Mayor JB Whitten spent more than a month planning the distribution, and nearly 150 volunteers from area churches and the city’s partner organizations converged at 5 p.m. Friday to bag the items.

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CRESTVIEW — More than 1,100 Crestview area households received more than 30 tons of groceries from Farm Share during Saturday morning’s Feeding Families food distribution at the Crestview Community Center.


Mayor JB Whitten spent more than a month planning the distribution, and nearly 150 volunteers from area churches and the city’s partner organizations converged at 5 p.m. Friday to bag the items.


After a medical screening by North Okaloosa Family Medicine healthcare workers, the volunteers were issued gloves and facemasks and put to work under the direction of city and community organizers.


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Two long bagging tables on either side of multiple pallets lined the middle of the community Center. Volunteers continuously supplied the pallets and tables with food including bulk packages of hash browns, bacon, lettuce, Italian sausage, cookie dough, pasta salads, and yogurt.


"Lots and lots of yogurt," Our Lady of Victory Catholic Church member Karen Humphrey, said. The Baker School senior worked alongside her mom, Alicia Humphrey, a Crestview High School educator, to bag up the food as other volunteers opened the pallets and piled it in front of them.


"I’ll always remember my senior year in high school, even if it’s not exactly what I expected I’d be doing," Karen said.


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The next morning, cars began lining up at 6 a.m. for the 9 a.m. giveaway. By 7:20, more than 250 vehicles had filled the staging areas north and south of the center.


With volunteers in place and everything ready to go, city organizers started the giveaway an hour early to keep traffic flowing.


Resident Shirley Hammond said she is temporarily laid off from her job at a Fort Walton Beach business and was grateful for the food.


"I hope it’s only a temporary layoff, anyway," she said. "I sure appreciate Mayor Whitten and his staff for organizing this food. I hate to take charity, but it’ll be a big help until we’re back to work."


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