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Second Harvest of the Big Bend prepare for Turkey Drive food distribution

Posted at 6:39 PM, Nov 18, 2022

The Second Harvest of the Big Bend's warehouse was busy Friday as volunteers came together to prepare to feed 1,000 families this holiday season.

"It gives me a warm fuzzy feeling knowing that today is helping other people," said Victoria Graham, a freshman at Florida State University.

Graham is one of the 50 volunteers who helped pack Thanksgiving meal kits at Second Harvest's warehouse for families in need Friday.

Saturday's distribution is a major day for Second Harvest by helping to put meals on the table for families in 11 Big Bend counties.

Meal kits include a frozen, 18-pound turkey and items for side dishes like stuffing, macaroni and cheese, corn bread mix and fresh produce. The turkeys in those boxes are all thanks to donations collected through the ABC 27 Turkey Drive.

CEO Monique Ellsworth said these meals will be helping families who might not be able to otherwise afford it due to inflation.

"Even families six months ago who might've been feeling a lot more confident where they are financially, rolling into the holiday season that might've changed for them pretty significantly, which might have limited the way that they thought they were going to be able to celebrate Thanksgiving," said Ellsworth.

A recent study by Feeding America, found that over 68,000 people in Leon County don't know where their next meal will come from. Right now, in Leon County 1 out of every 8 people is considered food insecure.

Food Resource Manager Justin Greer said all the work that goes into preparing doesn't compare to the feeling of knowing they're helping feed families. "I always look forward to being able to get out into the community and see the look on people's faces when they actually receive the benefit of all the work we do here," said Greer.

For volunteers like Graham, she's just happy to have a hand in making the holidays a bit brighter for local families. "It makes me feel that I'm making a difference in some way and knowing that families are getting that Thanksgiving meal, that they're making memories and that I'm a part of helping them in that way," said Graham.

Distributions for those Thanksgiving meals are tomorrow morning at Governor's Square Mall between Dillard's and Sears.

Although the event starts at 9 a.m., you are encouraged to line up early. Meals will be handed out until they're all gone.