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WTXL Turkey Drive: Big Bend Homeless Coalition helps families in need with HOPE Community

WTXL Turkey Drive: Big Bend Homeless Coalition helps families in need with HOPE Community
WTXL Turkey Drive: Big Bend Homeless Coalition helps families in need with HOPE Community
Posted at 5:00 PM, Oct 18, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-30 11:52:38-04

TALLAHASSEE, FL (WTXL) - It's more than just a helping hand over the holidays. One Tallahassee organization is giving back in a big way, turning hot meals into so much more.

Every month, more than 50,000 people in need of food look to America's Second Harvest of the Big Bend for support. Sadly, experts believe the number of people in our community who are food insecure is double that.

Thanks to local donations from businesses and the public, close to 5.2 million meals were provided last year alone.

"Second Harvest is a food bank that serves the 11 counties in the Big Bend area and we provide food to 130 different agency partners," said Rick Minor, the CEO of Americas Second Harvest of the Big Bend. "These are churches, community organizations and non-profits like Big Bend Homeless Coalition and the Hope Community."

Located on West Pensacola Street in Tallahassee, HOPE Community is a residential facility offering services for homeless families with children. But tonight, the service they are receiving is a warm meal to fill up their bellies.

According to HOPE Community Resident Amie Childers, "We heard about the services when we first came here and first got homeless. We both lost our jobs and kind of needed a place to stay. It's me, my husband and my kids. We know they give us breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and that really helps us out."

On the menu, Shepherds Pie and green beans. The warm meal is nourishing more than just the body. For those receiving this assistance, knowing someone is out there willing to help, gives them faith things can get better.

"Everyone hits a rough patch and I kinda hit one and with me not having too much family, I really had nowhere else to go," a single mom taking shelter at the HOPE Community explained. "If you're fortunate enough, it's important to give because it helps out a lot of families that can't do."

On any given night, at least 50 families call HOPE Community home. One of seven programs under the Big Bend Homeless Coalition, HOPE Community does more than just offer meals, it offers temporary shelter. 

"The relief on a mother's or a father's face or a guardian's face when they see that they have a warm bed, a hot shower and a warm meal to put in their kids' bellies is huge," said Sara Jean Hargis, who's with the HOPE Community.

In the last seven years, more than 1,200 HOPE Community residents have moved out into stable housing of their own. So as folks gather items to donate this year, know your dollars and food are going a long way to help local families and individuals get back on their feet.

And to put in perspective just how far your dollars can go, for every $10 donated, America's Second Harvest of the Big Bend can offer 40 meals for area families.