JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – In a sweeping attempt to contain the spread of the new coronavirus, almost every school district in Florida will extend spring break by an extra week.
Among many concerns is how some students will get fed during the extended time off. Groups across Northeast Florida, including Elevate Life Church, are collecting food items to be distributed to those in need.
Usually, hundreds gather Sunday mornings at Elevate Life Church’s locations in Oakleaf and on the Southside, but out of an abundance of caution, Elevate Life Church Lead Pastor Tim Staier said, “We felt the best way to love our neighbor was not to gather in large gatherings."
But Elevate Life Church did collect canned food and nonperishables on Sunday as part of its effort called “Student Pop-up Pantry.”
“We are essentially trying to take care a couple of weeks of breakfasts, of lunches that students normally get while they’re in school. But now, they’re not in school. And for a lot of them, they’re not getting those necessities. So we’re trying to bridge that gap with things that we can give them -- one grocery bag full of everything they need to take them through an entire two weeks now of essentially being able to feed themselves for that time," Staier said. "It’s been amazing.”
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As of Sunday, more than 15,000 pounds of food have been collected, Staier said.
“The need is growing every day because of the uncertainty that’s going on,” Staier explained.
The church will be accepting donations at its Southside location (10605 Deerwood Park Blvd.) and its Oakleaf location (8650 Merchants Way) again from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday. The food will then be distributed by schools. For more information, visit elevatelife.tv.