Meals Financial institution is partnering with Jacksonville Constitution Faculty to deal with the meals wasteland
The nonprofit famine relief Feeding Northeast Florida is working with the KIPP charter schools in Jacksonville to set up a permanent pantry on their campus.
A pop-up version of the grocery bank opened in the KIPP parking lot next to the adjoining elementary and middle schools on McDuff Avenue, northwest of downtown on Tuesday.
At 8:30 a.m., a line formed in front of the tent tables. Jazz Jefferson said she had come to stock up on products.
“Save-a-Lot and convenience stores, that’s all that’s left,” Jefferson said. “Everything that is fresh is further away. You have to be able to get there. “
The pantry offered mushrooms, peppers, lettuce, bananas, strawberries, juices, bread and non-perishable goods like cereal.
KIPP is located in an area known as the food desert. Frank Castillo, CEO of Northeast Florida, said the region’s unemployment rate is in double digits. Also, a nearby Harvey’s grocery store recently closed.
“There is no place where you can not only have access to this healthy food but also afford this kind of healthy food,” he said.
Castillo said that pop-up pantry was a band-aid. The permanent bank in the school soon is more of a solution.
“A context where children are trying to educate themselves and brighten their futures seems like the ideal place to do so,” he said.
KIPP is located in an area known as Health Zone 1, which is known for differences in health, including high rates of diabetes and heart disease.
The permanent pantry will open this fall. Castillo said his organization and KIPP are still working on the details of the days of the week it will be open. Until then and after that, pop-ups will take place at various locations in the northwest, like on Tuesday.
In addition to the free groceries, the pop-up events usually have other vendors such as health insurers, nutritionists and recipes that help people get the most out of their food.
Reporter Lindsey Kilbride can be reached at [email protected], 904-358-6359 or on Twitter at @lindskilbride.