Ocala church workers feed homeless after volunteer attacked

Volunteer attacked while walking to car after serving dinner

Local 6 News at 6:00p
Local 6 News at 6:00p

OCALA, Fla. – Volunteers in Ocala returned to feed homeless men and women Thursday night just days after a 69-year-old woman was attacked.

Tara Barnes was getting back into her car after serving dinner on Monday night when she was attacked by a man who was sitting in the back seat of her car.

As volunteers headed home for the night, friends were close and their guards were up. With a flashlight, Jason Cool checked cars in the same parking lot where just Monday, Barnes was kidnapped, robbed and beaten.

It's been a tradition for years, but Thursday's dinner was different.

"We actually had a long talk with everybody, just to get the word out on the street if there's any information that can be found out there; that was the big talk tonight," said volunteer Jason Cool.

While Barnes' attacker is still out there, none of the 20 plus volunteers seemed discouraged.

"We know a lot of the people. There are some really great people out there, so it's a little shocking that it happened," said volunteer Benjamin Burke.

"But that could've happened at Kmart. That could've happened at Paddock Mall. That could've happened at Disneyland. It just happened to happen here," said Cool.

Because it did happen in their area, the volunteers giving help are now asking for help finding the attacker.

"Someone knows something, so I ask them if they know anything, come forward, you know, you can do it anonymously," said Burke.

Barnes did not go to Thursday's dinner as she heals physically and emotionally.