WJHG – Jan. 18, 2021 – You hear about it almost every week, a food drive or a food giveaway. The need for food in Bay County is as big as it’s ever been.
”Everything is not good. We still need help,” Bay County Democratic Party Chairman Dr. Rickey Rivers said.
Rivers said food insecurity in the community is quietly growing. It’s a problem he wants to loudly address.
He and other community members did so by hosting a food drive on Monday.
”We need everybody to donate to their local pantries,” Rivers said.
This MLK holiday, he hoped to make a change, no matter the size. ”Hopefully we can make a dent, I know this is a small dent and I know we have a lot more people who would like to donate and help out in the community. And I would say continue to do so,” Rivers said.
Food insecurity in Bay County is on the minds of most.
”I mean we’ve always had some level of food insecurity but not at the level we have it now,” Rebuild Bay County Executive Director Donna Pilson said.
Pilson said many residents are still recovering from Hurricane Michael and Hurricane Sally, and the pandemic on top makes matters worse.
”We’re still getting multiple requests a day for residents that are asking for food assistance,” Pilson said.
Food giveaways help folks put their funds to other needs.
”If they can get food from other places then that money they would traditionally spend on food can be used to help with some of those other finances,” United Way of Northwest Florida President and CEO Bryan Taylor said.
The reason we hear about it so often is the need is so great. Even then it’s hard to help everyone.
”To meet the need, we would basically need to have a food giveaway every other day,” Pilson said.
Donating one box or can is better than donating nothing. Officials said these drives do help the public.
Rebuild Bay County is looking to partner with another organization to build a sustainable food pantry with a steady flow of food and permanent staff.