50000 pounds of food intended for Puerto Rico will now aid evacuees in Central Florida – Orlando Sentinel
Tens of thousands of pounds of donated food that have been sitting in a Jacksonville warehouse will be distributed to Puerto Rican families in Central Florida who have fled dire conditions on the island.
“The need for them is great,” said the Rev. Jose Rodriguez of Jesus de Nazaret Episcopal Church in Kissimmee.
His church works with 134 families who struggle to pay for groceries, and about one-fourth of them are Puerto Ricans who recently arrived from the island.
“I’m ramping up … but I need to get another holiday push,” said Rodriguez, noting that donations tend to drop off after the holidays.
On Wednesday, the Episcopal Diocese of Central Florida will dispatch two tractor-trailers to a FEMA warehouse in Jacksonville and redistribute 50,000 pounds of non-perishable food to families at the Episcopal Church of Saint John the Evangelist in Kissimmee, the Rev. John Clark said.
The shipment of about 50,000 pounds of food was originally destined for Puerto Rico and other Caribbean islands affected by hurricanes, but it had been held in Jacksonville instead. A Florida spokesman for the Federal Emergency Management Agency said it wasn’t clear why the food was never sent to Puerto Rico.
The initiative, called Project “Feed My People,” was started by Clark — who runs the No One Hungry Ministry’s food pantry in Titusville — about a week ago, along with diocesan bishop the Rev. Gregory Brewer.
“We are deeply grateful for this extraordinary donation,” Brewer said. “We are thanking God that we can give away what we have received.”
Immediately after Hurricane Maria devastated the island, supermarket shelves throughout Central Florida emptied as people rushed to collect and donate food for Puerto Ricans.
But as thousands fleeing difficult living conditions continue to arrive in Florida, Rodriguez said community organizations and churches are