Whether it’s sewing protective masks, printing free coloring books, holding prayer services, giving away pizzas or providing pallets of food — people across The Laker/Lutz News are stepping up to help others, in response to the coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
Linda Mitchell, of the GFWC Lutz-Land O’ Lakes Woman’s Club, has organized a group of seamstresses who are using their skills to make protective masks.
Mitchell delivers the 100% cotton fabric and ¼-inch elastic needed to make the masks to the volunteer seamstresses, then beeps her horn when she drops off the materials in the volunteer’s driveways.
The staff at RP&G Printing, in Wesley Chapel, created youth activity and coloring books and adult coloring pages, as a way of giving back to the community — during these stressful times. They leave them outside for people to pick them up, and post pages to social media so people can print them, to avoid personal contact.
At AdventHealth Wesley Chapel, a group of “prayer warriors” arrived by caravan, to pray for the hospital’s care team and community. There were two mobile digital boards with scriptures, and the group honked their horns and flashed their lights before parking to pray, according to a news release from the West Florida Division of AdventHealth.
The group’s next planned stop was on March 28, at Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point.
Meanwhile, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, donated 20,000 pounds of food on March 27, splitting the delivery between Lewis Abraham Lacoochee Boys & Girls Club and Metropolitan Ministries.
Pitching in at the Boys and Girls Club were State Rep. Randy Maggard, who represents District 38 in the Florida House of Representatives; Patrick Thornton, stake president for the church; Cassie Coleman, director of Boys & Girls Club; and Kathy Hunt, director of Restored Hope, which received 2,300 pounds of food to help people in East Pasco, according to Melonie Monson, who is involved with the church.
Life Church, in Wesley Chapel, has been providing ongoing help and remains committed to doing what it can, said Robin Granger, director of Life Community Center, which is operated by the church.
“Our pastors unequivocally said, ‘This is the time that we move forward and we press in and we don’t step back,’” said Granger, whose church is providing to-go meals instead of community lunches once a week and operating a drive-thru food pantry on another day.
It is willing to do more, she said.
“If there are folks who are sick and shut-in, I have a team of volunteers and we also have a team of folks from the church who would be willing to deliver boxes of food to them.
“If you know people who need someone to help organize donations, we have the team of people and the willing congregation to step in and be the hands and feet of who we say we are, and what we’re supposed to do,” she said. (Those needing help should call (813) 994-0685).
The church wants to help, but could use some help, too, Granger said.
It needs more food donations because grocery stores have less to give these days, Granger said.
Bubba’s 33, a restaurant in Wesley Chapel, also is stepping up. On March 27, it gave away 33 pizzas to the first 33 patrons waiting in line at 3:33 p.m.
The goal was to help feed hungry families, according to a news release.
The Pasco County Sheriff’s Office is pitching in, too.
Deputies and other agency employees are making takeout purchases at businesses across Pasco County, to offer support during these trying times.
Donations also are coming from major companies, as well as individuals.
Florida Blue, for instance, is providing $100,000 to help the Tampa Metropolitan Area YMCA, YMCA of the Suncoast and YMCA of Greater St. Petersburg.
The money is being combined with donations by YMCA members to offer all-day youth relief care for essential workers at 21 Y locations across Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Citrus and Hernando counties.
The gift is part of $2 million that Florida Blue is using to address urgent health and safety needs in communities across the state.
There’s also a group called Together in Peace that wants to reach out to seniors who normally go to community senior centers during the week, but are unable to do so because the centers are closed.
“We will be calling them to say hello, have a friendly chat, and offer some social connection during this time of social distancing,” Sharon Hall, a member of the group, said via email.
“At this time we are just waiting for response back from Pasco County Senior Services, who we understand will connect us with seniors that have signed up/indicated they would like to be contacted,” Hall said.
Also, NAMI Pasco, a mental health care organization that provides programs and support groups, has temporarily ceased its programs. But, it is offering text peer support services to those with mental health conditions, from noon to 6 p.m., each day it is closed, with the promise of responding within one hour. To use the service, text (863) 223-6799, and provide your first name. Anyone with a mental health emergency should call 911.
Published April 1, 2020