St. Cloud food pantry closes after 3 decades serving community

Last day for service for the pantry will be Nov. 19

ST. CLOUD, Fla. – The community of St. Cloud in Osceola County is facing a pretty big loss. For more than three decades, the St. Cloud Community Pantry has been helping the less fortunate but at the end of the year, it will be saying farewell.

“It’s such a shame. It’s such a shame that they’re closing. I didn’t expect that,” Katherine Sánchez said.

The mother of two said she’s been going to the food pantry for three years.

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“We don’t apply for you know SNAP or food stamps, we can’t. This pantry has been such a blessing for our family,” she said.

The pantry had been providing food for 34 years but the board voted to close their doors in December. According to the pantry’s director, Tammi Madison, contamination from several decades ago was found in the ground, prompting OUC to do an environmental clean-up which will require demolishing the buildings as well.

“It’s been very emotional for me and a lot of our volunteers, and we really don’t wanna let go,” Madison said, adding the decision was mainly based on the fact that they’ve had issues finding more people to help out with sorting and distribution of donations.

“We actually don’t have enough volunteers. A lot of them are aging out due to illnesses and moving away,” Madison said.

Since making the decision to close, the food pantry has been handing out grocery store gift cards to those already registered with the pantry.

“I know what my clients are feeling, what they’re going through, and the struggles that they have and I want to continue reaching out and I told the city I’m not going away,” Madison said.

She added her plan is to come back bigger and better next year. Her goal is to work with six churches across St. Cloud to continue her mission to provide food for those in need.

“This is gonna be a new uprising way of doing pantries in our community,” Madison said.

The last day for service for the pantry will be Nov. 19. If you’re interested in helping out the pantry or making a donation, Tammi Madison can be reached via their Facebook page.

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About the Author:

Carolina Cardona highlights all Central Florida has to offer in her stories on News 6 at Nine. She joined News 6 in June 2018 from the Telemundo station in Philadelphia.