COCOA BEACH | As part of their Red Ribbon Week activities, Our Saviour Catholic School’s National Junior Honor Society reached out to Rosa Reich of Catholic Charities of Central Florida. Reich suggested collecting hygiene supplies for the homeless living in outdoor camps throughout Brevard County.
Eighth-grader Audrey, president of the honor society, said, “It is the students of Our Saviour putting our mission statement into action.” Specifically, the part that says, “to cultivate Catholic faith, Gospel values and… exemplifying love and service to others.” She added, “Also, it reminds us of the greatest commandment – to love one another as Jesus loves us.”
Catholic Charities of Central Florida in Brevard County helps homeless individuals find housing, provides food through area pantries, and accompanies the Brevard Homeless Coalition on outdoor camp visits. The goal is to get them back on their feet, when possible.
Reich noted, “Parishes, businesses, and individuals have been providing items over the past year… this is the first time a school approached and asked if they could do something for the persons we serve.”
The need is real. “There are anywhere from 900 to 1,200 homeless persons on any given night,” explained Reich. Her work covers the central and north Brevard area – from beachside to west of I-95.
“We’ve seen a radical increase in calls from people needing help with rent and utilities,” since COVID, she said. “During the shutdown, in the early months of the pandemic, the outreach teams were going out at least twice a week providing food, hygiene, and sanitizing supplies to people living outdoors.”
She is grateful to Our Saviour honor society students and said, “It’s not about handing them food and hygiene items, it is about transforming their living situation.”
By Glenda Meekins of the Florida Catholic, November 18, 2020