In the spirit of giving, Farm Share hosted its annual Thanksgiving food giveaway at the Florida School of College of Jacksonville’s downtown campus on Saturday morning.
More than 3,500 people in Jacksonville packed their trunks with food like fresh produce and non-perishable canned goods.
Randy Blair was the first in line, arriving at 1 p.m.
“I got here so I could feed my family,” Blair said. “The challenge is paying the bills and putting food on the table and trying to maintain.”
Farm Share said food giveaways like this are not only important for Jacksonville but also throughout the entire state.
According to Farm Share, more than 3.9 million families in Florida right now are considered food insecure.
Hundreds of volunteers helped ease the burden, including first responders like Captain Daniel Deweese from the Florida Highway Patrol.
“It just gave me goosebumps all over because it is all about taking care of each other,” Deweese said.
Former NFL player and Jacksonville native Laveraneus Coles also lent a hand.
“Being able to put a smile on their faces at this great time of year. With them being able to put food on the table,” Coles said.
So many recipients were grateful and the volunteers were happy to be a part.
“It gives me joy. For people to come out and volunteer their time to do this. It makes a difference,” Blair said.
To find a food pantry near you, please visit farmshare.org/food-pantries.