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In The Villages, the opposite of hoarding benefits a food pantry

Food donors popped their trunks and stayed inside their cars to preserve social distancing. Photo: Mary Peirce

The run on supplies at supermarkets caused by COVID-19 has taken a toll on the Wildwood Food Pantry.

The United Methodist Church ministry has the cash it needs, but just can’t make those bulk purchases of eggs, meat, or mac and cheese right now. So volunteers and donors have stepped in.

The pantry provides food twice a month to about 150 families. And that number is likely to go up.

The customers drive up to the Wildwood church and receive heaping bags of groceries. The bags are lighter now, because of hoarding and panic buying at area stores.

But when volunteers put the word out last week, the opposite of hoarding happened at three locations in The Villages.

Pantry co-coordinator Don Huggins says the response was overwhelming.

“The next several days we’ll be sorting food and seeing where we stand,” Huggins said.

Volunteer Jay Newport says cars queued up at the recreation center in the Village of Osceola Hills. To preserve social distancing, they just popped the trunk or placed the groceries on the pavement.

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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.