When a Parish is focused on giving back to the community during a global pandemic it must get creative to connect with the faithful while also raising money for important causes.
To do this, the staff at St. Leo the Great Parish came up with “St. Leo Shares – A fundraiser event to make your mouth water.” Starting at 3 p.m. each Thursday afternoon there is a drive-thru for take-out food at the Parish Life Center in Bonita Springs. The menu regularly changes, therefore, on Aug. 6, 2020 the offerings from local caterer Frisco’s were a slice of Cuba with a cost of $15 per meal.
Part of the proceeds from the food directly supports the Catholic Charities Diocese of Venice Inc. Food Pantry located on the Parish property.
Father Jarek Snoisek, Pastor of St. Leo the Great, directs traffic and greets each vehicle when his schedule allows. He said the drive-thru food has generated excitement while addressing a real need in support of the food pantry.
“The people here at St. Leo Parish are very generous,” Father Sniosek said, as many of the vehicles coming through not only purchased dinners but dropped off canned goods and donated money.
The proceeds from the first few offerings have allowed the Parish to provide $25 Publix gift cards to those coming each week to the Catholic Charities food pantry. The goal is to distribute 600 within the coming months.
Anne Bellows, Assistant to the Pastor, said the success of the drive-thru has been overwhelming as the food often runs out by 4 p.m. with some vehicles lining up 30 minutes before. In addition, the interaction with faithful helps to build the connection to the Parish while also supporting the outreach efforts.
Bellows added that the Parish also supports food pantries at Jesus the Worker Parish in Fort Myers, St. Joseph the Worker Parish in Moore Haven and St. Margaret Parish in Clewiston.
“The people of St. Leo Parish have always been responsive to those in need,” Bellows explained while wearing festive hats decorated with flowers and fruits. “We all realize that now the need is greater than ever.”
St. the Great Parish is located at 28290 Beaumont Road, Bonita Springs and the drive-thru opens at 3 p.m. until the food lasts. For more information, call 239-992-0901.