BY OLIVIA CAMERON- Throughout this four-part series, the community has been called on to donate to local organizations to make the holiday season bright. This week, we’re featuring the tremendous support St. David’s Jubilee Center of Englewood has received through the month of December to support those less fortunate.
St. David’s Jubilee Center has provided the greater Englewood area with food, clothing, back to school supplies and holiday goodies for years. The organization works to supply under-served families and homeless individuals with the products they need. Many locals and organizations have been able to give their time and supplies to a cause they believe in.
On December 3 the center received a $1,000 donation from Rotonda Elks to kick off the month. From there, Jubilee Center Administrator Ruth Hill knew the organization was in for a busy month.
“There have been blessings upon blessings,” said Hill. “We have been grateful for the community’s support.”
The Jubilee Center underwent an adjustment period to recalibrate their means of support. Hill devised a plan where the organization would still be able to receive donations and provide for the community in a safe way.
From there, the support continued to pour in. Bill Aderman with Caldwell Banker Sunstar Realty was able to secure a cooler with a $2,600 donation from the BNI Premiere Professionals for the Jubilee Center.
By December 7, the Jubilee Center received stacks of handmade quilts donated by the Sunshine Quilt Guild at St. David’s Episcopal Church, along with three carts of toys and food and a $230 donation.
As donations for the food pantry and Christmas Shoppe piled up, the Jubilee Center was receiving more donations than they could imagine. By mid-December, another organization was able to donate a total of $1,990.
David and Dana Lutz, owners of Thoroughbred Golf Carts, hosted the Englewood Chamber Business Card Exchange, where members brought tubs of non-perishable food items to add to the Jubilee Center food pantry.
St. David’s Knitters Group joined in. Sharyn Ciabatoni and Patti Stuart knitted blankets, hats, scarves, toddler sweaters … basically anything that can be made from a ball of yarn … to contribute to the center’s Christmas Shoppe.
On December 14, members of Boca Royale in north Englewood donated $7,000 from their “Dine and Donate” event to support the center.
The next day, James Bruns, President of Lemon Bay Sunrise Rotary, stopped by with a $2,000 donation.
By then, the center’s Christmas Shoppe for local kids was stacked with toys to the ceiling. At that point, Hill called upon the community to help 30 local families at Grande Aire’s Drive-Thru Christmas Celebration take home Christmas trees. The organization has since successfully been able to provide each of those families with a tree.
With support from the Ladies of Windward and the Englewood Moose Lodge, the Jubilee Center has reached new heights.
“We’ve officially hit a new record of clients served, about 1,000,” said Hill. “This would not have been possible without the community’s support.”
Florida has the third highest homeless population in the nation, following California and New York. In 2018, Charlotte County’s food insecurity prevalence was measured at 14.5 percent, with Sarasota County following closely at 13.6 percent. According to the Continuums of Care to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Florida had an estimated 28,328 individuals who experienced homelessness on any given day in January of 2019.
The U.S. Department of Education reported roughly 95,167 public school students experienced homelessness through the course of the 2017-2018 school year.
To learn more, visit usich.gov.