ORANGE CITY, Fla. – Dozens of volunteers came together on Thursday to help feed families in Volusia County ahead of the Easter holiday.
Second Harvest Food Bank teamed up with Backpack Buddies, Orange City commissioners and Amazon for a food distribution event at PFC Emory L. Bennett Veterans Memorial Park.
“This is really to get families through those times that they’re struggling to make ends meet,” Director of Advocacy Stephanie Palacios said. “They may be making that decision between paying their rent and getting food for their family for the week.”
The event began at 9 a.m. with hundreds of cars lined up and spilling onto Veterans Memorial Parkway.
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According to Second Harvest, there were about 6,600 searches for a community pantry through the organization’s online “Food Finder” tool last month, which is up 29% compared to March 2022 when a little more than 5,100 searches were done.
“We’ve seen the need increase back up to pandemic levels,” Palacios said. “Everything from inflation to gas prices, the rising cost of food and the hurricanes that came through Central Florida.”
Organizers of the event said it’s been difficult to keep up with the demand, but they were able to secure enough food Thursday to feed about 1,000 families for two weeks.
Paula Smith is part of one of those families and said she’s grateful for the help to make ends meet.
“I’m trying to make things work out,” Smith said. “Thank you so much, because if it wasn’t for them, we don’t know where we’d be.”
For details about future food distribution events in Volusia County, click here.
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