‘It lightens my burdens’: Area residents grateful at food pantry event

Winn-Dixie, Feeding Northeast Florida team up to give 25,000 pounds of food to those in need

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The need for groceries has intensified significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Feeding Northeast Florida is holding nearly 45 drive-thru food pantries a week to keep up with the needs of area residents, but Tuesday’s event was a bit different.

Winn-Dixie paired up with Feeding Northeast Florida and helped provide groceries for more than 400 families at the Paxon Revival Center.

Just how much food is that? More than 25,000 pounds of it.

“Before COVID-19 we would not do a drive-thru like this every week, but this summer has really shown us that [need] every time,” said Molly Sweet, senior manager of agency relations at Feeding Northeast Florida.

“We see double the amount of cars and clients coming through in need.”

The number of people in need during the pandemic is staggering and the need is there.

Winn-Dixie district manager Zach Wesson said his favorite part of the event was getting to talk to the people in line.

“We are just really happy to be able to help the community and help as many people as possible,” he said.

Families who took part in the event said that they were grateful for the help.

“It is important, very important. It lightens my burdens … Winn-Dixie is Jacksonville’s backbone,” said one woman at the event.

Winn-Dixie has not set a date for its next food pantry event but says it will be around the holiday season. Feeding Northeast Florida says it will be hosting a drive-thru food pantry on Thursday at Redemption Church on Lane Avenue.

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