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Northwest Jacksonville food pantry to open in “extreme food desert”
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Northwest Jacksonville food pantry to open in “extreme food desert”

Northwest Jacksonville food pantry to open in “extreme food desert”
Seniors in Coweta County participate in the Senior Produce Mobile Pantry Program operated by the Atlanta Community Food Bank. The food bank purchases 80,000 pounds of fresh produce each month to give away to seniors. CONTRIBUTED BY ATLANTA COMMUNITY FOOD BANK

Northwest Jacksonville food pantry to open in “extreme food desert”

A mobile food pantry will take place Tuesday at KIPP Jacksonville Schools. Frank Castillo, President and CEO of Feeding Northeast Florida, says that area in the 32254 zip code is in significant need of grocery options, following the recent closure of a staple grocery store in the area.

“We have about 13,000 people that live in this particular zip code, and the availability not only of nutritious food, but affordable food is very scarce in this particular community,” says Castillo. 

He says the mobile pantry precedes the opening of a stable pantry inside the school facility at 2525 W. 1st St., which Feeding Northeast Florida plans to open this fall. Castillo says the mobile pantry will serve anyone in need at no cost to them, but for security reasons, the stable pantry will be limited to families and students of the KIPP Jacksonville facility. 

Castillo says the hope here is to not only feed families in need, but to educate people to make healthy, nutritious food choices. 

Castillo says funding for the mobile pantry comes from the generosity of donors, and is not being funded by the City. Feeding Northeast Florida is working with Councilman Garrett Dennis, Councilman Sam Newby, the KIPP Foundation, the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Services Family Nutrition Program, the University of North Florida, and United Healthcare volunteers. 

Tuesday’s event takes place at KIPP Jacksonville Schools from 8 a.m. until 11 a.m.

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