Jacksonville food giveaways see increased demand due to COVID-19 pandemic

Though the giveaways were happening before the pandemic, organizer says turnout has since catapulted

There was a food giveaway Thursday in downtown Jacksonville. (WJXT)

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

At times, the lines were so long that cars stretched multiple blocks.

The giveaways — hosted by Catholic Charities Jacksonville, Farm Share and the Jessie Ball duPont Fund — happen 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 are able to be served during each giveaway.

Though the giveaways were happening before the pandemic, an organizer said turnout has since catapulted.

“Certainly, we have people who are usually in need, people that come through regularly, but also we’ve seen an increase in people who have been laid off who are also coming through the food pantry to either supplement what they have or provide for themselves,” said William Bennett, food outreach representative at Catholic Charities Jacksonville.

With how busy it has been over the summer, Bennett said, they typically run out in a couple of hours.

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