More Than a Food Pantry
Interfaith Charities of South Lee (ICSL) is a community service organization serving the residents of South Fort Myers, Estero, and San Carlos Park.
Our mission is to feed the hungry and provide hope and help to those in need.
Our food pantry has been our main program, but now with our new building opening soon, we're adding back some more programs we had to put on hold, and we expect to add some new ones! So stay tuned!
97% of our cash and in-kind donations are used directly for program activities.
Interfaith Charities was formed in 1992 by the San Carlos Park/Estero Ministerial Association. At that time, the founding churches were looking for a way to more effectively provide assistance to those in need in this community. Our service area was established from Gladiolus Road in South Fort Myers down through Coconut Road in Estero.
Our original programs focused mostly on the needs of the elderly - respite care, meals on wheels, parish nursing, transportation to medical appointments, and some minor home repairs. Over the years, as the demographics changed, the services at ICSL changed as well.
Now our main programs focus on feeding the hungry. We receive donations from local stores, food banks, businesses, churches, communities, and individuals, and we also purchase fresh produce and dairy items. Our clients have access to both perishable items and shelf-stable items once a week.
We also have a financial assistance program that assists our clients in paying past-due electric and water bills due to a grant from United Way of Lee, Hendry and Glades. For the past 14 years we have also been a VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) site. This program provides free tax preparation to anyone who makes under $70,000 per year. We also assist our clients applying for the SNAP (aka food stamps) and Medicaid.
When COVID-19 hit, it greatly impacted our lives as well as the mission of Interfaith Charities. After a brief shut down, we reopened with a new design and implemented a new way of operating that kept our clients, volunteers, and team members safe. Despite our challenges, we continue to see reasons for hope in the years ahead!