MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. — At Port Manatee, hundreds of ships deliver cargo, and Anchor House ministry delivers hope and hot meals to the ship workers.
"We keep the workers going so the goods can continue to come in," said Alan Howe, Anchor House worker.
The port remains as busy as ever, but COVID-19 precautions have taken Anchor House from a volunteer staff of 30, down to just two workers.
Trish Alligood is the chaplain. She’s been with the nonprofit ministry for 25 years, and says right now they can only do take-out meals.
"Nobody goes hungry. She prays with us. She lifts up our spirit," said Afra Ferreira, a shipyard worker.
Despite being short-staffed, Alligood says they continue to work because they know they are needed.
"We’re about the only thing to eat in the area," said Alligood. "Not only are their jobs hard here on the port, but now with the virus tensions are up. So here at Anchor House we try to give them that hope."
Alligood and Howe say they also go onto the ships bringing the workers food and providing ministry services.
"If the Anchor House wasn’t here, what would we do for lunch? What would we do to get support?" said Ferreira.
Ship workers say Anchor House is what keeps them afloat, so they can keep the community's supplies coming in.
"We need it. As hard as we work, we need some time to be lifted up," said Ferreira.
For more information on Anchor House, click here.