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Farm Share event near Ocoee helps families ahead of Thanksgiving

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Volunteers load vehicles with food at The Change Church in Gotha on Monday morning. Photo: Joe Byrnes

The Farm Share distribution near Ocoee Monday offered meat, dairy, produce and, with Thanksgiving around the corner, a turkey for about 500 families.

Farm Share has held hundreds of distributions throughout Florida and provided an estimated 49 million meals since the beginning of the pandemic.

State Sen. Randolph Bracy, D-Ocoee, was at the food giveaway at The Change Church. It was one of perhaps a dozen he has sponsored. 

“The pandemic just exacerbated the problems that we see as far as food scarcity,” he said. “And so I think things are getting a little bit better. But there’s always going to be a need. And, you know, Farm Share has just filled that need for years.”

Vehicles pulled up in two lines in front of the church. As a DJ played peppy music, volunteers in face masks carried boxes of food and bags of turkeys to the open trunks.

A distribution coordinator said the food is provided by the USDA and corporate donors. But the event also has dozens of volunteers.

One of them is Maureen Lewis with the AACCC, the Apopka Area Concerned Citizens Council.

“It’s just always in me to come out and help,” Lewis said. “You know, whatever you need. That’s just human nature to come out and help the community.”

Lewis estimates she has volunteered at more than 20 of the events.

Another Farm Share distribution is planned for 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday at the OCPS Academic Center for Excellence, 701 W. Livingston St. in Orlando.

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Joe Byrnes

About Joe Byrnes


Joe Byrnes came to WMFE/WMFV from the Ocala Star-Banner and The Gainesville Sun, where he worked as a reporter and editor for several years. Joe graduated from Loyola University in New Orleans and turned to journalism after teaching. He enjoys freshwater fishing and family gatherings.