergency. 

“Cell towers are often overloaded after a storm, making phone calls almost impossible. It’s a similar situation for landlines that are now internet based and bundled with cable, internet and phone – when your internet goes out, so does your landline,” Tischler explained. 

“What people don’t realize is that text messaging will work when a phone call won’t because it doesn’t take up as much data. It’s the little details like these that can make a world of difference in an emergency situation,” said Tischler. 
Lake Morton Senior Center is now The Lakeland Activity Center for Seniors!
On Monday, March 2nd, Catholic Charities of Central Florida held a rededication ceremony and blessing for the new Lakeland Activity Center for Seniors. The center has a new name and new location at 1510 Commercial Park Drive. It is one of a kind in Lakeland. 

“Nearly one third of Polk County’s population is over the age of 55 and there is a great need for places just like this. It’s truly a jewel in Polk County,” said John Hall, Polk County Board of County Commissioners who attended the ceremony and thanked Catholic Charities of Central Florida for their continued dedication to serving the seniors in the community.  
Click here to read more. 
Share your heart of service this Lent by volunteering to mentor a child in our Refugee Youth Program, assisting with data entry and filling or sorting and packing food at a pantry near you! Click here to see our volunteer opportunities.
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