Mary Petro lived a modest life in the Sun City Center area. When she passed away in 2009 at the age of 96, she left a substantial estate to Community Foundation Tampa Bay to establish the Mary Petro Food and Medicine Fund to assist low-income seniors who live in the Sun City Center and Kings Point areas with food and medicine.
The fund is administered by the United Methodist Church of Sun City Center. Madeline Hughes is the director of the Mary Petro Fund, which operates and manages the day-to-day operations of the fund as one of the church’s ministries. Earnings from the fund are used to provide the assistance.
According to Hughes, “Full-time, permanent residents of Sun City Center Association and Kings Point who are in dire need and meet our current gross income guidelines are eligible for assistance.”
Specifically, a single person who earns $25,000 or less or a couple who earns $30,000 or less are eligible.
Individuals must apply in person. The Mary Petro Food and Medicine Fund ministry is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. The ministry is located at United Methodist Church of Sun City Center in the church’s sanctuary, room 12 at 1971 Haverford Ave. in Sun City Center. Applications are approved for three to 12 months.
Since its inception, the Mary Petro Food and Medicine Fund has assisted approximately 369 individuals.
If you are accepted, you will receive a number of benefits. These included two gift cards valued at $25 each from select grocery stores in the area each month. In addition, you can receive assistance with medical expenses (prescriptions, co-payments and more). Participants pick up the gift cards. If you are homebound, the gift cards are mailed to you.
The Mary Petro Food and Medicine Fund ministry partners with several local organizations. These include the Sun City Center Lions Club for visual needs; the Sertoma Speech and Hearing Foundation of Florida, which assists with hearing needs; Mission Smiles Dental Clinic, which offers help with dental needs; and Feeding Tampa Bay, which helps with Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, for participants in the fund.
For more information and to get an application, please call 813-634-8306.