ORANGE CITY, Fla. – Cars backed up for miles and waited hours in line to get about two weeks worth of groceries.
Deltona resident Alyssa McWha patiently waited with her 3-year-old son in the drive-thru food drop off, held outside University High School.
“I’ve gone to places like this before and usually getting an hour early you’re OK, you’re in the front of the line but we were like hundreds maybe behind,” McWha said.
McWha said she’s been relying on food drives for months after she said her work drastically cut her hours due to COVID-19. She works at a grocery store and the irony isn’t lost on her.
"I sit there and I help you get your essentials but it's hard for me to get my essentials," she said.
But, she’s just one of thousands of Volusia County residents in need of food. Jaime Hartsgrove, outreach director for Daytona Dream Center, said Wednesday’s food drive is the ninth one since March and is one of the largest turn outs.
“What we’re seeing no matter where we’re going in Volusia County, the numbers are just going up and up,” Hartsgrove said. “West Volusia is considered a food desert, meaning there’s great need. There’s a large population. Because so many people are not fully back to work it’s like a single-person income in the home.”
Daytona Dream Center partnered with Second Harvest Food Bank and local organizations including Backpack Buddies to distribute more than 30,000 pounds of food including fresh produce and bread.
“People were just putting things in the back of my car and I’m like, ‘Oh my gosh, this is going to be tremendous,‘” Orange City resident Priscilla Ballasy said.
It’s a tremendous help that McWha believes will be needed for months to come and she hopes it’ll be around for her to receive it.
“People who didn’t need help before are going to desperately need help and are they going to have enough to cover the excess of the people who didn’t need it, but need it now,” McWha said.