To ‘Strike Out Hunger,’ Groups Organize Alachua County Food Drive

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Local charities gathered Monday at the Alachua County Fairgrounds for the beginning of the Strike Out Hunger: Food Drive & Thanksgiving Basket Giveaway Program, an initiative to help Gainesville food banks and pantries during the holidays.

Members of the sponsor organizations the Martin Luther King Jr. Commission of Florida and the Long Foundation  met starting at 7 a.m. to collect food donations and assemble baskets, which they will send to 10 churches and community groups.

“It’s extremely important because we never know who’s going to be in a situation that they need food,” said former Alachua County Commissioner Rodney Long, of both the Martin Luther King Jr. and Long organizations.

The organizations will give out between 1,800 and 2,000 Thanksgiving baskets this week, he said.

When donors arrive at the fairgrounds, organizers weigh their baskets and check individual items to make sure they are not expired, said Carol Long, of the Long Foundation. They then sort items out and pack the boxes.

“It makes you feel good,” said Katherine Modisette, a second-year food donor. “I like to help the people out.”

The food drive has been held annually in Gainesville since 2008. Most donations are canned or boxed dry foods, but organizers have partnered with Farm Share to add locally grown produce.

Volunteers are continuing to sort and package food. The 10 church and community groups will pick up their items Wednesday, and Farm Share will give out food alongside them.

“It’s great,” volunteer Sheila Davis said. “Any time to give back to the community, to help families, to help anybody that’s in need, I’m all for it.”

WUFT News reporter Diana Illingworth contributed to this report.

About Daniela Hurtado

Daniela is a reporter for WUFT News and can be contacted by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news@wuft.org.

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