By Denny Patterson
The Sunshine Cathedral has been a bright spot within the South Florida community for several years, and it continues to get better thanks to Rev. Dr. Anne Atwell and their entire staff. As the Minister of Connections, Atwell works with congregants to ensure they have the resources they need and works with community organizations to connect them with congregants. She is also head of the Cathedral’s Food Sharing Ministry.
“The Food Sharing Ministry began in 2016 with our Brown Bag Lunch Program,” Atwell said. “We create lunch bags which are distributed to various organizations and locations around our community. We are intentional in our outreach, specifically connecting with those in the LGBTQ community as well as those who are most vulnerable and food insecure.”
The Cathedral’s Food Sharing Outreach expanded in 2019 by beginning its food pantry. “It was a dream to expand beyond the Lunch Program and to offer grocery bags also with a specific focus on the LGBTQ communuty,” Atwell said. “We will serve everyone and we want those who are part of the LGBTQ community to feel very comfortable here. Our food pantry is very unique in that we offer grocery staples, bread, snacks, and fresh produce with no questions or judgment. You do not have to ‘qualify’ for food at Sunshine Cathedral. If you are hungry and need food, we will do everything we can to help.”
Wednesdays are Food Sharing Day, and volunteers assemble to create over 300 lunch bags for distribution. The food pantry opens on Wednesdays at 11:00AM and will stay open until they run out of the over 100 grocery bags, which is usually around 1:00PM. If someone needs groceries and cannot make it on Wednesday during pick-up times, they can make an appointment to get their needed groceries.
“I believe our local community benefits from our unique approach that turns no one away,” Atwell said. “A significant and noteworthy part of Sunshine Cathedral’s Food Sharing Ministry is the connection we have with other local groups such as Our Fund, Gay Men’s Chorus of South Florida, Island City Stage, SunServe, Bears of South Florida, South Florida Pride Wind Ensemble, Poverello, Broward House, Latinos Salud, etc. We share not only food, but information, support, and a desire to help others. It really is a phenomenal community in which we live and serve.”