Second Harvest food drive serves residents in need during coronavirus pandemic

By: Lanetra Bennett | WCTV Eyewitness News
March 26, 2020

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- Many organizations and agencies are doing what they can to ease the burden for families during the coronavirus outbreak.

Thursday, the Second Harvest of the Big Bend food bank conducted an emergency mobile food distribution at the Donald L. Tucker Civic Center.

The parking lot was packed with cars filing in. The food distribution was done drive-thru style.

There were so many people there, that the distribution began an hour early at 10 a.m., instead of 11 a.m.

"I made sure I got here," Linda Mercer said.

Mercer lives in Woodville. She arrived around 11:00 a.m. in the morning, and was number 487 in line. She said receiving the free fresh produce and canned goods is worth the wait.

"It makes a good difference. When you only got one person in the house working, it makes up for the other one, you know?" Mercer said.

By noon Thursday, Second Harvest had served 850 people. C.E.O. Monique Ellsworth says 1,300 meals were prepared.

It's all an effort to help alleviate financial burdens for community members.

"I'll be able to eat. I'll be able to just enjoy, me and my family. I'm just blessed, truly blessed," said Gloria Toomes Wilson, a Tallahassee resident.

The drive-thru giveaway included supplemental meal kits, which included shelf stable items, such as canned goods, noodles, peanut butter, apple sauce and more.

Recipients also received fresh cantaloupe, carrots, peppers and egg plant.

"I thank God that they're out here doing this," one woman said.

Volunteers were being cautions. They were wearing gloves, masks, and they had hand sanitizer and were practicing social distancing.

The next Second Harvest distribution will be on Friday morning at 9 a.m. at 2500 Holton street in Tallahassee.