Marion County is putting the 'give' in Thanksgiving

By  | 

MARION COUNTY, Fla. (WCJB)-- These groups are putting the "giving" in Thanksgiving.

Marion County leaders are asking for the community's help as they host the 8th annual 'Bring the Harvest Home' holiday food drive.

The holiday food drive was started back in 2011 when county food pantries were running out of food.

Now in its eighth year, the donation drive has expanded to include more than just food.

County leaders are asking for dry food, canned goods, baby items, and toiletries.

“We try to make sure that we're covering all of the bases of need in our community and it really is our community's way of being able to give back to those in need right here in our own community,” said Marion County Commission Chairman Kathy Bryant.

Residents can drop off goods at all of the county offices, including public libraries, city and county fire stations, Sheriff’s Office district offices, tax collector offices, Solid Waste recycling centers, Ocala Police Department, Supervisor of Elections, Ocala City Hall, Marion County Administration and the Ocala/Marion County Chamber and Economic Partnership.

The food drive will end on Friday, December 6, with a final collection day on the Downtown Square in Ocala from 7:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.

The Marion County Sheriff's Office also stepped up in a big way to provide for the young people at Florida Sheriffs' Youth Ranches.

These youth ranches help troubled teens and children who don't have anywhere to go.

And with help from Publix, officials are happy to say these youths will be able to enjoy a full thanksgiving.

"We provided four turkeys and all of the sides and actually the agency was able to provide enough sides to provide not only for Thanksgiving but meals in the future as well. The Marion County Sheriff's Office really just came together and donated all of the goods to provide for this. It was so nice to see our own stepping up to provide,” said Public Information Officer with MCSO, Cecelia Koon.

The sheriff's office is also coordinating a Christmas sponsorship event, where residents can sponsor a child at the ranch.