LAKELAND, Fla. — A Polk County food bank is in desperate need of help after an alleged arson turned all the food that was being collected for the needy into ashes.

What You Need To Know

  • Gordon Nelson, 60, has charged with first-degree arson in connection with the incident

  • The food bank had been collecting goods for months to distribute to the needy on Wednesday 

  • The community is showing support by donating more food to the ministry

Gordon Nelson, 60, has been charged with first-degree arson and loitering in connection with the Wednesday blaze at The New Testament Ministries Food Bank in Lakeland.

Trying to find the silver lining behind the cloud of ashes and charred debris in the food bank might be difficult, but not for Pastor Dais Abraham.

“It is a little devastating,” he said. “But I feel like this is an opportunity to bring more people to an understanding that the need is greater.”

Now they’re in a race against time not only to clean up but also to somehow replace all the food that was lost.

Since the building burned, the pastor says he’s seen how this bad situation has brought out the best in people who are offering anything they can to help.

“People are calling from different places to help, so we’re sure that the operations will still be continuing,” said Abraham.

It’s that outpouring of support that has the pastor confident his ministry will rise from the ashes to fulfill its promise to fill the neediest plates in town.

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