Florida’s CFO tours food pantry in Panama City

Published: Dec. 8, 2022 at 10:40 PM CST
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis is raising awareness about food insecurity.

Thursday morning he toured and spoke to volunteers at The Hope Center Food Pantry in Panama City. “Inflation has been in an environment where it’s been the highest it’s been in 40 years,” Patronis said. “We’ve got a trend where people are spending more down into their savings than ever before in the history of their current lifetime.”

He said giving back to those in need is a great return on investment. “It’s a different type of reward,” Patronis said. “When people have the ability to give and they see first-hand what’s taking place here. They see it’s really going to help somebody in their community, in their home. It’s a different type of reward. It’s a different type of appreciation.”

One recipient attested to the CFO’s remarks.

“Everybody from the minute you walk in and sign in, to the time you leave,” food pantry recipient Barbara Hooks said. “You’re treated with the utmost respect and you have dignity.”

Volunteers said the nonprofit is a 25-year-old staple in the community.

“This year has been the most needful year for help in the Bay County area,” Windell Holley, director of St. Andrew Christian Care Center, said. “Everybody knows the economy kind of went south. Everything went up in price.

Donations, grants, and partnerships with local grocery stores help the pantry stay afloat.

It’s open Mondays - Fridays from 8:30-11:30 a.m.

Families in Bay County can qualify for assistance if they meet USDA requirements and fall within a certain income bracket.

The Center of Hope also provides clothing, shoes, and toiletries to those in need.

It’s within walking distance of St Andrew Baptist Church.