Volunteers with the MaliVai Washington Youth Foundation are preparing to hand-deliver free groceries to more than 100 families’ doors during their annual Thanksgiving Drive Wednesday in Jacksonville.
Keeping track and organizing several tons of groceries isn’t an easy task. But Terri Florio — the Executive Director of the MaliVai Washington Youth Foundation— says it’s all worth it.
“We choose to do this because our kids and our families are our family. We look at ourselves here as one extended family, and if one of us has a need we all have a need,” Florio said.
The MaliVai Washington Youth Foundation is an after-school and summer youth development program in Jacksonville’s Urban Core that promotes academic achievement and positive life skills.
Max and Elizabeth Gainer have lived in Jacksonville since 1973 and want to continue advocating for this kind of positive change in the city.
“Oh gosh, we’re very involved in the foundation and believe in the mission and the difference that all the staff and volunteers here make in the kids’ lives,” Elizabeth said.
Feeding this many families truly takes a village, and every volunteer has their own role.
But, the end goal is for every family to have about eight bags like this full of groceries before Thanksgiving.
“We’ve seen the city grow to what it has become and there are lots of needs in the city and this organization really addresses that major need and we’d like to be a part of that,” Max said.
The deliveries will take place on Wednesday from 7:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. in primarily the 32209 zip code, where many residents live near or under the poverty line and are in Health Zone 1, according to the foundation.