Local food banks fill a very real need

Project Anne, Inc. accepts food and clothing donations from the community. Photo courtesy Gabrielle Hall

The coronavirus pandemic has caused considerable hardships for many people in America. With the biggest economic recession since the Great Depression, a lot of families have not been able to afford to buy groceries or clothes. Food banks in Tallahassee have offered these essentials to the homeless and families in need.

According to Feeding America, 80 percent of food banks are serving more people than they were at this time last year. Food banks are distributing more food and accepting more volunteers to keep up with the demand for assistance.

Project Anne provides those in need with groceries twice a month on Thursdays from 9:30-11:30 a.m. Annie Johnson, executive director of Project Anne, says that even though there is a pandemic going on, she has received ongoing support and donations throughout the year.

“We get so much food,” Johnson said. “I put some of it outside, I fixed bags and it fills up the bags, I have a lot of donations — monetary too.”

Johnson says when the pandemic first started volunteers stopped coming. But as months went on many younger volunteers stepped up to help.

Churches have implemented food banks to assist their members and communities surrounding them. Dorothy Davis, a member of Innovation Baptist Church, is over the operations of the pantry at the church.

“We were limiting the volunteering to the church members only,” Davis said. “But because of the pandemic it’s open to anyone who wants to help.”

Innovation Baptist Church’s food pantry was open twice a month, but due to the limited donations and resources they are only available every second Saturday of the month from 9 to noon.

Many of the food banks around Tallahassee are concerned about food security for college students. Innovation Baptist church has made efforts to reach out to the college students who need assistance .

“Pastor Leland was concerned about the community, but he also said what about the students — a lot of the students are hungry too,” Davis said.

The food pantry on FAMU’s campus was started to assist students who needed groceries and may not be able to afford them. FAMU spokesman Andrew Skerritt says food insecurity among students was a big factor.

“The pantry is open for students on and off campus,” Skerritt said. “You’d be surprised at how many students struggle with food insecurity. So, the pantry helps those students who desperately need it.”