SANFORD, Fla. – In a few days, millions of families will be celebrating Christmas and for some, having a home-cooked meal will be a challenge due to their financial struggles. But thanks to two Central Florida nonprofits — The Picnic Project in Seminole County that organized a food distribution, and Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida, which provided 49,000 pounds of food — about 500 in Sanford received some much-needed help.
“It feels pretty good just coming out and giving back to the city,” Josiah Chenault, a 17-year-old Seminole High School student said.
Chenault, who also plays for the school’s football team was on-site with several of his teammates to lend a helping hand.
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“It feels good because — this is the time of the season where you wanna see people smile; it’s not much about receiving it’s more about giving, seeing people smile,” the Junior student said.
The team volunteered during their winter holiday break and helped sort food, pick up boxes and load them into cars of families who waited in line. The boxes of food contained fresh produce — like tomatoes, onions and potatoes — and families also received all sorts of canned foods, milk, juices, chicken and fish.
“[It’s] to show appreciation for all the fans that come and watch us play every Friday night, it’s just another way of us giving back,” Monty Snead, the defensive back coach for the team said. “[It] makes you feel good. We’re helping out some people that are less fortunate than others and just try to provide happiness over the holidays.”
According to Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida, one in seven Central Floridians — and one in five children — experience food insecurity, and the need for assistance remains higher than before the pandemic started.
“As we get close to the holidays there are so many families in our community who are at risk of not having food on the table,” Dan Samuels, director of Philanthropy for the organization said. “We are here today making sure that these families have food so they can get through the holidays and have a home-cooked meal just like you and I would.”
As for Chenault, it’s a day he said he’s thankful to be a part of.
“Seeing all these people leave with a smile on their face knowing that we contributed to that, it feels good.”
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