The angels of Valencia Lakes — keeping hope alive

Anthropologist Margaret Mead once said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.  Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

Inspired by Mead, The Women’s Club of Valencia Lakes West has been instrumental in serving the underserved.  Helping to alleviate hunger by showering Our Lady’s Pantry with food and financial support has been among their goals for the past year, where unimaginable hardship has befallen so many.

“This club has been amazing in their care of us,” says director Tom Bullaro.  “They had a food drive for us around Mother’s Day — and then another one in October.  They donated $1,000 to us early this fall.  And another $700 in December.”

According to Bullaro, those donations were just the beginning.  Even individuals throughout Valencia Lakes have stepped up to make a difference.

When Publix had a two-for-one sale on their spaghetti recently, one neighbor emptied their shelves.  After filling her shopping cart to overflowing with spaghetti, she brought this pasta to the Pantry and filled our shelves.

And that’s not all, Bullaro added.  When COVID first shut down our country, another Valencia Lakes resident put a couple empty buckets in her driveway.  She went on the Next Door Web site to request food for the Pantry — and the most amazing thing happened.

Her buckets continually overflowed with food.  She was filling the trunk of her car every couple of days and delivering it to the Pantry regularly.

“Since March, she has delivered probably tons of food for our clients,” says Bullaro.

Yet that’s not all, he continued.  Much to everyone’s surprise, these same neighbors dropped off cash and checks, along with the food.

“This effort from the Women’s Club — as well as from countless residents throughout Valencia Lakes — has been keeping hope alive among those who come to us for food.

“This pandemic has been heartbreaking for many of our clients, who may have lost loved ones and/or jobs.  We like to think they can, at least, be at peace believing we will have food for them on Saturday mornings.  They need not worry about the source of their next meal, because of the kindness of so many.”