Free food giveaway feeds 400 families

Giveaway held at Spirit of Life Lutheran Church in Oceanway

By Scott Johnson - Reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Hundreds of families were in the city’s Oceanway neighborhood Saturday for a food giveaway at the Spirit of Life Lutheran Church on New Berlin Road.

Multiple organizations teamed up, including Lutheran Social Services, Farm Share and the Florida Highway Patrol, which had troopers on hand to hand out food to the first 400 families.

Donations for those in need are often high during the holidays, but months out from the holiday season, the spirit of giving was on full display.

Going into the summer break means no free lunch or breakfast for many children. So, weeks from summer break, the lines were packed for the free food giveaway.

“We seen the sign and we’ve been struggling for food here and there,” Thomas Diggers said. “We’ve got five people in the house now and we know the lord will provide.”

Dawn Ripley just moved her family to Oceanway and said they need help “until we get situated and going.”
The event wasn’t only about giving away food. There was also access to things like HIV testing and housing assistance.

The importance of food giveaways like the one at the Spirit of Life is very evident in the statistics. One in four children in Northeast Florida go hungry on a daily basis.

“We had people that were here at 5:50 a.m. this morning, waiting in line for a 9 o’clock start,” Steve Carlson, with the Spirit of Life Lutheran Church, said. “There’s a lot of hungry people in this part of town and they know they can rely on us and their partners to get them fed.”

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