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Community Relief Days held for final time in Gainesville

Published: Jul. 31, 2020 at 7:34 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) -It's over, at least for now. We'll show you how many people received food during Alachua County's community relief days and what organizers say about holding more distributions in the future.

The Alachua County Christian Pastors Association has worked with Farm Share for months to hold weekly food giveaways in Gainesville but Friday was their last day. ACCPA President and lead organizer Pastor Karl Anderson said, “today was bittersweet it’s our last run at it at least for now. We’ve done it 16 times, last week we met our goal of 100,000 individuals that we’ve served.”

TV20′s Landon Harrar reported, “it all started off right here at the Martin Luther King Center with so many cars and people needing assistance that they actually started backing up into traffic which is why organizers decided to move it to the Alachua County Fairgrounds where actually on their last day they handed out all their food in an hour and a half.”

Pastor Anderson says they realize the need is still great and they plan to hold round table discussions with county and community leaders alongside Farm Share to see if they can create a more streamlined option for the future. “Seeing how we can have a distribution site here, that’s Farm Shares heart, that’s their desire. They want to actually park here. We’re centralized where they can service other cities and municipalities and they want to be here for Alachua County continually.”

And the grease that made the machine turn out so many meals? Volunteers, nearly 100 a day, many who received awards for their efforts to help and promote hope. Pastor Anderson said, "we gave plaques to our partners, even TV20 got a plaque because without our promotional partners like you all we wouldn't have had the word getting out like we did."

Darry Lloyd was at almost every event and helped coordinate the volunteers and he said, “in the beginning of the pandemic you look for opportunities and ways to help your neighbors out. I wasn’t the only one doing that, you had a lot of folks committed to doing what they could. Whatever you could fit in that’s what they were doing.” Pastor Anderson said Friday being their last day was also their biggest with more than 3400 households receiving food.

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