City leaders feed 180 Orlando families struggling during COVID-19 pandemic

Second Harvest food bank distributed 40 million meals during pandemic

local Leaders giveaway free meals
local Leaders giveaway free meals

ORLANDO, Fla. – Orlando city leaders delivered free meals to nearly 200 families and residents who were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cars lined up inside the parking lot of the Engelwood Neighborhood Center Saturday morning. Latin music filled the air as drivers waited to pick up their meals.

Orlando City Commissioner Tony Ortiz said this was a celebration even during difficult times.

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“The pandemic is not going to stop us from doing what we do best in the city of Orlando,” Ortiz said.

Ortiz said because of COVID-19, they couldn’t celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month like they usually do. But he said they weren’t going to let the pandemic stop them.

Instead, the city teamed up with Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida to help feed 180 families struggling to make ends meet. The city’s Hispanic Heritage Month Steering Committee identified the families who received the meals.

“We are seeing this great need out there and there’s people really, really suffering,” Ortiz said.

Volunteers loaded the vehicles with boxes of food, produce and water.

Kelly Quintero, with Second Harvest, said they don’t want families to worry about putting food on their tables. She adds even months into the pandemic, the need is still there.

“We’re at about double the distribution every single day. We’ve hit about 40 million meals at this point over the last 6 months,” Quintero said.

As families drove off with cars full of food, many took a moment to share their gratitude.

“Thank you very much for everything. This helps out a lot. Thank you,” one woman said.

Families who need food assistance can find a food pantry near them by clicking here.

About the Author:

Amanda Castro, a proud UCF alum, joined the News 6 team in November 2015 and was promoted to weekend morning anchor in April 2016. Go Knights!