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Holy Rosary-St. Richard helps foster parents

Parishioners partner with Hope, Heart & Home ministry for mid-year school supply drive

PALMETTO BAY | One of the frustrations foster parents face every school year is keeping up with the demand for school supplies, particularly when they have children in multiple grades. Six months into the school year, the supplies begin to dwindle.

Thanks to parishioners of Holy Rosary-St. Richard in Palmetto Bay, some 200 foster families will not have that problem this year.

The idea of a "Mid-Year School Supply Drive" coincided with the State of Florida's celebration of Foster Parent Appreciation Week, Feb 8-12, 2021.

Parishioners Alecia Mendes and Maria Rodriguez came up with the plan to help children in foster care and provide service hours for Holy Rosary-St. Richard’s teens. They decided to partner with Hope, Heart & Home, a faith-based community coalition supporting children in foster care, and Citrus Family Care Network for a drive-by event Feb. 13, 2021.

To help promote the donations, Citrus' Nadine Rolle and Joann Pierre and Hope, Heart & Home's Maria Jacques teamed up to display foster parent recruiting banners on both the church and school properties.

On Saturday morning, parishioners dropped off bags, boxes, or bundles of school supplies designated for PreK through third, fourth through fifth, or sixth through 12th grade levels. Some 15 teens volunteered to greet the parishioners, unload car trunks, and carry supplies into a classroom behind the sanctuary.

Four child advocates from Hope, Heart & Home — Jacques, Rosie Perez Lacayo, Carmenza Ortiz, and Eric Schwindeman — sorted donations by grade level, spread out over eight tables. By noon, the room was full.

“Congratulations to everyone involved in making this event a huge success,” said Hope, Heart & Home’s Schwindeman. “Many thanks to the organizers, the partners, the kids, Father William Sullivan [pastor], and the kind and giving parishioners of Holy Rosary-St. Richard.”

For more information about Hope, Heart & Home, visit

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