JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A surge in the number of families seeking help from food pantries has charities scrambling in Northeast Florida.
Catholic Charities of Jacksonville has been working around the clock to meet the new and growing demand for food.
Every week on Wednesday and Friday it opens supply and prepares to service a long line.
"We've changed it to a drive-thru scenario, so we're encouraging clients to come in their cars and drive up. And we're putting food out on benches. Our volunteers are wearing gloves and masks and changing their gloves with every new client that comes up," said Lauren Weedon Hopkins, Catholic Charities Jacksonville Regional Director.
The organization said it can feed at least 120 families a week, but demand is growing the longer the shutdown lasts.
"The food we're providing right now are the essentials; milk, eggs, bread, fresh vegetables, fruits, and our families just really in crisis right now," said Hopkins.
Meeting the basic minimum for families is a huge win for the organization. Catholic Charities is operating well under its normal funds. Partially due to the cancellation of its annual fundraising event: The Black and White Ball.
Last year, the ball raised more than $100 thousand during this event alone. Without it, the need for monetary donations is dire.
"We desperately need funding for the food pantry to be able to continue the operations now and the rest of this year," said Hopkins.
The non-profit is accepting any and all donations, but prefers monetary donations right now.
Donations made now will go twice as far thanks to a dollar-for-dollar matching campaign.
“Catholic Charities can really stretch the donations. So right now when you give your gift is doubled. You give a dollar it’s really like 2 dollars because of our matching challenge. And with a gift of only $50, we can feed 2 adults for an entire week. So because of our partnerships, we’re really able to stretch the dollar and make sure that we are really great stewards of the money,” Hopkins said.
If you’re interested in donating to Catholic Charities Jacksonville you can visit the website. You can also text CCB JAX to 91999.