Dunedin Cares Food Pantry emerged from the need identified by the Dunedin Social Services committee. Our community faced hunger, forgotten families, and limited resources for assistance. Surveys revealed poverty caused by job loss, illness, financial setbacks, and medical bills, leaving little for food after paying rent and utilities. With few food pantries available, local churches attempted to help but lacked the capacity. Dunedin Cares was formed to address these gaps and provide essential support to those in need.
As a result of 4 years of surveys, meetings, discussions, and the hunger issue growing, Ed Hughes and recruited board members formed Dunedin Cares, Inc. a Florida corporation with 501(c)3, nonprofit status.
It was brought to the attention of The Board of Directors of Faith Lutheran Church that Dunedin Cares was looking for a permanent location for their food pantry. The Board approved, allowing Dunedin Cares, Inc. to operate the Food Pantry in a room located in the back of the church. The 600-square-foot space comes with its own rear entrance that works well for food distribution.
The Food Pantry opened its doors on November 12, 2015, for the first distribution of food bags to Dunedin residents in need, providing food, help, and hope. Over time we evolved from providing food bags to our clients to our current “Supermarket” approach, which encourages our clients to choose the items they would prefer.
In the first two years, Dunedin Cares experienced a steady 15% growth in clientele each month. By the fall of 2017, the organization had outgrown its existing donated space. Fortunately, two local churches stepped forward with incredible generosity. One church provided temporary space, while the other offered a property where a donated modular building could be located. The donated modular was successfully moved to the new location, and extensive renovations were undertaken to meet Public Safety codes. After completing the necessary upgrades and passing inspections, Dunedin Cares Food Pantry was ready to welcome clients at the new facility on April 4, 2018.
With the opening of the new food pantry, Dunedin Cares has tripled our square footage. We could not have done this without the generous donations and the many hours our volunteers gave.