Services We Offer

Meeting The Needs Of The Community

The Café of Life provides a hot nutritious meal Monday through Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. The meals are cooked by volunteers at their homes and include a casserole, vegetable, salad, milk and juice and often hard boiled eggs, fruit, and cookies from the pastry table. Each meal begins with a prayer given in English and Spanish by our site manager.

We also provide supplemental groceries to prepare meals at home, gently used clothing, diapers, toiletries, blankets, other miscellaneous personal goods, and at times furniture and appliances.

Fresh Market Grocery Store, Publix and Farmer Mike's U Pick donate many items to our take-home food pantry which also consists of canned and dry food items donated by local churches, communities and groups who host food drives on our behalf.

The heart and soul of the Café are its volunteers. In 2020, more than 500 dedicated volunteers contributed 14,000 hours. They cook and serve meals, pick up groceries at grocery stores, tend the clothing area and pantry tables. Additional things that volunteers do are:

  • Provide a monthly story reading with new books to take home.
  • Provide a weekly bi-lingual Bible Story and prayer time for adults and children
  • Weekly story telling
    Provide craft projects and games for the children.
  • One volunteer provides haircuts weekly.
  • Another took and donated family portraits at Christmas time.
  • Church, school and civic groups provide holiday meals to cook at home, stockings and toys. They provide ice cream”socials” and serve meals.
  • A Realtor group even painted the Women’s Club building for us.

With the hiring of an Outreach Coordinator in February 2016 the Café of Life expanded its services to include “outreach” to those in need who are unable to partake of services provided primarily at Leitner Neighborhood Park. The Outreach Coordinator promotes the Café of Life’s current services, determines the additional needs of current and potential clients, provides delivery of food and clothing directly to the homes of clients, provides transportation, counseling, assistance with language barriers, immigration and coordinates direct financial assistance to clients. More recently the program has been expanded to provide services to seniors and disabled clients.

In late January 2017 the Café expanded its operations to include a Transportation Program and hired a part-time Coordinator. Although we have been transporting clients to our feeding site for services for more than two years our 15 passenger van was going unused in the afternoons and weekends. Since many of our clients have no reliable transportation and the public transportation is lacking we identified a need to transport clients to the doctor’s office, pharmacy, grocery store, bank etc. In April of 2017 the Cafe purchased a minivan to help support the transport of individuals and smaller groups. We are now able to support clients two-three days a week with transportation services. We now have 2 minivans and 2 buses to support operations.

Music Program

In February 2018 the Café created it newest service – a Music Program. This came about because one of our very dedicated volunteers shared with us her passion to provide music lessons for children who otherwise would not have an opportunity. The program started with five children receiving piano lessons on Monday evening at our office and has now expanded to three nights a week with a total of 20 students. The Music Program has its own support committee to help raise funds and manage the program. If you are interested in helping out please contact a staff member.

Additional Services and Financial Support

Additional services are provided through partnerships with other non-profits.  The Family Health Services provides a Physician's Assistant weekly to provide medical advice. The Salvation Army, Catholic Charities, The Bridge Fund, WestCare, Florida Health of Lee County, UF/IFAS Extension and Love in the Name of Christ, partners with the Cafe' in providing financial assistance for rents, utilities and medical prescriptions. The Cafe' is a United Way partner agency.