New food pantry gives those in SWFL access to meals around the clock

A new 24-hour food pantry is ready to help people in Port Charlotte no matter what time of day.

Pastor Prevoit Numa of Ebenezer Church has partnered with the Harry Chapin Food Bank to bring the food pantry to Charlotte County.

“I love to give to people, help people,” Numa said.

Harry Chapin Food Bank delivers food two to three times per week to help reach the people who sometimes fall through the cracks.

“Just a little extra help saves the day for a lot of people,” said volunteer Mona Wise.

Wise volunteers at the pantry and says she also uses it when she can’t make ends meet.

“Food stamps just don’t carry us through the month,” Wise said.

And Wise isn’t alone. One woman, who chose to remain anonymous, says she depends on the pantry.

“I do buy groceries on the side, but with a recent cancer diagnosis, the food that I’m supposed to eat becomes more and more expensive and it takes more and more money. This fills in a lot of gaps, where otherwise I simply would run out of food,” she said.

The food bank says there are more than 24,000 people who are food insecure, meaning they don’t know where their next meal will come from. It makes the need for a 24-hour food pantry all the more important.

Volunteers say since launching the 24-hour service May 30, they’ve already fed more than 1,000 people. Pastor Numa adds that they need help if they’re going to help even more.

“I need more help, volunteers to help and I need more food,” Numa said.

The Harry Chapin Food Bank says having 24-hour access to food is especially important during the summer months when kids are out of school, as two-thirds of all kids in SWFL are eligible for free or reduced lunches during the year.

To volunteer, visit their website here.

Reporter:Kristi Gross
Writer:Erica Brown
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