GULF COVE — Tina Figliuolo and the Rev. Wes Runk know the invaluable resource food can be in a rough economy.
Hope Lutheran Church in Gulf Cove is doing what it can on church grounds to help— growing a variety of vegetables to donate to the Charlotte County Homeless Coalition.
“We have 18-plus planters in the garden,” said Runk, the church’s pastor. “Our goal is 40 to 50.”
The garden grows peppers, cabbage, tomatoes, onions, lettuce, beets, turnips and bok choy.
“We take three loads in a week in eco and plastic bags,” Runk said. “We give them 12 to 14 bags of vegetables a week.”
Runk said the church installed an irrigation system.
“We have maybe 10 or 12 people volunteer on a normal basis,” he said.
The homeless coalition runs a kitchen and a food pantry, the latter of which is open from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Fridays.
“Fresh produce is a luxury,” Figliuolo, the coalition director, said. “Our chef, Chris Smith, is resourceful enough to cook with what we have into a variety of foods. Any excess vegetables we have will be given to our food pantry.”
Figliuolo said the kitchen needs starchy vegetables like beans and potatoes. “It’s a blessing and our gratitude goes out to them,” Figliuolo said about the church volunteers. “We’re looking forward to our continued partnership with the church” to help serve the community.
Figliuolo spoke at the church’s jazz Mass Sunday.
The homeless coalition is located at 1476 Kenesaw St., Murdock. Hope Lutheran is located at 14200 Hopewell Ave. For more information about the coalition, call 941-627-4313. For more information about the church, call 941-697-2345.