Local organization celebrates distributing one million pounds of food

Published: May. 1, 2021 at 8:48 PM CDT
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Food insecurity has been an issue in Bay County since Hurricane Michael and has only gotten worse since the pandemic.

“Food is such a basic and yet essential thing that we need in our lives. And to see so many people struggle with it, it’s very very difficult,” A Hand Up International CEO Jeanette Best said.

It’s a need that A Hand Up International is trying to meet by helping folks put food on the table.

“All you have to do is just show up and say you’re in need of food. And get in line and we will serve you,” Jeanette said.

Bay County Resident Phyllis Walden said it’s been a blessing to her and her loved ones.

“It has really been a godsend to me, my family, and my neighbors because I share with all of them. They can’t make it down. And with the price of food going up like it is now, it has really helped because I’m on a fixed income, and every penny counts,” Walden said.

On Saturday, A Hand Up celebrated the distribution of 1,000,000 pounds of food. Volunteers teamed up with Feeding the Gulf Coast to host a massive pop-up pantry.

“I mean we got everything from a cookout to elegant cuisine with your wife,” A Hand Up International President Wesley Best said.

Boxes were filled to the brim with eggs, noodles, croissants, meats, and more. It was a total of 30,000 pounds of food, which is enough to feed 900 families.

“They feed us when we need it and I just don’t know what else to say. I’m grateful for it,” Bay County resident Roberta Fountain said.

Jeanette said she’s honored to help those in the same way someone else once helped her.

“When I had three small boys and had to stand in line at a food bank, I have a very unique perceptive because I’ve been on the other side of it. So, we treat everybody with honor and dignity. And we let them know that it’s not a handout but a hand up,” Jeanette said

A Hand Up hosts food distributions every other Saturday for anyone in need. All you have to do is sign up.

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