Couple spends retirement giving back to their community
Impact Outreach Ministry gets results in South Orlando neighborhood
ORLANDO, Fla. – Louis and Irene Taylor, founders of The Impact Outreach Ministry of Central Florida, are this week's Getting Results Award winners.
The Taylors started the nonprofit in 2011 with the intention of helping students with after-school study. They quickly realized the neighborhood's needs were as diverse as its residents.
Located a few blocks off South Orange Blossom Trail, a line of people gather in front of a small concrete block building in a residential neighborhood. A sign on the wall says, "ministering, mentoring and tutoring" but on one recent morning, people were waiting for a box of groceries that will get them by until the first of the month.
"Everyone who's on food stamps knows that the last week of the month is the hardest," Jeanette Nelson said. "They usually give out food on Monday and Thursday, but once a month, the Second Harvest truck will come and that's when there's more people."
Louis Taylor watched as 24 pallets of food were unloaded in the driveway. By the end of the day, 400 people walked away with about 30 pounds of food each.
"There are several pockets of Orange County that are forgotten," Louis Taylor said as he moved fruit and vegetables from one box to another. "This area is a melting pot of our county. You will find every single ethnicity here, but you'll find them at the bottom of the (economic) scale."
The food pantry is just one of the programs associated with The Impact Outreach Ministry. The organization also hosts a 4-H Club for children, a weekend and summer lunch program, after-school tutoring and mentoring as well as adult GED and employment assistance.
"I would venture to say my biggest impact would be on the youth in education," Louis Taylor said. "That's where Mrs. Taylor and my strengths are. I'm a chemist with a minor in mathematics, and she is a biologist."
The Taylors said education was key to their opportunity and prosperity. Now that they're retired, they want to give back.
"We have seen what education has done in our lives and what it has done in our children's lives. This started out with us wanting to reach into the impoverished community, finding young kids that might not have people that can help them at home," Louis Taylor said.
Within an hour's time, 100 boxes of food were given out and the crowd began to thin. Nelson took a moment to transfer her food into bags. She said it will be easier to carry to the bus stop.
"God bless you, deacon," she told Louis Taylor.
"It's an opportunity to just give back," Louis Taylor, said looking on. "We've been blessed, and we just wanted to find an opportunity to be a blessing to others."
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