LAND O'LAKES, Fla. - More than a year ago Pastor CJ Johns and volunteers from his church, Father and Son Love Ministries, opened a free food pantry to help residents in their Land O' Lakes community.
"We've always been a ministry that believed in work in the community," said Pastor Johns. "We want to grow big change."
What started as a help to the local community has now grown into a necessity for many of the church's neighbors even touching those even further away.
Johns commented, "On a normal week prior to the coronavirus we served over 200 people. Since then, it's doubled and we wanted a holistic experience for people who are suffering financially.”
He rallied the partners of the ministry to include clothing and toy donations along with the food as more and more full families in need began showing up at the pantry.
"Anything we can do to defray some of the stresses (going on right now), we want to do it," Johns explained. "That's why we feed for an entire week, not just a few days."
Thanks to a new partnership with the catering business Station House BBQ, Father and Son Love Free Food Pantry also offers an immediate hot meal for all those who show up at the pantry.
That partnership brought about a new dynamic for Pastor Johns. "We also have a delivery service," he said.
Station House BBQ is a local catering business that operates from a converted full-size fire truck.
Owner Anthony Fonseca brings the truck the pantry to cook hot meals for those who show up for food; and, when the Pastor has the boxes ready, Fonseca drives them to the senior centers that the pantry sponsors.
Pastor Johns said, "On the Station House firehouse firetruck we deliver to senior citizens in the firetruck."
Fonseca said, "A lot of the people that he feeds are elderly people... and they don't have the ability to shop."
"People need hope right now," related Pastor Johns, "It gives them a feeling that things can get better."
Click here to find out more about the ministry and how to help them serve the community.
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