Amazing Parrish Food Distribution Day
By Mimi Sheffer
On Saturday, April 25th, the Parrish United Methodist Church Food Pantry held the largest distribution to date in their long tradition of supplying food to residents in the Parrish area. On Saturday, they served 381 cars and served 821 meals. The entire operation ran very smoothly, thanks to the efforts of scores of volunteers. The Parrish Fire Department, Manatee County Sheriff's Office and the Manatee County Search and Rescue were in charge of the staging area and directed people to the car line.
The entire operation was so well coordinated that families were able to line up in their cars and get through the entire distribution line in a matter of just 15 -20 minutes. Families moved through the drive-through line, going from one station to the next, picking up fresh produce, including tomatoes, squash, potatoes and cucumbers, a gallon of milk, bread and baked goods, frozen meal kits and frozen chicken, pasta and rice and a bag of canned goods and toilet paper. The volunteers at Parrish United Methodist Church also made hot meals to give to families - pasta and sauce with green beans.
Many families didn't know about the distribution, so Parrish Civic Association (PCA) volunteers went live on their personal and community Facebook pages to raise awareness and encourage people to come to the Parrish United Methodist Church to pick up donations. PCA volunteers even delivered food to seniors and families who were unable to get to the Food Pantry. And local residents pitched in to help their neighbors, picking up food and delivering it to
friends and neighbors who could not get out. One generous man picked up food, heaped in the bed of his pick-up truck, and delivered it to 10 different migrant families in need.
Scores of residents have volunteered to help, and many local businesses and organizations have contributed to make this huge effort possible, Commissioner Trace, Ben Jordan and Mike Williamson are working on grants to help fund this important work for the hardest hit in our community and Manatee County, including the Parrish Foundation which helped secure the refrigerated truck for the frozen goods, fuel for the truck, and a $10,000 grant from the Manatee Community Foundation to secure food. Also contributing to the effort was Ferraro’s, who donated pizza kits and allowed the PUMC Food Pantry to store refrigerated goods at there restaurant. Several farms and grocery stores also contributed, including Hunsaders, Dakin Dairy, Jones Potato Farm, Pennrose Farms, Jessica’s Organic Farmstand, Honeyside Farms, Geraldsons Farms, and Detwilers.
This outreach program illustrates the generous, giving nature of the people in Parrish; it's also a powerful illustration of how much good a community can do when people work together towards one goal.
If you would like to donate, the Food Pantry is always in need of canned chicken and tuna, canned pasta, canned fruits and vegetables, boxed pasta in bags of rice, half gallon bottles of juice, toilet paper, paper towels, shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste and toothbrushes.