|Birth: ||Feb. 26, 1925|
|Death: ||Oct. 15, 1987|
CLARA WARREN DIES -- HER VISION TO FEED THE POOR FULFILLED
Years ago, when one of her children chided her about getting little recognition for all her good works, Clara Warren said, "Child, I'm doing this for the Lord. It's what he told me to do. My reward will be in heaven."
Wilfred Warren had little doubt Friday that his mother had found her final resting place. He called it "eternal life."
Clara Davis Warren, of Winter Park, whose dedication to feeding and sheltering Central Florida's poor catapulted her onto the pages of Newsweek magazine, died Thursday after a long battle with cancer. She was 62.
To her family and friends, she was an indefatigable inspiration, a Good Samaritan who for 20 years worked nights and weekends gathering and delivering food for the hungry throughout Central Florida.
For Warren it was the fulfillment of a vision. In recent years she talked about it some, saying she "saw" people "coming to my house in Apopka, walking three and four abreast." She had no trouble understanding what the vision meant, she said, because she had been to church that morning and heard a sermon about the manna that appeared in the desert for the Israelites.
And so it began. First she began handing out food from her little house in Apopka, where she was born. She'd tap every grocer in town, asking for bent cans, day-old goods and the like.
Katherine Parten, now 74, remembers a young Warren coming to shop at Parten's Grocery 40 years ago. She also remembers giving Warren a much-needed freezer in 1976.
Tom Collins was just a young officer when he first met Warren about 20 years ago. "She was one of the most outstanding women I've run across," said the Apopka police chief. "What she did, she did from the heart; she wasn't looking for credit."
But the credit Warren never sought wasn't far off. She was ready in 1979 to operate the Central Florida Food Bank from her Winter Park boarding house, soon to become a hostel for the homeless called Manna on the Road.
By 1985 Warren was feeding about 300 families a month and caring for up to 10 homeless, aided by area churches and volunteers.
People were beginning to notice. In 1985 she won a $5,000 Special Judges Award at the Disney Community Service Awards program. A year later, she won the Disney award's top prize of $25,000 and was featured as one of 100 "unsung heroes" nationwide in a Newsweek article.
But Warren wasn't in either Disney audience. Instead, she was out delivering food.
"She didn't like the limelight," recalls Linda Costa, a food bank volunteer who submitted the Disney applications. "I went and I accepted."
Costa, who met Warren three years ago while delivering clothing to the hostel, called her "a special person who worked 18 hours a day. It's hard to replace someone like C.D."
Members of her family, however, say they will try to continue her work, at least at the food bank. "We're not sure if the shelter will continue," said Joyce Warren, a daughter-in-law. "The food bank was such a part of her, we hate to see it go under."
Warren is survived by daughters Elizabeth of Fort Worth, Texas, and Leilant of Jacksonville; sons Nehemiah of Eatonville, Darryl of Los Angeles and Wilbert and Alex of Winter Park; one sister; four brothers; and 11 grandchildren.
A memorial service for Warren is planned today from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Winter Park Community Center. The funeral will be held Sunday at 1 p.m. at St. Elizabeth Church of God by Faith in Apopka. Burial will follow at Edgewood Cemetery in Apopka.
The family is accepting donations for the Central Florida Food Chain at P.O. Box 449, Apopka, Fla., 32703. [Source: Orlando Sentinel, October 17, 1987}
Created by: Catnip82
Record added: Nov 15, 2007
Find A Grave Memorial# 22916983