Patricia Kry wit h Helpers from Building Blocks Ministries

Feature Story and Photos by Larry H. Oskin, South Lake Tablet

The Neighborhood Center of South Lake, formerly the FAITH Neighborhood Center is celebrating its 50th Anniversary as a community food pantry this year! Since its opening in 1972, it has been in continuous operation, providing free services for those needing assistance in South Lake County.

The Neighborhood Center’s Mission is to create a pathway to develop, empower and educate neighbors with food insecurities. Each week, with the help of 70 to 80 volunteers, TNC provides free food support to almost 400 families spanning across  Mascotte, Groveland, Clermont, Montverde, Minneola, Howey-In-The-Hills and smaller towns in between. Without the generous support of foundations, businesses, churches, clubs and private donations, this mission would not happen. And, with the need growing almost 50 percent from the same time as last year, donations are very much needed and appreciated.

Important services provided free of charge include:

Assistance with Food Stamps and/or Medicaid applications (it is requested that clients call the Center at 352-429-1200 before visiting to be sure they bring required documents to complete their application.

Feeding Program for School-Aged Children during scheduled school breaks of one week or more with the summer feeding program served more than 950 students aged 4 to 18 years.

The Center’s full-time Case Manager assists clients with sharing information on free resources and services in the area including job training, income tax assistance, rent assistance, home repairs and other needs. The Center also provides food baskets during the Holidays. Most of the Food Pantry foods come from Second Harvest and area retail food outlets. They try to share healthy products with the least processed foods. Clients can come in twice per month for food staples like meats, produce, breads, canned goods and more.

Chief Executive Officer, Patricia “Trish” Kry, RN, MSN/Ed, leads the Center which helped over 59,000 individuals (more than 11,500 families) with food security last year. This year, Kry says the Center is projected to help 30,000 individuals with almost 2,000,000 pounds of food. This includes support for over 9,200 children and 850 new families. Clients include single parents, seniors, veterans, homeless, and the disadvantaged. In addition to the dry goods like cereal, bread, and canned goods, The Neighborhood Center also provides fresh fruit, vegetables and meats. Trish shares, “Partnerships with organizations like the Second Harvest Food Bank provide most of the food distributed to TNC clients, but donations from the community are also essential for helping neighbors in need. Unfortunately, the need for our services is growing almost 50 percent this year because of so many economic challenges that our neighbors are facing. All donations, especially cash gifts, are needed for us to continue helping those in need.”

Expansion Plans include a new Neighborhood Center.  Earlier this year, the City of Groveland generously recognized The Neighborhood Center’s contributions for the past 50 years and donated 9.5 acres next to the Public Safety Building to build a new Center.
Board of Director’s President, Dr. Nancy H. Cummings, shares, “Our Neighborhood Center relies on much-needed community support and we are very grateful to the City of Groveland for their extraordinary and generous gift. Our New Center will continue our mission of helping neighbors in need; now we can help more families and provide more services including a teaching garden and kitchen. With the new building now in the works, we invite all our friends in the community to join us and partner on all our current and future projects and programs.” Trish Kry adds, “Groveland has always been very supportive to our mission. We are most appreciative of the commitment of Mayor Evelyn Wilson, City Manager Mike Hein, and the entire Groveland City Council for this incredible investment in The Neighborhood Center and our community.” The new Center is in the early planning stages and as more information becomes available, TNC looks forward to sharing it with the community.
CEO & Executive Director Trish Kry grew up in Central Florida and received her Master’s Degree in Nursing with a minor in Education from the University of Phoenix. She taught health science classes in Lake County Public Schools and started a Certified Nursing Assistant program at South Lake High School. After 30 years of nursing and teaching, she decided to find a position with a non-profit organization that would allow her to share her skills and passion for helping others. “Food and medicine are closely linked and many times I think of myself as a bridge that brings them together,” she shares. “Our clients need nutritious foods that are essential to grow. I have seen the healthy outcomes for physical and mental well-being that good, nutritional foods can do.”
The Center’s board of directors has great diversity with well-balanced professional backgrounds and career experiences which include:. President Dr. Nancy H. Cummings, Vice President Michael Gallagher, Secretary, Treasurer Kate Toscano, Marilyn Barnes, Rene Castro, Philip Fulmer, Gizella Guba, Jack Gunter, Mike McMaster, Bob Moore, Joe Reyes, and Chris Walker.

President Dr. Nancy H. Cummings shares, “Our Neighborhood Center relies on much needed community support. With our new building now in the works, we invite everyone to explore joining our Circle of Giving Program to raise human dignity by providing a premier client-choice food pantry. We invite organizations and private donor influencers to partner with us on future projects, programs and foods.”
On Saturday, October 8, The Neighborhood Center will host a Garden Party event at the Mission Inn Resort in Howey-in-the-Hills. Funds raised from the event will support current TNC needs at this mix and mingle fundraiser. For more information on sponsorships, tickets or their events, contact Sharon Couture at or call 352-429-1200.


The Neighborhood Center of South Lake is located at 14727 Timber Village Road, in Groveland, FL 34735. Call: 352-429-1200 or email them at: Visit their website at:

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