MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. — A Treasure Coast nonprofit and its volunteers are making sure those in need have a warm meal this Thanksgiving.
Workers at Love and Hope in Action near Stuart were busy Tuesday preparing to feed 80 to 100 people for a Wednesday feast.
They say the need for food has grown significantly this year due to the impacts of the pandemic.
"So far this year, we have served 8,424 meals," said executive director Brenda Dickerson. "[We have had] 569 brand new intakes -- meaning new clients needing assistance just since Jan. 1."
She said their organization, which serves more than 100 meals each day, six days a week, is open to anyone in need.
"Folks come to us feeling ashamed or embarrassed, and we let them know that that’s not necessary. That's what we're here for. We want them to feel comfortable," Dickerson.
The group's chefs were in the kitchen Tuesday preparing Wednesday's big meal.
"We're going to be closed Thanksgiving Day, so we're going to have our big Thanksgiving meal tomorrow at 1 p.m. for the homeless and hungry and Martin County," Dickerson said.
Love and Hope in Action is open weekdays for anyone needing a meal.
"We're open Monday through Friday for breakfast and dinner … with our big meal tomorrow. We will also be handing out a sack lunch that’s going to give them something Thursday. On Saturday, we will be giving them a bag to get them through Sunday," Dickerson said.
She says helping others warms her heart.
"It’s a blessing to see the changes in their lives and the changes in their faces and their demeanor," Dickerson said.
Love and Hope in Action offers an array of programs and services to meet people's basic needs, including:
- Two nutritious meals a day
- Hot showers
- Laundry facilities
- Clothing pantry