By James Coulter
COVID-19 was bad enough. Now people have to worry about monkeypox and polio, too. Now more than ever people need to wash their hands and keep everything clean.
Unfortunately, rising inflation often makes cleaning supplies too expensive for people to buy. Thankfully, one Lake Wales funeral home is doing its part to help people during these uncertain times.
For the past 11 months, Johnell Caver Your Home For Funerals, Inc. has been providing residents and families with their sanitary and cleaning supply needs with its monthly drive.
On Wednesday, several dozen cars lined up along Orange Avenue to pull into the funeral home parking lot and have their vehicles packed with boxes of hand sanitizer and other cleaning supplies.
Each month, Funeral Home Director Linda Thompson and her volunteers hand out more than 1,000 boxes delivered to them by the truckload from Pastor Bobby Williams of Freedom Tour Church. More than 200 to 300 local families are served through these drives, Thompson said.
These drives were started nearly a year ago to assist residents with their sanitation needs during the ongoing pandemic. In light of the recent monkeypox outbreak, along with rising prices spurred on by inflation, now more than ever people need access to cleaning products, especially people in low-income families.
“Because of the pandemic, a lot of people are concerned about COVID-19, and we want to minimize the virus going on,” Thompson said. “It has been a success because we need these products. It is about giving back to the community.”
Maxine Clark has been participating in the drive as a volunteer since it first started eleven months ago. She had recently moved back to her hometown of Lake Wales from Dallas, Texas. She wanted to do something to give back to her home community, and the monthly sanitation drive provided her with that opportunity.
“I enjoy helping people give back to the community,” she said. “I feel it is really needed for this community. You really need sanitation, especially with all of the diseases going on in the world. [This funeral home] is helping people break down the diseases and all that. So I am excited about doing what I am doing.”
More than simply helping people during trying times, she appreciates being able to see the smiles and looks of satisfaction on people’s faces when they pull up and have their vehicles loaded with their donations. Being able to spread such happiness is always a plus for her.
“I just enjoy the drive,” she said. “You greet people, make them happy, put a smile on their faces. And when you look at the price of bleach and the cleaning supplies in the stores, and when you have a church like Freedom giving it away, it really helps your pockets as well, because everything is going up in price.”
Thompson hopes to provide more cleaning supplies to more people through her drives soon. Especially during these uncertain times, everyone needs to do their part to wash their hands and keep their living environments clean. As someone who deals with death as a living, Thompson knows this very well and hopes to do her part with help from the local community.
“I want to thank Pastor Bobby Williams with the Freedom Tour for supplying the funeral home with these products, and I want to thank the volunteers for helping us out,” she said.