Fighting Hunger One Meal at a Time!
Message from Nancy Martin, Executive Director
Interfaith Caregivers of South Lee, Inc. dba Interfaith Charities of South Lee (ICSL) is a community service organization serving the residents of South Fort Myers, Estero, and San Carlos Park. Since its founding in 1991, ICSL has grown at a significant rate to meet the increasing needs of the community.
Our mission is to feed the hungry, and provide help and hope for those in need. Our main program is a food pantry. The local merchants, HOAs, churches, and individuals donate dry goods and perishable items. We also receive food from the Harry Chapin Food Bank and Midwest Food Bank. A grant from United Way of Lee, Hendry Glades and Okeechobee funds our financial assistance program that pays utility bills, rents and mortgages for clients.
Other programs include connecting clients with available services such as VITA a free income tax return preparation service. Last year VITA volunteers completed 742 returns netting $1,016,726 in returns in 2018. This money filters back into our community. ICSL is a year round tax facility in Lee County.
As the Estero/San Carlos Park United Way House, other UW partners are able to utilize our property to its fullest. Each week is busy with activities including teaching English as a second language from Bonita Springs Literacy; and Peer-to-Peer group counseling by NAMI (National Association for Mental Illness). We also host agency workshops such as Veterans services workshop, Healthy Start baby shower, Partners in Breast Cancer mobile mammogram bus, Lee County Library bookmobile. We continue to add new programs, as we are able, in order to provide essential services that would otherwise go unmet.
ICSL’s continued success is directly dependent on our volunteers. In 2018, volunteers recorded 22,505 hours of service The estimated time cost of volunteer service hours is estimated to be $450,000. Opportunities exist in our office and pantry for sorting baked goods, stocking shelves, and assisting clients that come for help. Volunteer drivers are needed for food pickup at local stores or to deliver hot meals to shut-ins. ICSL is also an approved service-learning site for FGCU students and other youth that need to complete volunteer service hours.
Financial donations both large and small allow us to continue to work in our community and 98% of our cash and in-kind donations received are used directly for program activities.
We are thankful for the faithfulness of our supporters, staff, volunteers, and board of directors who demonstrate their compassion in many areas of service. Without them, we would not be able to meet the needs of our neighbors in our community.
ICSL is a place where people like you and me who care about our neighbors meet real needs. We continue to be a lifeline for more men, women and children every week. That means we continue to need your support through your time, energy and finances to enable us to purchase food, fund programs and operational costs, and purchase capital equipment.
Thank you all for our continued support of the work we do.