JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – As Northeast Florida residents struggle through the pandemic, more people than ever need assistance. One gauge of how much that need is if they have enough to feed their family.
On Tuesday, Eastside Florida Farm Share teamed up with the Church of Oakland to distribute food to around 1,600 families, the first of six distributions of free food in Jacksonville this week.
The church’s pastor, Christopher McKee, said he see more need right now than he’s seen in recent years.
“It’s definitely an increase,” McKee said. “Because of the pandemic, there’s an increased need.”
Single mom Katrina Duncan was grateful for the help.
“I just lost my kids’ father in march so that’s why this helped me out a lot,” Duncan said. “He was sick and he passed away in March, so when I can get help like this, I appreciate it so much.”
The other food distributions coming later in the week include:
- Wednesday, noon-2 p.m.: Farm Share partners with the Greater El-Beth-El Divine Holiness Church will feed 600 families at 723 W 4th St.
- Thursday, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.: Farm Share partners with Woodlawn Presbyterian Church to feed 200 families at 3026 Woodlawn Road.
- Saturday, 9 a.m.: Farm Share partners with Congressman Al Lawson to feed Jacksonville families at Abyssinia Missionary Baptist Church, 10325 Interstate Center Drive.
- Saturday, 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. - Farm Share partners with Holy Spirit Catholic Church to feed 300 families, 11665 Fort Caroline Road.
- Saturday, 9 a.m.-noon: Farm Share partners with Legacy Ministries to feed 300 Jacksonville families, 825 University Blvd. N.
You can find more details at FarmShare.org.
An Associated Press analysis of trends at 181 food banks within a different food provider -- Feeding America’s national network, which supplies many food banks in Northeast Florida -- shows that food distribution rose 48.6% during the two quarters after the pandemic began compared to four quarters prior to the pandemic.
Comparing year-over-year figures, food banks in the organization’s system distributed 56.6% more food in the third quarter of 2020 than in the same three months of 2019.