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Second Harvest Of The Big Bend's Thanksgiving Food Distribution Attracts A Massive Turnout

Tom Flanigan
Second Harvest staff and volunteers were joined by members of the Junior League of Tallahassee handing out turkeys and other staples of the Thanksgiving table.

Second Harvest of the Big Bend held its Thanksgiving food distribution the morning of Saturday, Nov. 20. More than 100 vehicles were already lined up two hours before the event began. Even Second Harvest Executive Director Monique Van Pelt - who's no stranger to long lines of food-challenged people - was surprised by the size of the turnout.

"Thanksgiving distribution last year, 1,000 families was our goal, so we made that our goal again this year. But wow! The number of people that have shown up; I don't know. We may have to turn people away today, which would be sad," she remarked, noting the vehicles circling the perimeter of Governor's Square.

And in fact, the shutdown came less than two hours after the distribution began. Van Pelt said that kind of demand has become commonplace.

"We've definitely maintained a level of service in our community that we haven't previously ever needed to meet and we've worked really hard to make sure we're there for the people that need us."

She added Second Harvest will continue food distributions, along with social service providers, in targeted neighborhoods.