Historic Eatonville church looks to expand thanks to generous donation

EATONVILL , Fla. — Tucked in the center of Eatonville is the St Lawrence AME Church.

Built by slaves in 1881, the small church has been a fixture in the Eatonville area for years and is looking to expand.

“There’s so much more we want to do to be able to just help everybody not just the community but everybody that passes by,” said Pastor Terrell Blair.

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To help in that mission, the church looked to purchase seven thousand square feet of land that sits next door. But with a price tag of more than 100,000 dollars, it was a bit out of reach.

Lomont Garber, the owner of the land, said that when the church approached him about acquiring the property, he declined at first.

“Originally we were going to build a strip center,” he said.

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After seeing the good work the church has done, Garber had a change of heart.

“Over time we got to witness the real goodness of what they do feeding the homeless, supporting Eatonville,” he said.

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The church said that thanks to Gerber’s donation, they can now move forward with plans to build a bigger food pantry to feed more people and to hold bigger fundraisers.

“It’s a blessing to own the land and St Lawrence owns the whole block and we thank God,” Blair said.

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Karen Parks

Karen Parks, WFTV.com

Karen Parks is a reporter at WFTV.

Matt Reeser

Matt Reeser, WFTV.com

Matt Reeser joined WFTV in 1998 as a news photographer and has worked for television stations in Kentucky and West Virginia.