ORLANDO, Fla. – As the sun begins to light the morning sky, dozens of cars are already in line at Orlando Metro West Church of the Nazarene.
It will be hours before Candice Campbell, Herald Of Hope Food Pantry coordinator, gives the go-ahead to begin food distribution.
“It’s a typical Saturday morning,” Campbell says as she organizes the placement of pallets, tents and folding tables. “The last few months have been hectic.”
Campbell puts her day job as a banking software programmer on hold twice a month to run the pantry.
“I tell people at work this is my second job,” she laughed. “But it’s the most rewarding.”
Campbell says she’s seen a 200% increase in the number of families requesting help since the beginning of the economic shutdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“It’s scary what’s going on,” says Campbell as a steady flow of vehicles make their way through the drop-off zone. “They have lost their jobs and they need help.”
Raul Sanchez pulled up in a silver sedan, trunk open and windows down.
“I come here to get some food,” he says through a green face covering. “It’s beautiful, just beautiful.”
Today, Campbell is loading bags of potatoes into the trunks of passing cars. She does what it takes to get the job done.
“You’ll see me doing a bit of everything,” she says. “Directing traffic, handing stuff out, getting the volunteers in position. Anything and everything.”
With the threat of COVID-19, the need for volunteers has increased, keeping pace with the number of people needing help. Older volunteers who were a reliable workforce have stayed home due to health concerns.
New volunteers, like Mary Beth Morgan, have stepped in to fill the need.
“She is getting results,” Morgan said when asked about Candice Campbell’s effort to help her neighbors. “You can feel that when you talk to her. She’s pretty incredible.”
If you would like to help volunteer or learn more about Herald Of Hope services, contact information can be found on the group’s website.