Having enough food to feed families is a serious issue right now in Osceola County as many businesses were forced to closed their doors temporarily, laying off employees and suspending businesses for a greater good — to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Last month, Osceola County provided $45,000 to help prop up 15 key local food pantries — aid designed to last three weeks. But now it’s May, the next month, and the need is still just as great. So the county is making another $48,000 available to pantries like the one at St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church near Poinciana.

Prior to the start of the pandemic, the church’s pantry served about 170 families. Now there are 450 families being served, and its food costs have gone from about $500 a week to over $3,000 per week; and it’s not a story specific to just St. Rose of Lima.

“I’ve seen the people who never thought they’d ever be in line for food there,” said County Commissioner Brandon Arrington, whose district 3 includes the Pleasant Hill area, and who was on hand Tuesday to deliver St. Rose of Lima its piece of the county’s next round of food supply support.

The community can join the county in helping its neighbors. Osceola REDI (Recovery from Emergency Disaster Initiative), a non-profit organization made up of a coalition of faith-based and non-profit organizations, businesses, and governmental agencies, has partners with Osceola County to launch the “Feed Osceola” fundraising initiative. They’re working to pool community assistance to make sure there’s food available to those who need it until the pandemic is over, people are back to work and can afford to fill their own shelves like just a few months ago.

Osceola REDI has put together an initiative to raise $100,000 to help fund local food pantries through the end of June; and you can donate to the cause online, or checks made payable to Osceola REDI can be mailed to 704 Generation Point #101, Kissimmee FL 34744.

For a little motivation, Commissioner Arrington issued a challenge Tuesday — raise the $100,000 and he’ll shave his head.