GREEN COVE SPRINGS – While patrons enjoyed the rides on the Midway, sampled smoked turkey legs and chocolate covered Twinkies and explored the variety of livestock at the Clay County …
GREEN COVE SPRINGS – While patrons enjoyed the rides on the Midway, sampled smoked turkey legs and chocolate covered Twinkies and explored the variety of livestock at the Clay County Agriculture Fair, Winn-Dixie and the Food Pantry of Green Cove Springs were in a festive mood of their own after collecting 3,500 pounds of food.
Discounts were given at the fair on Wednesday, April 7, for anyone who brought nonperishable food donations. The fairgoers turned out in force and showed what a caring community can do.
Winn-Dixie got the day going by donating $1,000 worth of perishable items like peanut butter and pasta. Fairgoers kept it going by donating canned goods and other nonperishable foods at the fair’s entrance.
“What most people bring is canned food,” said Jean Cosby, Assistant Director of the food bank. “We weighed it all and it was 3,500 pounds.”
Mike Finnick, store manager of the Green Cove Springs Winn-Dixie, said he joined Green Cove Springs Vice-Mayor Ed Gow and representatives with Two Men and a Truck delivering one-and-a-half tons of food.
“We got a good little workout,” Finnick said.
That much food can help a lot of people.
One family typically receives about $150 worth of groceries a month. The grocery package contains everything a family would need, including meat, bread, desserts and more.
According to Cosby, some people, when they come into the pantry and receive the help they need and are brought to tears. Others send thank you notes to show their gratitude.
“If you go to our Facebook account, a young lady just wrote a letter about the pantry,” she said. “And how she was homeless, and the food bank really got her through it. They took her under her wing and supplied her with what she needed. For the homeless, we also have bags of hygiene supplies. Any way we can help out the community we try.”
The 3,500 pounds of food collected at the county fair have already been sorted and placed into their proper sections at the food bank and added to the grocery rations going out to those in need.
“We mainly collected the staples need,” Finnick said. “It was a lot of fun to be at the gate and seeing so many people bringing bags of food. It was also nice to be able to thank everybody.”
The newly-renovated food pantry helps more people than ever before. It receives help from many sources: individual donations, company donations, churches and other charitable organizations. And annually, they also get assistance from one of arguably the most significant events in Clay County.
“We’ve been in operation since 1989,” said Cosby. “Last year, we served about 9,000 clients. We could not do that without the community support.”
The pantry also receives monetary donations, of which 91% goes to food. The other 9% covers operating expenses.