Second Harvest of the Big Bend works with Publix to feed families

36k people in Leon County are considered food insecure.
Published: Sep. 15, 2022 at 7:50 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - With 36,000 people in Leon County considered food insecure, Second Harvest of the Big Bend is working to address this need for families.

Thursday, Publix employees volunteered with Second Harvest through packing boxes to help feed several North Florida communities.

Second Harvest Big Bend CEO, Monique Ellsworth, says this will help feed more families as it provides them healthier food at home. She says one challenge with inflation and rising costs of living is that people are choosing between things like medication and buying healthy food options.

“High quality and high volume food into the food bank, so things we’re packing today are fresh produce and reclaimed dry goods that come to us from grocers and what it does,” Ellsworth said. “It’s an immediate influx of food that we’re able to pack up and send to our neighbors in need.”

She says that usually ends with people receiving less nutritious meals but making donations like groceries from Publix is a big help.

Publix store manager, Alexandra Henry, shares that since working with Second Harvest, it has changed her perspective on the number of people that are in need.

“It’s probably one of the most honoring and humbling experiences I’ve had in my entire life,” said Henry. “It has just completely opened my eyes to things in our community that you don’t see on a daily basis.”

Beyond the Publix grocery donations, Second Harvest is also being gifted a new refrigerated truck from Darden Restaurants to continue supporting food distribution in the Big Bend.

Ellsworth says the ultimate goal is trying to reduce the amount of families having to choose between common necessities like medication and healthy food.

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