History of Wholesome Community Ministries
“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much,” -Luke 16:10
In 2008, The idea of planting a church originated in the heart and living room of Pastor Carlos Irizarry, his wife Judy, and a young adult named Lauri. Shortly their two children (Elliot and his wife Vanessa, and Natalie). The group took a course at the University of South Florida on grassroots Community Leadership.
This led to the first (1st) Back to school/ Health Fair held in the community of Wimauma. During this event, the need for healthcare services and other basic necessities in Wimauma became very apparent. The planning began with a visionto plant a church/ministry that was going to help people to live life to the fullest by promoting health in spirit, mind and body.
In April 2009, Wholesome Community Ministries (WCM) was launched and began holding services at South Bay Church in Riverview. In 2009, a second (2nd) Back to school/ Health Fair was held for the residents of Wimauma. From 2008-2015, Wholesome Community Ministries planned and organized a total of eight (8) Health Fairs. More than 3500 people were served at these Health Fairs. Various people were identified as having hypertension or diabetes, and other diseases. Many families were referred for further medical services, including children.
In 2010, WCM help in a disaster mission. Pastor Carlos traveled to Haiti on a medical mission’s trip to serve the victims of the earthquake. This trip proved to be a miracle mission’s trip, as the Lord touched many lives during this time.
In the 2012, Wholesome Community Ministries moved to our current location, which is referred to by many as the “Dome”.
In 2012, Wholesome Community Ministries had the privilege of co-founding “La Esperanza Clinic”. A clinic which provided free medical care for the residents of Wimauma for three (3) years out of the church grounds.
In 2013, Pastor Carlos was honored by the local community and awarded the 2013 Healthcare Hero Award. This award is given yearly by the Tampa Bay Business Journal. That same year, WCM launched Music and Drama classes for children and youth. It also held a year-long unification program for children and families. This program was designed to help unite and build bridges between the different generations (parents and children). WCM also held services at the Hillsborough County Department of Juvenile Jail for three years. Meals were cooked on Thanksgiving Day and approximately 60 juveniles were ministered every year, where many of them were saved.
In 2014, WCM organized its first (1st) 5K run/walk as part of a community health campaign. Pastor Carlos also served as a Health Navigator for families with children 0-8. This program was sponsored by a grant from the Hillsborough County Children’s Board. Furthermore, a Computer Mentor Program (STEM) was founded at the church for middle school age students. Currently, this program is meeting at the South Shore library.
In 2015, WCM planned and organized a Dental Health Fair. This Dental Health Fair provided $18,000 worth of dental services to the residents of Wimauma. That same year, WCM also organized a second (2nd) 5K run/walk to promote Health awareness. In 2016, WCM held a cancer awareness church service inviting the community and other agencies, where cancer survivors were given an opportunity to share their story. This effort was intended to demonstrate WCM’s support to those affected by this disease.
During the years of 2016-2017, the church held a Thanksgiving and Christmas outreach, providing meals and toys for the community of Wimauma serving over 250 families. Throughout the years, the church has also provided food to the community through a Food Pantry Service.
WCM hosted several of the initial townhall meetings at its location, to support the current movement of revitalization of Wimauma.
After the natural disasters of 2017, WCM held a concert to raise support for those affected. The concert was designed to help the victims in Puerto Rico, Mexico and the Caribbean. WCM was able to donate $8000 to Convoy of Hope, an international disaster relief organization. WCM continues to help families who have recently relocated to the area as a result of these disasters.
In the year 2017, the church began the process of purchasing the property. The church raised funds and prayed earnestly for the Lord to perform a miracle. The Lord moved obstacles, provided resources and by His grace on July 14th, 2017, the property was purchased. The purchase of the property will allow WCM to expands its services to reach more people throughout Hillsborough County.
Throughout his ministry, Pastor Carlos has not only served the local community by meeting their medical, social and spiritual needs, but has also had the privilege to participate in 13 global mission trips, including a trip to Indonesia where he served the victims of the Tsunami.
Most recently, Pastor Carlos was confronted with a cancer diagnosis. Through God’s grace and healing, Pastor Carlos is an overcomer and is cancer free. This personal experience has increased his compassion and desire to help others.
Throughout all of this time, God has been faithful. He has always provided. It is a testament of His faithfulness. When you follow God’s heart, he will make provisions for what He wants you accomplish.