ORLANDO, Fla. - Orlando’s First Presbyterian Church has made a donation of over $500,000 to Central Florida’s nonprofits to help ease some of the economic devastation caused by the coronavirus.
The church pooled money from virtual collection plates, and used leftover funds from a capital campaign, bequests and an annual missions drive, Senior Pastor David Swanson said.
“We have what we call our Good Samaritan Fund to help people pay the light bill, pay the rent, make a car payment, pay the mortgage,” Swanson told the Orlando Sentinel. “Normally we get three, maybe four requests a month. But since COVID started, we’ve had 170. People are desperate.”
In addition, church officials decided to support the region’s nonprofit agencies that feed, shelter and serve the tens of thousands of Central Florida workers who have been furloughed or laid off.
Checks ranging from $5,000 to $50,000 will go to 14 charitable agencies in the area.
“This is great news,” said Dave Krepcho, the food bank’s president and CEO. “Since mid-March, we’ve been providing enough food for about 300,000 meals a day — and it takes a lot of finances to do that.”
First Presbyterian has annual revenues of about $7 million and typically donates at least 10 percent of worshipers’ offerings over the course of a year.
This is the first time the church has given out so much as once, Swanson said.
“What actually started it was a study I read that said 50 percent of nonprofits could fail as a result of COVID-19,″ Swanson said, citing an expected drop in philanthropic donations and grants. “That was very sobering. So I started calling around to see how people were doing.”
Tune in to FOX 35 Orlando for the latest coronavirus news.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.