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Second Harvest Provides Thanksgiving Dinner For Thousands At Friday Event

The line began Thursday, and remained into Friday afternoon as thousands of Jacksonville residents came to a parking lot across from Everbank Field to collect free food for Thanksgiving dinner.The event was sponsored by Second Harvest Food Bank, Wells Fargo and a host of other First Coast businesses and charities.

Credit Cyd Hoskinson / WJCT
People line up under the Hart Bridge overpass to get Thanksgiving dinner from Second Harvest on Friday morning.

Volunteers began unloading trucks and setting up tables under the Hart Bridge overpass at around 5:30 a.m. on Friday morning and were handing out bags of groceries by 9 a.m.
Second Harvest Executive Director Bruce Ganger says some people started lining up at 4 p.m. on Thursday afternoon to make sure they would get food.
"This is not only for Thanksgiving, but much of this food that they’re getting today probably will be consumed immediately because that’s the food that’s in their house," he said.
Among those waiting in line for Thanksgiving groceries was 51-year-old Lori Persik who says she’s been out of work for a year now.
“(My) house is in foreclosure. The shipyard, don’t work there anymore because they laid off," she said.

"Very hard," she said, when asked how it felt to stand and wait. "But at the same time there’s more people in need than I am, and I’m more willing to stand just like everybody else.”
Second Harvest’s Bruce Ganger says the food bank prepared enough turkey dinners to feed 2,5oo hungry families this year.

You can follow Cyd Hoskinson on Twitter @cydwjctjax.

Cyd Hoskinson began working at WJCT on Valentine’s Day 2011.