by Howard Campbell
SOUTH FLORIDA – Pastor Dorothy Roberts has never shied from community service. A resident of South Florida since the mid-1980s, she has helped mentor and nourish hundreds of the region’s less fortunate citizens.
Roberts, who is from rural Manchester parish in central Jamaica, is president of the Hollywood Family and Community Enrichment Center, located at 2110 North 46 Avenue in Hollywood.
Since opening its doors 18 months ago, the organization has mentored over 100 single parents and misplaced youth in South Florida. But with the rise of the coronavirus, its dynamics have transformed.
“The pandemic has certainly affected us a lot because we have to be careful but people still make appointments. They come and we put food in the trunks of their cars,” Roberts explained.
Most of the food the Hollywood Family and Community Enrichment Center provides to from Broward and Dade counties is largely supplied by Feeding South Florida, a food bank serving Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade, and Monroe counties.
Other agencies help with food supplies which includes meats, fruits, vegetables and oil as well as clothing.
According to Roberts, the beneficiaries “are from all over” South Florida and represent the area’s diverse population.
“They are mainly Spanish and black — from Haiti, Dominican Republic and Costa Rica. Of course, there are Jamaicans…there are more of ours (Jamaicans) than anyone else,” she said.
Like most non-profit organizations, the Hollywood Family and Community Enrichment Center has had to cut back on resources because of the devastating coronavirus. Initially, Roberts had a 14-member staff which is now down to four.
Despite the challenges of recent months, Roberts said her team works tirelessly to ensure the Hollywood Family and Community Enrichment Center upholds its objective, which is to help the marginalized “be of value to their community.”
A former dentist, Roberts and her husband Scott have fed and counselled countless people for 20 years through their Harvest Reapers Outreach Support Ministry, also located in Hollywood.