"People say, what is the sense of our small effort. They cannot see that we must lay one brick at a time" -Dorothy Day
Quietly directing the neighborhood efforts around the St. Rose of Lima Food Pantry is a first generation Irish American woman, Sheila Anderson a resident in the Solivita HOA. No stranger to hard work and compassion, she started volunteering when she was 14 years old. Her priest at St. Jerome's in Bronx, NY had her delivering teen social invites throughout her diverse neighborhood. Later she would work at an orphanage feeding and cuddling babies awaiting adoption, and then worked with assisting the blind. So it's no surprise that when she was younger one of the Ursaline Nuns at her school told her mother, "Your daughter will be a leader."
In 2008, after a 17 year tenure at the University of Central Florida, Sheila retired and focused her highly developed organizational skills onto the community. Sheila witnessed firsthand the devastating force that the Great Recession had on her community. As people looking for help flooded into the St. Rose Lima parish office in increasing numbers Sheila jumped into action and started a food pantry out of a garage, recruiting fellow Solivitian Angie Fisher to chair the effort. Today Sheila managers over 100 volunteers, who operate the largest pantry in the Poinciana area and one of the largest in Osceola County. Laying one small brick at a time, the food pantry now provides nutrition to 25,000 people annually. Sheila makes the radical concept of “love your neighbors as yourself” very real in the neighborhoods around Solivita.