Jacksonville Meals Giveaways are experiencing elevated demand as a result of COVID-19 pandemic

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Hundreds of people packed East Adams Street in downtown Jacksonville for a grocery giveaway Thursday.

Sometimes the lines were so long that cars were several blocks long.

The freebies, run by Catholic charities Jacksonville, Farm Share, and the Jessie Ball duPont Fund, run every Tuesday and Thursday and have seen increased demand due to the coronavirus pandemic.

On Thursday the line opened at 9 a.m., and by 11 a.m. 182 cars and 87 walkups had already been served.

Up to 350 families can be served during each giveaway.

Although the giveaways came before the pandemic, an organizer said voter turnout has since catapulted.

ā€œSure we have people who are normally in need, people who come through regularly, but we’ve also seen an increase in laid-off people who also come through the pantry to either supplement what they have or what they care for himself, ā€said William Bennett, the food service representative at Jacksonville Catholic Charities.

With how busy it has been in the summer, said Bennett, they usually run out in a few hours.

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