The Jewish Federation of Flagler and Volusia Counties provided 175 people with food for the upcoming holiday.
On the crisp Friday morning of April 2, the Jerry Doliner Food Bank had assembled a supply line of enough food to support local families with their needs for the upcoming Easter celebration.
It's the first time the food bank, located at 470 Andalusia Ave. and run by the Jewish Federation of Flagler and Volusia Counties, has given away food for this holiday. The food bank annually provides families with food for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, but Executive Director Gloria Max said the pandemic influenced them to expand their efforts.
“The community really came through," Max said. "They really helped us, and we couldn’t do it if it wasn’t for our volunteers and our donors. They were just magnificent in helping us.”
The giveaway benefitted 175 people, and was facilitated by the work of Max's 25 volunteers. People received potatoes, tangerines, apples, meat, cake and Easter candy, among other things. S.R. Perrott donated cases of water.
Notably, Max was able to acquire a match donation by local entrepreneur and philanthropist L. Gale Lemerand.
The Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Ormond Beach donated $2,200 for the food bank's effort. Members of the church, including Rev. Kathy Rickey, presented Max with a large $2,000 check at the giveaway, and an extra $200 in last-minute donations. For the past six weeks, the church has been fundraising and accepting food donations every Saturday to help the food bank.
"So it's wonderful to be able to provide that kind of help," Rickey said. "We want to also concentrate on...the social issues that cause these kind of problems."
In doing so, Rickey hopes one day, food giveaways won't be necessary. The Jewish Federation is one of three charities the congregation is supporting.
Before the pandemic, the church selected 12 charities to help during the year, made possible by collection plate donations. As the church is still meeting virtually, the congregation now supports only three: The Jewish Federation, Sophie's Circle and God's Bath House.
Jeanne Young, chair of the church's alliance committee, said they always help local organizations. With this fundraising effort, in addition to their congregation, Young said neighbors also lent a hand and sometimes returned every Saturday with more food to donate.
“The Ormond people have just stepped up like crazy," Young said.
Always happy to help
The food bank remained open throughout the pandemic, even if at times because of the growing need, that meant the Jewish Federation had to reach into their reserves to continue serving. When they lost their packers, many who had compromised immune systems, Max and her family worked long hours to pack food themselves. It's something Max is proud of.
The community has also helped Max, who continues to battle cancer. The Chabad Lubavitch of Greater Daytona makes sure they have a Shabbat meal every Friday. She said it's her work with the Jewish Federation that has saved her life.
“We used our resources and we’re really spending the money on this," Max said. "I’m happy that we were able to help people. There’s so many people who are hurting.”