Volunteers, donations needed for Big Bend pantry

Demand for grocery delivery is high
Posted at 2:27 PM, Mar 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-31 18:30:37-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Volunteers are hard at work feeding a growing need in Tallahassee, and now more volunteers are needed to help one capital city organization.

Good News Outreach has seen the demand for groceries skyrocket since the start of the pandemic.

“This has definitely helped me out at times when there was no food in the kitchen,” shared Kimberly Jones. She said she depends on this non-profit’s food distributions while she works to get back on her feet after months of homelessness.

“Now that I have a house,” Jones explained, “it’s kind of hard to have food in the house. You want to make sure the bills are paid.”

She’s one of hundreds benefiting from the generosity here.

Director of operations, Rebecca Howard told ABC27, “we’ve gone up at least threefold at the pantry” since the start of the pandemic.

She keeps track of how much food goes out to the community in and around Tallahassee.

“In 2019, I believe it was 52 tons of food were given away. 2020, we did 123 tons,” Howard added. “We are certainly not backing off on the number of people who are calling in and asking for food deliveries.”

They distributed 822 bags in February of 2021, compared to just 462 in February of 2020, right before the pandemic hit.

Volunteers like Rekeiya Heywood help keep the groceries moving.

“Everyone needs help once in a while,” Heywood shared. She’s been helping for about a year now. “It’s been a whirlwind, but I’m still here."

Good News Outreach is hoping more people like her will volunteer as they help the community rebound.

In the meantime, Jones encouraged people to ask for help if they need it. “What’s embarrassing is not asking for help when there are resources out here,” she concluded.

Though Howard says 80 percent of their food comes from Second Harvest, they still need donations of things like Boost, Depends, hygiene products, and anything they can’t get from the USDA.