TALLAHASSEE, Fla (WTXL) — This is the time of year where people step up to feed families and Second Harvest is seeing the need is greater than ever.
Second Harvest of the Big Bend said, since March, about 150,000 people, or 30 percent of the population, have experienced hunger on a regular basis.
Hundreds of people in Tallahassee lined up for Project Annie's annual Christmas Day meal. Throughout the year, the site provides food for people on a monthly basis. Although, since the start of the pandemic, they've seen the need increase.
"It has doubled or maybe tripled and quadrupled," said Project Annie Director Annie Johnson.
Families like Harry Ebube's said they've experienced the financial challenges of the pandemic.
"My dad has had to change jobs to provide for the family and it's been really tough for him because I haven't been to school in a while," said Ebube.
While this challenge is a new one for some, for Letivia Keels, it's a struggle she's all too familiar with. She's without a job, living on disability, and has been picking up the free Christmas meals at Project Annie for years.
"We don't have other places to go to," said Keels. "I live over there with Lutheran Services apartments and I just love this place."
Keels and Ebube said reflecting on the kindness they've received, they're focused on what's truly important this holiday season.
"Think about other people," said Keels. "Don't think about yourself, think about yourself last."
Ebube said he's grateful for people who are stepping up to make sure families do not have to go without.
"I feel really happy," said Ebube. "I feel excited because I know I'm not going to struggle for food right now."
Project Annie gives out free meals three times a month: on the second, third, and fourth Saturday.