NEWS FROM JANUARY 2021
As many of you know, The Light House Café began a new and different operating procedure since the pandemic started – now almost a year ago. Each day, we set up tables and a tent to serve to-go breakfast and lunch meals to those in need. Palm Beach County provided us with a portable hand washing stand for patrons to use before receiving their meals. Like most of the world, we thought this “new way” of life would be only temporary.
While many things have been canceled or significantly changed, we have managed to carry out several traditions and annual events, such as our Thanksgiving Dinner and food bag distribution, which included a gift card to Winn Dixie. We were also incredibly blessed by so many people and organizations who donated an abundance of supplies for us to distribute 300 gift bags to those in need this Christmas season. A very special thank you to Art for Smiles, Lakeside Medical Center, Mildred Estrella, the Blossom Club of Lake Shore Middle School, and the sorority Beta Sigma Phi Chapter Laureate Gama Zeta. We are so appreciative of everyone who made these gift bags not only possible but so amazing!
The Light House Café has also been very blessed to have received extra funding through grants to cover the additional expenses incurred due to the pandemic. Many people and organizations have also helped support the people in our community during this unprecedented time by donating facial coverings, hand sanitizer, cleaning wipes, and sanitizing spray. Our patrons are so appreciative of these items.
As we do our best to remain focused on the positive, we are sadly mourning the loss of our co-worker and dear friend Gary (Pete) Rolle, who lost his battle with COVID-19 on January 16, 2021. He was a staff member of the Light House Café for 14 years. All of the people in the community around the Café knew Pete. He knew all the children & always exchanged smiles & a good tease with them! He also loved to tease the staff & volunteers, which helped make hard work fun.
Pete was our go-to for so many things. From serving food or drinks & maintenance work to picking up donations for Ella’s Closet & the Light House Cafe, he did it all. No matter what time or where, if he was needed, Pete was there! He was always willing to arrive at 5:00 am & he would start the morning by praying over the Café – asking that we would do God’s will each & every day. The way Pete loved & cared for people was unwavering! He always had insight into how we could better help those in need. Our hearts are so heavy. Pete will be missed by so many.
Pete was originally diagnosed with COVID-19 on December 8, 2020, and the Café was closed for 12 days after learning that he tested positive. Our staff and regular volunteers were all tested twice, and thankfully we all tested negative each time. This allowed us to re-open just in time for the week of Christmas and our annual Christmas dinner and gift distribution held on December 23, 2020.
With plans to return from the New Year and re-open the dining room to our patrons, we were faced with making a tough decision for the safety of our staff, volunteers, and patrons to continue serving to-go meals as the virus positivity rate remained high. We are steady in prayer that soon we can safely re-open the dining room and once again gather together indoors as we did before. We also continue to pray for good health for our community, friends, family, and patrons.
As always, we ask that you continue to keep The Light House Café in your prayers.
Martha Lynn Weeks