Free food market helps battle food insecurity

Published: Jul. 7, 2021 at 4:57 PM CDT
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PORT ST. JOE, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - You hear about a food drive or a meals giveaway almost every week. But Port St. Joe First United Methodist Church is taking food pantries to a whole new level. This Gulf County church is making sure no neighbor goes hungry.

“You’re coming in with a grocery cart and you’re shopping. Seriously. So, nobody’s putting stuff in a box and handing it to you,” Shopper Von Lipner said.

The Two Fish Food Market in Port St. Joe is giving those in need a chance they otherwise wouldn’t have.

“My little girl, she likes to come in and, you know, get the different kind of cereals and stuff that I really wouldn’t buy. Paying $4.00 or $5.00 a box, I would not buy it,” Lipner said.

This boutique market is everything a grocery shop is but at no cost.

“Anybody that’s hungry can be fed here. We don’t turn anybody away that has a need,” Senior Pastor Geoffrey Lentz said.

The market opened up in mid-April and has been feeding more than 100 families in Gulf County and Mexico Beach every month.

“People come in and choose items that they need for their family. They’re able to pick items based on the size of their household and they’re able to receive enough food for four meals during a month,” Methodist Caring Ministries Chair Vicki Abrams said.

“We were grateful, both of us. She’s got grandkids and I’ve got kids so especially with COVID. So, everybody has felt that. So, when they opened, and you’re walking in here and you’re getting food. Good food,” Lipner said.

Pastor Lentz said they wouldn’t be able to feed so many without the help of community members.

“It comes from Second Harvest, it comes from the local grocery store, it comes from people’s local gardens where they’ve grown some vegetables and they want to share it with us,” Lentz said.

Your family is eligible to shop at Two Fish and receive food if you are a Gulf County or Mexico Beach resident. You must either be a participant in (SNAP) Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (Food Stamps), (TANF) Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, (SSI) Supplemental Security Income, Medicaid, OR your household meeting the following income guidelines:

  • Household size of 1 – annual income of $16,588
  • Household size of 2 – annual income of $22,412
  • Household size of 2 – annual income of $28,236
  • For each additional family member, add $5,824

You can drop by Two Fish on Tuesdays or Wednesdays 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. or Saturdays 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. at 212 Williams Avenue, Port St. Joe.

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