ORANGE PARK –For some, supplying the basic necessities has become a challenge during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many organizations however, have stepped up to the plate to help those in need.
One of those, Orange Park Mall, in conjunction with Elevate Life Church, is doing their part to help those who need it most. Elevate Life partners with Convoy of Hope and Farm share to help provide the foodstuffs to be donated.
Convoy of Hope has been very involved in COVID-19 relief nationwide, having given out 10 million meals throughout communities hit hardest by the pandemic.
On June 13, in the JC Penney parking lot, the mall and Elevate life worked together to hold a pop-up pantry where the underprivileged received free packages of groceries to help offset their current financial struggles.
Residents of the community were made aware of the food pantry. “Both Elevate Life Church and Orange Park Mall have strong community partnerships. We each sent out the information to those contacts, and posted details on our website and social media platforms,” said Chelsea Commodari of Orange Park Mall.
While keeping sure to maintain social distancing and other COVID-19 related safety measures, vehicles entering the parking lot were directed by volunteers to spots where they received the packages of groceries. The volunteers loaded up to 30 pounds of food (package sizes dependent on family size). into the vehicles. The parcels contained dairy products, meat, produce and other non-perishable food items.
“As part of the fabric of Clay County, we have been inspired by the resilience of our neighbors,” said Randy Bowman, General Manager at Orange Park Mall via an emailed press release. “It is a privilege to partner with Elevate Life Church on this initiative as a way to give back to our comm unity.”
Orange Park Mall had been doing its part for the community during the pandemic in different ways, such as hosting free drive-through movies in addition to the pop-up pantry.
“There was this moment when I looked around and thought of the famous Mister Rogers quote, ‘Look for the helpers, you will always find people who are helping,’” said Commodari.
“Watching people give, with no ulterior motive, singing and dancing as hundreds of vehicles rolled up is so powerful - the heart of the county was showing in that parking lot on June 13th.”