Barnabas Center Executive Director Wanda Lanier Stops by the Club
The Fernandina Beach Rotary Club recently welcomed Barnabas Center Executive Director Wanda Lanier as a guest speaker. Lanier said that Barnabas, founded nearly 30 years ago as a resource for local families in crisis, has expanded its community outreach since acquiring and renovating its new facility on Jasmine Street. This larger location has allowed the organization to expand its food pantry to include “reclaimed food” – fresh produce and other perishable items donated by local grocery stores, restaurants and resorts before the food reaches its expiration date. Lanier said Barnabas now distributes more than 300,000 pounds of food annually while offering healthier choices to the 500 families a month who visit the food pantry. In addition, Barnabas clients can now attend “Cooking Matters” classes to learn about healthy food preparation. Lanier said the organization continues to offer financial assistance for families struggling to pay rent and utilities and, through its Samaritan Medical and Dental Program, works with local medical professionals to provide low-cost health care to its clients. Baptist Medical Center Nassau alone provides some $800,000 annually in low cost medical care and prescriptions to Barnabas clients. Lanier noted that in each of the past eight years, Barnabas has received the highest rating – four-stars – from Charity Navigator – the nation’s largest independent charity evaluator.