I miss going to your place for dinner. Thanks you so much for all the help you have given me at times. It was always nice to know that I had a place to go if I was in need. Tell everyone I said hello.
- Food Pantry & Distribution Center (Fridays, 9-11am)
- Cafe & Dinner Service (Monday-Friday, 3-6pm)
- Help for elementary school students to succeed
- Resources to help women with domestic violence and human trafficking
- Our services and additional resources to sustain the quality of lives and redirect those in need to an independent and successful personal future
Our Services & Programs
We invite you to visit us at 4711 Palm Beach Blvd., Fort Myers. It will be our pleasure to see you and give you a guided tour of our humble space which houses an “abundant heart”.
- Christmas with Santa: Our services involve gifts for children are organized and distributed
- Children: More than 450 children are provided back-to-school supplies, backpacks, and shoes
- Elderly: Our services involve food and clothing to the elderly community in Immokalee
- Physically Challenged: provides food and clothing to those who are hindered by physical challenges
- Migrant Outreach: Serving the migrant community with prayer service, food and clothing
Our Covid-19 Response...
Our challenge, like us, you likely feel that you have been on a COVID-19 roller coaster for the past two year. As people began stocking up for home isolation, food that would have been donated to us by grocery stores, food banks, churches, and individuals is greatly diminished while our need for that food is increasing. At the same time, the need for our services and weekly food pantry with bagged groceries to take home, has increased by 50% to over 130 families a week. Purchasing the needed food is our only option.
Testimonials of Our Services
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I was a police officer and saw the homeless on a daily basis. At one point the governor where I was working closed the mental health center and all the homeless centers and they had nowhere to go. It was very upsetting watching them with no options. I dealt with it for 10 years and had conversations with God during throughout the process. At one time I told God that if I survived this job, I would feed the world, at least in the places that I can. It took me a while to get to the point as life intervened. About 10 years ago, I came back.
Feeding the homeless in SMDP or where they live is an essential part of what I am now doing, because it was clear that many homeless people can’t fit into society; they feel comfortable where they are, whether they come in to eat or I take the food to them. I cook at SMDP regularly, and now have a bus that I am working to fill with food and take to the homeless. When I cook dinner, I will make extra and put it in the bus to deliver to the people where they are. I made a promise to feed the world and this place is helping me do it.
My name is Bob Ferry and I am volunteer on the Board of Directors of St Marten de Porres. Several years ago, I became aware of this Outreach Ministry in a round-about way. A friend told me about a group of people that were devoted to serving the poor and homeless. I asked how I could help and was advised they needed a washing machine to clean the laundry for the overnight homeless guests. Guests who receive a night where they can rest, sleep and a place to shower. This set me wondering, what could I do to help? I was able to raise the money to buy the washer and that started me on a very worthwhile and rewarding mission. One of our volunteers started me picking up food from grocery stores and then I worked at the food pantry but felt I needed to do more. I was asked if I could help the Board of directors and join them in this ministry. I jumped at the chance because I am what people call, a worker-bee and will use all my experience and skills to help whatever these people need to help them survive. I care about people and trust the saying, “A life is not a life unless lived for others”.
There is more to my story. This ministry not only feeds and houses those that cannot help themselves but is a mission focused on helping people regain dignity and return to society. Those who have fallen on hard times need us more now than any time in the past. Regaining or acquiring something they may have once had but have since lost is our motive. No one should ever be forgotten. These new friends are in dire need and this motivates me to help whenever or wherever I can.
Let me end with a story. I worked the food pantry awhile back and while waiting for the next guest, a little girl perhaps, 5 or 6, came and stood next to me. I said hello and continued assisting moms and dads pick up food. A little while later I noticed she was still next to me, just following. I started to wonder why I had a new sidekick. I asked her if she wanted something and received a non-recognizable answer, I believe she was Hispanic. I asked her where her mom was, and she pointed to a woman sitting at the table. By now I was holding a little hand. We walked over to mom and I asked if she knew what her daughter wanted. Mom said she wanted nothing, I just told her you were helping us get food for dinner. My life changed that day.
I have been volunteering with the after school & English program for a few months. It is really fulfilling to build a relationship with the kids and see them so willing to learn. They go to different schools so in this environment they are meeting new students & making friends. Besides the learning aspect I have seen timid personalities blossom into confident kids. I am thankful to be part of this work.
During mass in Feb 2015, Barbara Durkin explained how a small group of volunteers had set up a little operation near downtown Fort Myers to directly help those in need.
The staff was entirely volunteer and served people by providing meals, groceries, clothes and language skills. I was impressed with how they treated everyone with respect and compassion and how they accomplished so much with so little. Our family has been blessed and we believe it is important to share with others. St Martin de Porres is a great example of how someone can share their blessings easily and have a direct impact in the lives of those in need.
There is no bureaucracy or overhead; just wonderful caring volunteers helping humans in need!
We started coming to SMDP about 18 months ago. We retired and moved to Florida and, unfortunately, had some unexpected medical issues which resulted in uncovered bills, and we found ourselves on the edge.
We have become unexpectedly unable to pay our way. After the bills are paid we have only $50 to $60 a month to spend on food and everything else. Without SMDP we would be in “big time trouble”. Here we are able to get food, some clothing items and, very importantly, feel welcome. In our opinion, the volunteers are the people who make this place what it is, treating us with respect and smiles.
It is a true blessing, and we thank God that it is here and we are able to come enjoy a healthy meal in a wonderful environment.