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St. Matthew’s House continues to meet growing food insecurity in SWFL

Not knowing where their next meals will come from, many families in our region are now turning to a food drive for help.

Cars lined up at St. Matthew’s House in Collier County this Thursday for assistance. And we spoke with a family who says they don’t know where they’d be without the help.

People are heading back to work, but St. Matthew’s Houses says the need is not slowing down; rather, it’s still growing.

Jon Harrington is among many struggling to pay the bills and put food on the table.

“To make ends meet it’s hard,” Harrington said. “Now, it’s hard.”

Harrington lives with his elderly mother and lost his job.

“Now that the pandemic is here, it’s even tougher to take care of her,” Harrington said.

That’s where St. Matthew’s House comes in. It hosts food giveaways every Tuesday and Thursday, handing out fresh produce and other staples provided by donations and Harry Chapin Food Bank of Southwest Florida.

Harrington told us this is the third time he’s taken advantage of the kindness of strangers and says he’ll be back.

“The income hasn’t been coming in for either of us, so it’s a blessing,” Harrington said. “It really is a blessing.”

And Bob Irzyk with St. Matthew’s House told us, despite the fact some people are going back to work, they’re seeing first-time families among those in long lines.

“The need just continues to get bigger and bigger every single day,” Irzyk said. “What we love to see is, when the folks come through the line, they pick up their food, and they smile, and they say, ‘Thank you. Thank you for helping feed our families here for another few days.’ And that makes it all worthwhile.”

St Mathew’s House fed close to 1,000 families during its two food drives this week. And the nonprofit confirmed it fed 635 families Thursday alone.

Jim Marks visited St. Matthew’s House and told us it was not for himself but for his grandchildren.

“It’s unbelievable what they do and what they give,” Marks said. “The quality is so good. It’s just unbelievable.

Reporter:Michelle Mackonochie
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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