Pop up pantry event feeds hundreds of Bay County families

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LYNN HAVEN, Fla. (WMBB)– With so many unemployed due to the pandemic, organizations partnered to ensure families in Bay County are getting the food they need.

The Trane Commercial HVAC Lynn Haven manufacturing facility, in collaboration with Feeding America and A Hand Up International, hosted a drive-thru, pop up food pantry event to provide critical assistance to the community.

There was more than 40,000 pounds of food brought in for the giveaway. Trane Lynn Haven plant manager, Brad Van Haitsma, said the company held a similar event after Hurricane Michael.

“When we saw the opportunity to be able to do it again we were like hey we got good traffic flow coming in and coming out so was able to pull it together,” Van Haitsma said.

Hundreds of cars came through and organizers estimate up to 2,000 people were fed.

“We are so blessed down here we’re just blessed we can be the hands and feet of Christ in this moment,” A Hand Up International Vice President of Food Operations, Justin Vest said.

The line was up to about a mile long at the busiest points of the event. Those who received food waited up to two hours, and they said it was well worth the wait.

“I’m a server, so the restaurants are closed, and this is going to feed my family,” Panama City resident Barbra Emanuel said.

The organizations are already looking at other ways to serve Bay County. Those who are able and wish to donate can visit https://www.ahandupintl.org/ to do so.

“Every bit helps so we can get out here and serve our community,” Vest said.

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