“There are lots of people on the market who’re injured”: The road wraps across the Jacksonville Meals Drive block, the elevated demand for meals continues

Record amounts of food were distributed in Farm Share as the economic impact of COVID-19 continues to exacerbate food insecurity.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla – Putting food on the table isn’t always easy, especially for those struggling financially due to COVID-19. Farm Share, a Florida nonprofit dedicated to feeding people, has seen a tremendous need for services.

Under a hazy sky, Farm Share staff and volunteers set up another food ride on Saturday morning when the cars lined up. The organization has given out an unprecedented amount of food in the past few months.

“It is remarkable to see the need to put something as simple as food on the table,” said Wendy Freedman, director of donor relations for nonprofits.

Farm Share has spent more than 30 million pounds of food since early March, roughly four to five times what was expected over a similar period, Freedman said.

“It’s humbling to know that at the end of the day you put food on people’s tables,” she said. “They have mothers who come in and get boxes of food and the tears in their eyes know they can feed their children tonight.”

The Food Drive, held at Pearl Plaza in Panama Park in Jacksonville, began with cars parked on the side of Pearl Street. Recipients drove up all morning with their cars loaded with everything from fresh produce to snacks to bags of toiletries.

Local Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office police officers and Florida Highway Patrol soldiers were on deck, along with former professional athletes like Roy Miller of the Jaguars and Joel Davis of the White Sox.

“Every week you see the US Department of Labor come out with this number of people filing for unemployment. These people are wondering where their next meal will be from,” Miller said. “I think something like this is definitely what the community needs.”

Farm Share’s next Food Drive in Jacksonville is Tuesday, June 30th, in the Kooker Park parking lot, hosted by Grace Baptist Church in East Springfield from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

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