Zero-contact pop-up pantry opens downtown, hopes to help 300 families daily

Nonprofits expect to serve 6,000 families over 3½ weeks

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Food insecurity is one of many problems being fueled by the coronavirus outbreak and many groups are finding innovative ways to help.

Catholic Charities Jacksonville and some partners are launching a pop-up, drive-thru food pantry to make food more accessible to people in need in Downtown Jacksonville.

“During this time, if you’re hungry and you need food you can come to the Catholic Charities pop-up pantry at the Jessie," said Lauren Weedon Hopkins, regional director of Catholic Charities Jacksonville. “It’s all shelf-stable, so we have meat, juice, vegetables and peanut butter, so it’s a great offering. And we’re excited we can serve up to 300 families per day."

They’ve designed a completely touchless food pantry that will be open for the next three weeks at the Jessie Ball duPont Center at 40 East Adams Street. Food will be available from noon to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday through June 10.

“You drive through where your windows up and there’ll be a couple of questions that you need to answer just by using your hands or a thumbs up or a thumbs down," Weedon Hopkins said. "You pull in, you pop your trunk and our staff has four bags of food as well as a box of ready-to-eat food.”

This pop-up pantry was created through a partnership with Farm Share and Jessie Ball duPont to meet the demand for food during the coronavirus pandemic.

“We know people have been extremely impacted by COVID-19," Weedon Hopkins said. "They lost their job and we don’t want them to have to worry about how they’re going to feed their families. So with his opportunity, we can serve up to 300 families a day. That’s 1,500 families a week that won’t go hungry and don’t have to worry about how they’re going to put a meal on the table.”

The drive-thru-only pop-up pantry began Wednesday and will run through the first week of June It is open to all families that are in need. The questions asked are for tracking purposes only.

There is no limit to the number of times a family can utilize this service.

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