Good Samaritan Ministries evicted from property, searching for new food pantry location

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla.

Employees of a Treasure Coast food pantry are worried about how they will be able to feed hundreds of families who depend on them for meals.

The Good Samaritan Ministries was evicted on Thursday by their landlord.

While the organization works to do good for the community, the landlord says they were causing him problems.

Documents filed in court describe the landlord was concerned that people were feeding wild raccoons out of the back of the building. He also listed complaints that the ministry was building without a proper permit and that he wasn’t getting his rent checks in a timely manner.

"The landlord said that we weren't able to pay our rent and we were able to prove that we were," employee Sara O’leary said.

O’Leary showed WPTV  copies of checks that had been paid and deposited by the landlord this year, adding up to the required monthly payment.

Pastor Vito Bitetto said they tried showing the proof of payments to a judge, however, he said their attorney was out of the country. Corporations can not represent themselves in court, therefore, that information could not be presented.

In court documents, the landlord said they hadn’t paid enough, and that they paid late.

Now they worry about helping families with their food pantry, as well as their thrift store, shelter, and community services.

Shana Whittle and her six kids found themselves in a tough situation several years ago. “We found ourselves homeless after their father died,” Whittle said.

Whittle says she and her kids traveled to Port St. Lucie from Virgina when they heard they could stay together as a family at Good Samaritan Ministries and have access to food. "There was no hesitation that he would help me and my family," Whittle said.

The ministry has selected a new location, but worries that the lease will not be finalized before they receive their next order of 4,000 pounds of food.

“Well have the food pantry out of my house if we have to,” O’Leary said.


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