Project Share gets results by feeding hundreds each month in Central Florida

What started as modest toy drive now feeds many in Volusia, Flagler counties

PIERSON, Fla. – Roseanne Stocker has been getting results for her neighbors in Northwestern Volusia and Flagler counties for nearly 20 years. 

What started as a modest toy drive has grown into a monthly food drop that helps feed hundreds. 

"This is part of my Christmas tradition year after year," Stocker said as she guided about a dozen volunteers through sorting and gathering toys for The Rotary Club of Flagler Beach's annual Angel Tree event. 

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It was a week before Christmas and there was still plenty to do before distribution day. 

"It's kind of the magic of community," she said. "If you get together with like-minded people, work as a community, you can do all kinds of things."

Stocker said she finds joy in giving people an outlet to help others.

Stacks of toys lined the floor of a Bunnell storage facility, with each pile representing a child. In a matter of days, they would be under Christmas trees waiting to opened in an effort to surprise excited children. 

Tara Rumph searched for just the right gifts for 6- and 3-year-old boys.

"We're looking for Curious George, Power Rangers and a soccer ball," she said.

This year, the drive helped provide toys and gifts for around 1,300 children. 

It started with humble beginnigs. The first year, Stocker was able to help 20 families. It's been growing ever since.  

"Most of the people we help live in Northwest Volusia County," she said. "They cut fern. They may live in a single wide without heat, with a broken window and a tarp from Hurricane Irma is still being used. It's pretty much as poor as you're going to see in the United States of America."

Stocker said early on, she would follow up with the local school to see what worked and what didn't.

"It was very early on when one of the school administrators mentioned that Christmas toys are wonderful, but something that these families really need is help with food," she said.

From that point on, Project Share, The Rotary Club of Flagler Beach and Second Harvest Food Bank  of Central Florida joined forces and work each month to provide food for needy families in the area. 

A monthly food drop takes place in Pierson, where a church parking lot is turned into a drive thru of sorts. Families wait their turn for a shopping cart full of healthy options. 

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Stocker said the number of people served keeps growing.

"There's no one type of person coming on this line," Stocker said while looking out as a line of cars and trucks waited their turn to load up with groceries. "There are senior citizens in need, there are people born and raised in this country and life took a turn that they didn't expect. Now they're waiting to get food for their family."

A record number of people showed up the day News 6 was there, surprising Stocker and the volunteers who had to make adjustments on the fly. 

By the end of the afternoon, everyone is served, but Stocker is left wondering what happens next.

"We won't be out here for another month, so I just wonder what that last third and fourth week will be like," she said. "These groceries will get them through a week or two, but what happens on week three and four?"  

If you would like to help, please visit the Project Share Florida website for more information.

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