The Benedictine Sisters of Florida respond to the needs of the community in multiple ways. While we are more conscious now more than ever about food insecurity due to the coronavirus crisis, one of our ongoing ministries is running the local food bank and thrift shop, Daystar Hope. One of our Sisters, Sister Jean Abbott, is the executive director and other Sisters volunteer to ensure those in need have access to food, clothing and other necessary items for living. For the past several years, 8 to 10 tons of food have been distributed monthly. Once Covid hit, all the food distribution centers closed. Daystar quickly reopened knowing the intensity of the need. We network to obtain donations from individuals, churches, stores and various groups to add to what the USDA provides.
For 24 years the Sisters have provided a Thanksgiving Day dinner for the poor and those alone. A sit-down dinner is held at Saint Anthony of Padua’s parish hall on the day with all the trimmings for 250 to 300 guests. Along with our faithful volunteers, we also deliver meals to those who are home-bound. The night before Thanksgiving is fun as we gather with volunteers to peel 125 pounds of potatoes!
Of course the 2020 event had to be cancelled due to Covid. However, perseverance prevailed and we partnered with the Knights of St. Mark the Evangelist parish and First Presbyterian Church, Dade City to provide special food baskets. God is good.