- Photo via City of Kissimmee Government/Facebook
The city of Kissimmee on Tuesday hosted a free produce giveaway by drive-thru pickup line. The event was essentially over before it began, according to attendees on social media, when the maximum number of cars queued up long ahead of the 10:30 start time.
"There was over 1,000 cars when I went past at 9 a.m. to where they had to stop taking people," wrote Reenie McHarg on the city's post. Another commenter expressed regret that the event was limited to 500 meals.
Kissimmee city commissioners, who teamed up with Farm Share to host the giveaway of one bag of produce per car, provided directions in advance, for cars to line up down Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., from the Kissimmee Gateway Airport to the Kissimmee Service Center on Alaska Ave., about a mile away.
Considering pickups were limited to individuals with cars (walk-ups were not allowed), the overwhelming popularity of Tuesday's event again highlights the region's especially dire need for food, as thousands of Central Floridians face financial uncertainty, food insecurity and outright hunger.
After the free produce giveaway event reached capacity, the city posted an update to its website referring visitors to the food and meal assistance section of the Resident Assistance page
Some of those programs include Meals of Love
, which provides warm restaurant-prepared meals for seniors in need. The program is a partnership between the Senior Resource Alliance, nine Central Florida nonprofit agencies, local restaurants and the hospitality industry. The Florida Department of Children and Families' COVID 19 Response page is also provided, at myflfamilies.com/covid19
, as are to links for assistance paying utility bills to the Kissimmee Utility Authority and Toho Water Authority.
Other resources include the Florida Department of Children and Families, which offers the SNAP
food assistance program, and the Osceola County School District's School Nutrition Services Department
, which is providing free breakfast and lunch to children 18 years and under during the extended school closure at 19 different locations.
Those student meals are available for pickup between 9:30 a.m. - 12:00 noon. Families can go to the site nearest to them, even if they do not attend that school. As of March 27, students are no longer required to be present to receive the meals. Lynx also began complimentary transportation services to food sites in late March to parents and students who ride together. To avoid the bus fare, parents must inform the driver they're going to the school for breakfast or lunch.
The Osceola Christian Ministry Center
, at 700 Union Street in Kissimmee, is also serving hot meals Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m., and has a food pantry open 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. at Call them at 407-944-9968 to find out more.
They aren't the only food provider in Osceola. Second Harvest food bank's Food Locator tool
gives location information in English and Spanish for various food pantries and pickups – and Second Harvest remains the best food resource to follow, and donate to
, right now.
- Image via Second Harvest's Free Food Locator
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