MICA Presents 2017 Humanitarian of the Year Award

DSC_0018The Marco Island Civic Association’s Humanitarian of the Year Award is one of the most prestigious awards on Marco Island.

This esteemed award was developed in 1998 to honor the unsung heroes of Marco Island, the people who do so much for so many; the wonderful, positive people you do not hear much about.

Recent recipients have included: Maria Elena Pujol, Cheryl and Mike Mueller, Al Bismonte, and Dennis and Joan Pidherny.

On Sunday, March 19, before a crowd of more than 1,000 people gathered at Residents’ Beach, the MICA Board of Directors honored five individuals who have spent countless hours volunteering as a team to work on behalf of the less fortunate residents of Marco Island. They are self-sacrificing givers, living their faith by giving back to their community.

MICA’s President Kathryn Sullivan noted that Marco Island is known for our beautiful beaches, restaurants and tourism. However, there is another side to Marco in which 38% of the children attending Tommie Barfield Elementary School qualify for free breakfast and lunch.

These children and their parents are living next door to all of us, and JoAnne Lundquist recognized a need beyond our insulated world and stepped up without hesitation. JoAnne conceived of a food pantry to feed these families.  She saw an opportunity at The Family Church, and along with her friends they have grown “Our Daily Bread Food Pantry” beginning in January 2016 to serve over 3,600 individuals in its first year!

The group of five women are from The Family Church and started Our Daily Bread Food Pantry. This faithful team includes JoAnne Lundquist, Operations Manager and the woman who conceived of the pantry; Liz Pecora, Community Affairs Coordinator; Jennifer Ludwigsen, Food Procurement Coordinator; Vicki Johnson, Church Coordinator; and Shawnee Huff, Volunteer Coordinator.

The pantry is open two Saturdays every month and is open other times by appointment. A pantry representative will “shop” with guests when they visit and all records are completely confidential.

Our Daily Bread is truly a community effort with its mission to serve the community. Partners in the food pantry are:

Marco Presbyterian Church

New Life Community Church

Wesley United Methodist Church

United Church of Marco

San Marco Catholic Church

The Family Church

St. Mark’s Episcopal Church

Marco Lutheran Church and

Goodland Baptist Church.

These five women operate in-sync and make it look easy, which we know it is not.

Of course, there are many, many others, without whom this Herculean effort would not be as successful, including the husbands of the Team of Five, who refer to themselves as “Food Pantry Widowers!”

Marco Island is a better place in which to live thanks to the efforts of these five outstanding citizens. We are truly blessed on Marco to have such a loving, caring community.