$701,750 FCLF loan
Land & building acquisition and renovation
9,200 sq. ft. building
In rural southern Hillsborough County, Florida lies the town of Wimauma, a community with a large low-income population where 29% of residents have no health insurance. Pastor Carlos Irizarry, a nurse and paramedic with over 15 years of medical experience, believes medical and pastoral duties go hand-in-hand, to help those in the community enjoy a better life. Carlos Irizarry is pastor of Wholesome Community Ministries, a church whose congregation has a vision for their community: to promote health in spirit, mind and body, one person and one family at a time.
In 2012, one of the church’s first major initiatives was to develop a series of health fairs for the Wimauma community. These have grown from 100 participants to over 2,500 – of whom 1,500 are children. WCM leased its location for over 6 years, and when the owner expressed an interest in selling the land and buildings, the church knew the time was right to resume and build their healthcare mission in the freedom of owning the property.
With financing from Florida Community Loan Fund, WCM purchased the land and 9,200 square foot building. The first project to take shape will be the New Generations Academy preschool, with a focus on the whole child, including health and wellness. After establishment of the preschool, the church will turn its focus towards new initiatives: creation of a healthcare clinic, a commercial kitchen that can be used for nutrition education and culinary job training, an organic vegetable farm, and extended youth activities to include after-school and weekend programs.
The Lucca Specialty and Wellness Center to be established at this location will be a clinic with an emphasis on mental health and personalized bilingual health coaches. The clinic will be developed in partnership with ECHO, a national provider offering consulting, coaching, and start-up resources. Allegany Franciscan Ministries has granted funds to 27 area programs with a focus on improving health and lives of Wimauma residents, including WCM. Allegany Franciscan Ministries is also a long-time supporter of Florida Community Loan Fund.
Learn more about Wholesome Community Ministries at www.wholesomechurch.org
Pictured above, Wholesome Community Ministries church. Below, Pastor Carlos Irizarry