Our City Weston April 2012
By Clark Kilgard, Public Relations Chair – Rotary Club of Weston
One out of six people in America go hungry every day. It is worse for children, where one in four go hungry. Broward County numbers reflect the national pattern. LifeNet4Families, formerly the Cooperative Feeding Program, serves individuals and families in poverty by providing counseling, a daily hot meal, emergency food pantry, telephone usage, case management, food stamp application, showers, mailroom and baby supplies. They serve over 300 meals per week and provide over 200 food boxes per week. All total, they provide about 1.2 million meals a year.
Members of the Rotary Club of Weston have been spending many of their Saturday mornings as volunteers. They have served and prepared hot meals, assembled food boxes, stocked the pantry, stained benches, cleaned out storage containers, organized the warehouse and spruced up the mailroom. Club members have also donated a substantial amount of peanut butter, which is always in short supply.
LifeNet4Families is much more than serving meals to those in need. They try to make positive changes that support those they serve in getting not just a handout, but a helping hand up. At a recent club meeting, Rotarians heard the story of “Sammy”, and example of what the work of LifeNet4Families means to thousands of people needing support to get out of crisis.
Sammy, an Army veteran, became one more victim of the downturn in the economy. His position at work was eliminated and the home he was renting went into foreclosure. With nowhere else to go, he slept behind a dumpster at a gas station. However, he was able to use the LifeNet facilities for a shower and a daily meal. Today he has a job, a roof over his head and three square meals a day. He stopped back at the facility with a big smile on his face, thanking them for the work they do every day. Then, wishing he could give more, he handed them a $50 cash donation.
Homelessness and hunger are not new to Broward County. LifeNet4Families began over 25 years ago at First Lutheran Church in Fort Lauderdale. A small food pantry at the church was overwhelmed by the needs of neighborhood homeless and hungry. They began making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to hand out at the door. Soon the meal moved indoors and was offered six days a week. Then in 1985 six other churches signed on to incorporate as the Lutheran Cooperative Feeding Program of Fort Lauderdale, Inc.” As program expanded beyond this base it became the Cooperative Feeding Program, and now LifeNet4Families, serving about 1.2 million means per year.
The Rotary Club of Weston is recognized as one of Southwest Broward’s leading community service organizations. Weston Rotary meets at Weston Hills Country Club every Thursday morning, year-round, from 7:30 – 8:30am to enjoy a buffet breakfast and a lively meeting program. For further information about Weston Rotary, visit our website at www.WestonRotary.org, or stop by our FaceBook Fan Page (Rotary Club of Weston) for the latest happenings.