Back-to-school giveaway stocks families in need with food, supplies

Drive thru giveaway helped over 400 families while maintaining social distancing

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Hundreds of families stopped by a back-to-school giveaway Saturday on Jacksonville’s Northside.

Obeying social distancing guidelines, families were able to get food and school supplies for the school year at the drive-thru event.

More than 450 cars filled Pearl Plaza in Jacksonville’s Panama Park neighborhood for the giveaway.

The first stop in the drive-thru delivered fresh produce. From there, families continued down the line to receive non-perishable foods, drinks, dairy products and at the end of the line -- a bookbag full of school supplies.

Backpacks filled with school supplies were part of the back-to-school giveaway
Backpacks filled with school supplies were part of the back-to-school giveaway (WJXT)

The event was hosted by Jacksonville City Council members Reggie Gaffney, Sam Newby, Ju’Coby Pittman and LeAnna Cumber.

“I am trying to make as many people as successful as possible,” Cumber said. “Kids need to have food, proper clothing and proper school supplies to learn, and that’s what we are doing here today.”

The event was bipartisan with typical politics set aside to come together and help the community.

“We are all here today working together to help out the citizens of Jacksonville who need the most help right now,” Cumber said.

“This is what makes Jacksonville a great city,” Newby said. “Everybody coming together to help everybody, and I am so proud to be a part of Jacksonville.”

For one of the council members, the giveaway was personal.

“I am a product of public housing, and to see individuals come out and to get the resources that are available,” Pittman said. “It’s really exciting that people are not too proud to come and get the support that’s available.”

Atlas Rankin said he knows all about showing up when you need to.

“In most cases, it’s the working families that don’t get the extra support,” Rankin said. “So if we can put our pride aside and come on out here to see what they have to offer, it might allow us to use our money for some different things that are also needed in the household.”

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