At Second Harvest we have over 600 partner agencies who together help to fight and end hunger. One of our partner agencies in Orange County is Mt. Sinai Seventh-Day Adventist Church. Their food pantry is open every Wednesday from 1 p.m. -6 p.m. to help feed individuals and families in need. They are one of our larger agencies, and they serve over 1000 individuals each month from their pantry. We talked to Amy Walker from Mt. Sinai Seventh Day Adventist church for a success story, and she shared their Thanksgiving experience with us.
This year for Thanksgiving, the volunteers at the church were able to feed 2,501 of: Orlando’s low income residents, disabled, and the senior citizen, and homeless population in the Parramore district with a unique mobile outreach concept. Reaching out this way is particularly effective for those who have difficulty making it to a food pantry.
“Most of the people we were able to feed were because we knocked on their door. Some of the people we saw were amputees or blind and the rest was mostly senior citizens. The majority of them were in no condition to come out of their homes and stand in line especially in the rain. We had to go to them!” says Pastor Herman L. Davis.
Pastor Davis and his team spent two years redesigning their Thanksgiving distribution to feed many more people. Unlike past years the church had access to two large mobile units that can fully prepare and cook upward of 10,000 hot meals at any location it’s driven too. This allowed the volunteers to go to the people that needed their care the most, rather than have individuals to find them.
After an entire day of cooking prep, the Mt. Sinai Community Outreach Volunteer team was ready for their first stop. At 1 p.m. on Thanksgiving Eve served a menu of collard greens, mixed greens, curried egg plants, turkey breast, rice and gravy, baked whole turkey and mash potatoes, which some of the food for the meals were received from Second Harvest. And they served 900 hot meals while people waited in light rain. Later that day the team was joined by Loving Hut restaurant who had witnessed what the volunteers were accomplishing and wanted to join in and help. Loving Hut prepared an additional 200 vegetarian meals consisting of egg rolls, rice, and vegetables.
On Thanksgiving Day a three man team; Pastor Davis, Ken Unick, and Dave Worrell distributed another 700 hot meals donated by the Salvation Army to the Maxwell Terrace community which are both partner agencies of Second Harvest Food Bank. A third wave of volunteers went out again on the Sunday immediately following Thanksgiving Day and fed an additional 501 people. While this initiative had been planned well in advance the outcome is still unbelievable.
The volunteers have returned to their bi-weekly Wednesday food distributions from 1 p.m.-5 p.m. where they package a week’s worth of groceries for the public at the church located at 2600 Orange Center Blvd. Orlando, FL 32805. “Mt. Sinai is full of compassionate people who are dedicated to touching the individual lives of the community, these volunteers are a blessing and serious about the impact of our outreach,” says member Timotheie Aurelien.
Agency Relations Manager