JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Tuesday morning, the Salvation Army gave 1,000 families everything they need to prepare Thanksgiving dinner. Families registered back in October and the bigger the family the more food they get.
They line was down the street and the dinners were given away in just a matter of hours. There were people in the line who never thought they’d be in this situation but said COVD-19 has leveled the playing field.
Marenda Brown was one of them.
“The pandemic has brought about a strain on families and a loss of income. Actually bring you to the food pantry to help you subsidize your regular food,” Brown said.
Even a little star power helped to bring in donations to make the giveaway possible.
“Miracle on the Hudson” survivor Casey Jones held his 11th Annual Turkey Drive. From this, Jones donated 852 turkeys to the Jacksonville Salvation Army.
The Salvation Army had plenty of turkeys this year but was still in need last week of side items. Maj. Keath Biggers said the community came through and just like years past they were ready.
“We’ve had all kinds of organizations, friends of the Salvation Army, supporters and businesses that have given generously and made that happen today, and you see all the volunteers who come together to make this happen,” Biggers said.
Eight-year-old Lincoln and 11-year-old Brecken Jackson volunteered this year with their parents. They’re learning lessons of compassion as young people and how good it feels to give back.
“It makes me sad that they don’t have as much food as all of us do, but it’s good to come down here and help them,” Brecken said.
The work now carries over into December as the Salvation Army gears up for the next holiday campaign. Biggers said they have double the number of children who signed up for gifts through the organization’s Angel Tree program.
You can donate to a child by going to Salvationarmynefl.org and clicking on the Angel Tree tab.
Two other Thanksgiving food giveaways were held Tuesday in Northeast Florida, with no prior application necessary.
- Jewish Family and Community Services provided food and gift cards to buy turkeys at Max Block Food Pantry (6261 Dupont Station Court East) from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
- Farm Share held a Thanksgiving drive-thru giveaway at Bethel Church (215 Bethel Baptist Church). It started at 10 a.m. News4Jax was told 1,000 turkeys were given away.