LAKE COUNTY, Fla. – Lake County deputies and churches are working together to collect food to help local families who are struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic.
One by one, cars pulled into the Real Life Church on Saturday morning.
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Heather Holman dropped off food donations, saying she wanted to give during uncertain times.
"I went through and took out everything that we don't necessarily love right now or have more than one can of and we just said let's give it," Holman said.
The Lake County Sheriff’s Office, the Emergency Operations Center, and faith-based organizations are hosting food drives at three different locations across the county this weekend. Volunteers are collecting canned goods and non-perishable foods to help feed families who are struggling during the coronavirus pandemic.
“We’re seeing an unprecedented need, especially with our friends down in four corners. All of the school kids out of schools, all of the jobs being lost, people are being furloughed. We’re just seeing a huge uptick in the amount of food that’s being needed in our community,” Tim McCormack with Real Life Church said.
Nearly 3.3 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week. On Friday, Governor Ron DeSantis announced families on food stamps will temporarily receive more money.
McCormack said Real Life Church has seen a 30% increase in people visiting their food pantry this week.
"There's a need. We have no doubt that there is a need here. It's finding creative ways in this different sort of disaster to fill it," he said.
McCormack said they are taking precautions to stop the spread of COVID-19 while still doing their part. They’re asking people to drop off their donations in the bins, practicing social distancing, and using hand sanitizer.
McCormack said the sheriff's office will also make sure the food is safe before taking it to dozens of food pantries across Lake County to be distributed.
Bullet Byalick also donated food. Those giving are hoping it will bring peace of mind to families who need it most.
"I've got good health. I'm retired military 22 years. Why not give back? That's the biggest thing. Give back to your community," Byalick said.
McCormack said the food drives are scheduled for Saturday, Sunday, and Monday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the following locations:
- North Lake County: First Baptist Church of Umatilla, 550 Hatfield Drive, Umatilla
- Central Lake County: Lake County Jail, 551 West Main Street, Tavares (west end)
- South Lake County: Real Life Church of Clermont, 1501 Steves Road, Clermont