Big Bend’s second harvest gears up for Turkey Drive food distribution

The Big Bend warehouse’s second harvest was busy on Friday as volunteers gathered to prepare to feed 1,000 families this holiday season.

“It gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling to know that today I’m helping others,” said Victoria Graham, a freshman at Florida State University.

Graham is one of 50 volunteers who helped pack Thanksgiving meal kits at the Second Harvest warehouse for families in need on Friday.

Saturday’s distribution is an important day for Second Harvest in helping to put meals on the table for families in 11 Big Bend counties.

Meal kits include an 18-pound frozen turkey and items for side dishes like stuffing, mac and cheese, cornbread mix and fresh produce. The turkeys in these boxes are all thanks to donations collected through ABC 27 Turkey Drive.

CEO Monique Ellsworth said the meals would help families who couldn’t otherwise afford them due to inflation.

“Even families six months ago who maybe felt a lot more confident where they were financially, going into the holiday season, that could have changed quite significantly for them, which might have limited how they thought they were going to be able to celebrate Thanksgiving,” Ellsworth said.

A recent Feeding America study found that more than 68,000 people in Leon County don’t know where their next meal will come from. Currently in Leon County, 1 in 8 people are considered food insecure.

Food resource manager Justin Greer said all the work it takes to prepare doesn’t compare to the feeling of knowing they’re helping to feed families. “I always look forward to being able to get out into the community and see people’s faces when they really benefit from all the work we do here,” Greer said.

For volunteers like Graham, she’s just happy to help make the holidays a little brighter for local families. “It makes me feel like I’m making a difference in some way and knowing that families are getting this Thanksgiving meal, that they’re making memories, and that I’m a part of helping them in that way,” said said Graham.

Distributions for these Thanksgiving meals will take place tomorrow morning at Governor’s Square Mall between Dillard’s and Sears.

Although the event starts at 9 a.m., we encourage you to line up early. Meals will be distributed until they are all gone.

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