Final week to donate

Published on: February 22, 2017

Final week to donate to Caring Castle

Rosie Korfant, project manager for Have a Heart Caring Castle Food Drive helps out in the little store.

The Have a Heart Caring Castle Food Drive is in the final week of the 2017 campaign. Readers have until Tuesday, Feb. 28, to fill the coffers before the huge food distribution to seven local food banks.

Next week, there will be a final tally on how much food was collected and photos of the distribution. We would like to exceed last year’s total of 4,000 pounds of food, and we know we can — with your help. The generosity of The Observer News readers each year is extraordinary.

This year, Project Coordinator Rosie Korfant of JSA Medical Group visited four of the seven local food banks to volunteer her services and report on how these groups are selflessly helping the community.

Last week Korfant visited Good Samaritan Mission and Beth-El Mission.

Good Samaritan Mission does a lot more than supply food to the hungry or impoverished. The mission uses a token system where clients can earn the items they need from the “little store.” Clients earn tokens by taking classes on a variety of topics that help them with daily living skills. They range from nutrition and sewing to minor car repair.

Youth volunteer Gracie Rowlette has started a free “little library” at the mission that gives children and adults an opportunity to borrow books.

Later on Tuesday evening, Korfant visited Beth-El Mission to volunteer at the Valentine’s Day Dinner.

Pastor Walter Chuquimia said that Beth-El Mission serves more than 2,000 people each month through the food pantry. And, on the second Tuesday of each month, they serve approximately 80 dinners. This month the dinner happened to land on Valentine’s Day.

There are 300 children in the charter school on the campus of Beth-El from kindergarten to eighth grade. There are also 60 children in the Head Start program.

Alexis Silva and Anabel Silva exit the cooler with big smiles as they gather chocolate-covered strawberries to serve to guests on Valentine’s Day at Beth-El Mission.

Korfant also dropped by St. Anne Catholic Church food pantry during distribution to witness the crowd of grateful recipients picking up their supplies of food for the week. The church’s new warehouse makes it possible to serve thousands of hungry citizens in the South Shore area.

All local food pantries are open to volunteers and donations year round.

The Have a Heart Caring Castle food drive is sponsored by The Observer News, JSA Medical Group, Winn Dixie Supermarkets, M&M Printing Company and News Channel 8. The final donation day is Feb. 28.

For drop-off locations and a list of food pantries benefitting from this food drive, visit and click on the Have a Heart logo on the right side of the page.

For more information, call Rosie Korfant at 813-419-5020, e-mail, or visit the Observer News website.

JSA Medical Group staff and volunteers, Rosie Korfant, Amy Fetters, Neru Patel and Delfi Bueno.

The University of Florida Extension Service conducts one 6-week long nutrition class each year at Good Samaritan Mission.

The sewing class at Good Samaritan Mission is led by Cinda Russell. This is where clients learn to make items that can be sold for extra money, or can be donated back to the mission.

Gracie Rowlette started a project called “The Little Free Library.” She took it upon herself to solicit and take donations for all the books and bookcases needed to begin a library encouraging Good Samaritan Mission clients to read and to introduce them to the borrow and lend system used by local public libraries.

St. Anne Catholic Church Food Pantry

Executive Director Kathy Dain hugs a guest entering the dining hall at Beth-El Mission. In the background Javier Izaguirre greets guests at the door.

At the Beth El Mission dining hall during a second Tuesday monthly dinner. Pictured from top left is Caring Castle Project Manager Rosie Korfant, Delfi Bueno, Anabel Silva and Javier Izaguirre operations manager. Seated is Alexis Silva.

All the classes at Good Samaritan Mission are coodrinated by Jennifer Daly.

Products from the sewing class.