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Gulf County United CDC, volunteers continue to feed hungry residents

By Cassie Studstill
Special to The Star

A special thanks to the Salvation Army, Carter's Temple Holiness Church Family Elder Brad Johnson, volunteers from numerous community organization, and individuals, over 300 families in Gulf County received mobile unit meals at the free food distribution on Thursday, Aug. 6 at Carter's Temple Holiness Church in Wewahitchka. 

Gulf County United CDC will hold food drops today and Saturday

Thanks to the Rev. Carl Bailey of the New Bethel Missionary Baptist Church, the next two food drops this month, scheduled for Saturday at 9 a.m. EST, at 208 North Park Ave., in Port St. Joe. 

Another food drop will be held 12 p.m. ET Thursday, Aug. 27.

"It is important for folks to know that all Gulf County residents are welcome," stressed Bailey. "The common denominator here is need."  

Amy Rogers, president of Gulf County United Community Development Corporation, said the goal is to connect people with food, end hunger, and help Gulf County residents live longer and healthier lives. 

The food drops will be held at New Bethel Missionary Baptist Church

"Intensifying need, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to create unique barriers to food access throughout Gulf County, especially for those still struggling to recover from Hurricane Michael's tragedy," said Rogers. "Food insecurity, not knowing where the next meal will come from, is incredibly stressful. We aim to help relieve that stress for as many in our community as possible." 

In a concerted effort to eliminate these two major social problems critically affecting the community, the Gulf County United CDC, has aligned with food distribution networks such as Second Harvest of the Big Bend and the Salvation Army, connected with volunteer-rich organizations such as the American Red Cross, the Wewahitchka Woman's Club, and with the help of crucial volunteers from across Port St. Joe and Wewahitchka, have been able to coordinate multiple monthly drops at different faith-based organizations and church locations across the entire county feeding upwards of 3000 families a month. 

Volunteer organizer, Crystal Depuy, said volunteer outreach and participation is critical and safety practices are top-of-mind. 

"Not only were free boxes of essential food and milk served to local families and individuals by masked volunteers via a touchless drive-thru format," said Depuy, "but selfless volunteers delivered boxes to persons with disabilities, the local elderly population, high-risk individuals, and those unable to leave their homes due to medical conditions or other extenuating circumstances.” 

To volunteer, please contact Crystal Depuy at 850-227-5446. For further information, please contact Amy Rogers at 850-227-4041.