Where are you now?
"Since the Covid-19 pandemic began in March 2020, a huge number of our citizens lost their jobs and needed food, personal care items, and new-baby materials. Second Chance Last Opportunity stepped up to answer these needs every Wednesday and Friday at its headquarters, 1933 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Way. The Sarasota and surrounding communities have been generous with donations, both cash and in-kind, but the lines get longer every week. Fortunately, the Life Skills Training classes have been able to continue via the computer software platform, Zoom. Many citizens are enrolled with the goal of finding employment. Second Chance Last Opportunity also gives the training in the Sarasota jail."
What are your biggest challenges?
"Second Chance Last Opportunity was never conceived as a food pantry, but the need was so desperate, we had to step up and provide our citizens with food, etc. Our storage capability is limited. Refrigeration of donated food is a challenge. Our dedicated volunteers try to make sure the pantry is emptied every Wednesday and Friday. With the restrictions of Covid, citizens must order their items online ahead of time and receive their groceries at curbside. Everyone must be masked. It's important to note that citizens with food insecurity are members of all races and are coming from as far away as North Port and Palmetto."
What are you most proud of?
"Second Chance has been very successful in increasing visibility in the Sarasota and Bradenton communities, as well as increasing donations. Our efforts have been featured in print media and TV."
What do you wish people understood about your efforts?
"This is very important. As citizens wait in line for groceries, many decide to enroll in the Life Skills Training classes via Zoom. No one wants to wait in line for a hand-out. We addresses the participants' individual challenges and shows them a way around them."