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Quincy food distribution shutdown Saturday

Posted at 6:19 PM, Apr 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-07 08:55:03-04

QUINCY, Fl. (WTXL) — The Living Stone International Event scheduled for Saturday morning, which had 15,000 pounds of food available, was abruptly shutdown minutes before Quincy locals were set to drive through and receive bags of food.

Dr. Melissa Chester is one of the volunteers who was helping out at the event, which was held at Patches Skating Rink. Chester explained the owner of the skating rink, Larry Simmons, was the organizer for Saturday's distribution.

Dr. Chester explained that the food distributionon had been planned a few weeks prior, and that they had been sharing information about the event all over their social media pages.

About 40 minutes before the distribution was set to start, Dr. Chester said Quincy Police told volunteers to shut everything down.

Initially, Dr. Chester said they never received an explanation on why they had to shut down the distribution. "First, they said a neighbor called. Then, the city manager, or somebody said the city manager, and then they said it was the sheriff or the police. And it was like, well who? Who's telling us to shut it down? What's the reason? So, we never really got a solid reason as to why it was being shut down."

Glenn Sapp, Quincy's Police Chief, sent this message to the City of Quincy, Florida's Facebook page:

The biggest issue for volunteers was that no one chose to take the time to assess what was going on and pause the distribution. Dr. Chester, "You could've paused the efforts. You know, hey let's pause them, let's find out what's going on. But, to just stop it without assessing what's going on when we're obviously there to do good. I think that was the thing that frustrated me so much that made me pick up my "live" and just start. "Hey people do you see this?" It was the frustration of the volunteers who put in all of those hours, sweat equity, back-bending work. "

The nearly 15 volunteers on hand to give out the food had to pack the food up immediately. They were able to deliver the food to areas of Quincy with their personal vehicles.

Dr. Chester said that Simmons spoke with local officials on planning a new date for a distribution. "We are going to plan to reschedule it. So, they're in works of rescheduling it and making it right. Because we have to right this wrong. Because it was wrong, it's a wrong to the community's citizens, those members in Quincy. So, they are going to work out a time to have it and it's going to be back at that location."

ABC 27 has reached out to Larry Simmons for a comment.