HOLT, Fla., Nov. 11, 2021—Tiffany Woodham State Farm and the Crestview Rotary Club joined hands again to donate Thanksgiving food bags to the Holt Community Food Pantry for the fourth consecutive year.
They upped their game by providing an additional 50 bags this year to make a total of 200.
This week, pantry staff passed out the first of nearly 100 meal bags that included everything needed for a complete Thanksgiving dinner, including the turkey and dessert.
The pantry will be open next Wednesday to pass out another 100 dinner bags.
Food drive donations flowed this year as individuals stepped up, according to Samma Brannon, Rotary Club past president.
“We were able to fully finance the food drive this year, between State Farm and the Rotary Club,” she said.
Nearly $5,000 was collected during this year’s drive.
“State Farm corporate matched my office’s $1,500 for a total of $3,000,” said Woodham.
In the past, the food pantry kicked in money to finish the 150 meal bags, Brannon said. But even with the added 50 bags, the pantry’s help wasn’t needed this year.
“We were fully prepared to do that again this year, then the freezer repair happened this week to a tune of $1,200,” said Donna Ash, pantry director. The repair happened just in time to help store 150 frozen turkeys.
Another 50 turkeys will be delivered next week.
With money in hand, it was time to do the shopping, but the ongoing pandemic and shipping shortages made rounding up dinner staples a little tough this year.
“We had difficulty getting food stuff this year,” said Brannon.
But, everything came together. And Walmart came to the rescue with turkeys.
“We are grateful to Walmart for allowing us to purchase all the turkeys from them this year,” said Woodham.
All that was left was packing the bags with all the dinner fixings—green beans, stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie—and delivering everything to the pantry.
The bags were provided by Crestview Rehabilitation Center.
“This was the best turnout of people from the Rotary Club to help pack the bags,” Woodham said.
Without the support from the food drive, Thanksgiving would have been a bit thin for those needing a little food support.
“We don’t know what we would have done without the assistance and donations of time and money this year from State Farm and the Rotary Club,” said Ash. They have truly come through the past four years to help make Thanksgiving a little nicer.”
The food pantry will be open again Nov. 17 to pass out another 100 meal bags.
Then in December, the pantry will be open two consecutive Wednesdays, Dec. 8 and 15.
The pantry cut back hours to one day a week in May after client numbers began to drop off due to a number of organizations in the area handing out free food because of the pandemic.
During the past couple of months, as free food has dwindled, Holt’s client numbers have slowly increased, said Jackie Tyler, pantry co-director.
However, “December and January numbers tend to be lower because of hunting season,” she said.
It’s uncertain if the pantry will continue to be open twice a month, go back to once a month or back to its original every-Wednesday schedule.
“We’ll just have to see how it goes next month, and adjust accordingly,” said Ash.