Dozens wait overnight for Thanksgiving meal from Mandarin Food Bank

Volunteers handed out food for holiday meal

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Dozens of people spent a cold night, waiting in line for a warm meal this holiday from the Mandarin Food Bank.

Volunteers at the nonprofit Monday handed out hundreds of boxes filled with all the holiday fixings- everything from stuffing, to potatoes and gravy.

The annual Thanksgiving distribution provides dinners to hundreds of families in need. Some camped out overnight to receive meals they said they would have otherwise not been able to provide for their families.

One week ago, the shelter had only 15 turkeys. But the community stepped up in a big way and donated more than 600 birds.

“They do such wonderful work here, feeding the people. I am taking care of my wife, and my son. She’s 72 and has brain cancer and lung cancer,” said a retired electrician who spent the morning in line.

“It’s such a Godsend. It’s a hard time of year for me. I was a caretaker for 20 years and I didn’t work and I had to start working again, and it’s been tight and this helps so much. It’s just a blessing,” Sherry Abney said.

Mary Kaminski’s worked at the food bank for more than two decades.

“The people really appreciate it. We don’t just give them a box and a turkey, we give them milk and we give them soda and we give them a pie and baked goods. We give them produce so it’s enough for a Thanksgiving meal and leftovers and extra things,” Kaminski said.

In order to receive meals, you must be a client of the Mandarin Food Bank. The nonprofit is collecting donations for Christmas. You can drop off donations by stopping by the food bank Monday, Wednesday and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

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