CCF Grants Allow for Wintergarden Presbyterian Church Food Pantry Renovation
Over the past couple of years, Wintergarden Presbyterian Church has received much-need support from the Charlotte Community Foundation (CCF) in the form of grants totaling nearly $20,000.
The grants made Wintergarden’s Food Pantry & Community Gardens expansion possible and paid for a commercial freezer. Both times they received news of the grants, Reverend Devon Andrews said the reaction was the same.
“I think we just cried,” she said.
The need was great. The small church, whose ministry is to feed people spiritually through the food pantry and community garden, food forest, sensory garden, and worship, had been running their food pantry out of an old three-car garage at the church. There was no air conditioning or running fans, the lights were burning out, and the doors didn’t close all the way, leading to a problem with rats.
“It was pretty bad,” said Andrews. “The grant allowed us to make the building safe so we could keep food there. We were able to fix the ceiling, get appliances, doors, air conditioning, and we updated the electrical and lighting.
“To be honest, our volunteers might have cried more than I did because they were so excited (when we got the grant).”
Andrews said she learned about the CCF grants through one of their volunteers, who just happened to live across the street from the organization’s CEO, Ashley Maher.
“They were talking about how many people were coming to our facility and that we just weren’t able to manage,” said Andrews. “Ashley told her that they had grants available from the foundation, and she told Ashley what we did at Wintergarden with our feeding ministry.
“And they reached out. That’s the power of relationships – and that is very much the key in Charlotte County. There are just so many caring people in this community.”
Andrews said the Charlotte Community Foundation’s impact was evident all around the area.
“I think CCF is involved with every nonprofit in this community,” she said. “They make such a tremendous impact, and I don’t think most people even know about it because they do so much of it behind the scenes.
“The biggest gift is that staff; they are wonderful, and they care about the community. They visit the organizations and spend time with everyone who receives funding. With the Charlotte Community Foundation, there is a deep level of care – and that is felt and very much appreciated.”