ORLANDO, Fla. – Hundreds of families lined up outside of an Orlando church to receive free meals as organizers said the need for food assistance is still great a year and a half into the COVID-19 pandemic.
The cars lined up outside Live Church Orlando. The trunks were empty when they arrived, but they left with them leaving full. Calvin Lewis was one of the many families who received the free meals on Saturday.
“This is truly a blessing and I appreciate what everybody is doing for the community,” Lewis said.
Marcus Brown with Live Church Orlando said they partnered with state Sen. Randolph Bracy and the nonprofit Farm Share to give away food to 500 families.
“A lot of people think a lot of things have passed with the pandemic, but it isn’t especially with the need for food, the need for housing, the need for jobs and employment,” Brown said.
Volunteers loaded up cars with boxes of fresh fruits, vegetables, and proteins.
Last year, Farm Share said it distributed more than 104 million pounds of food and served more than 86 million meals to Floridians.
Leighsha Johnson with the nonprofit said they hold food giveaway events everyday throughout the state. She adds they’re still seeing the need for food assistance a year and a half into the pandemic.
“It’s showing that we still have to be keeping the same energy as we were in March 2020 of last year. People still need food, so there’s still a need for what Farm Share does,” Johnson said.
Bracy said they will continue to get results for families who are struggling.
“We’ll just continue to do it as along as this pandemic drags on and the people appreciate it, so we’re glad to be part of the solution,” Bracy said.
The families said they are grateful for the food and add it will help make ends meet.
“This is a blessing to us because there are a lot of people out here hungry and that’s what we are, trying to survive,” a woman who did not want to be identified said.
Click here to find a Farm Share food distribution event near you and to donate to the nonprofit organization.