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Help Needed To Feed Jacksonville Homeless Who Don't Live Downtown

hemming plaza
Jessica Palombo

As the city of Jacksonville works to revitalize its Downtown, several organizations are trying to keep up with the changing needs of its homeless population. WJCT visited Hemming Park today as a handful of nonprofits showcased the services they offer to unsheltered people.

At lunch time in Hemming Park, the paved square between the Downtown library and City Hall, throngs of people are passing through or ordering from food truck windows, while other sit on benches and socialize.

“I think people tend to think Hemming Park when they think ‘homeless,’” says Cindy Funkhouser, CEO of the Sulzbacher Center. It’s a nonprofit that provides shelter and meals for the homeless.

On Wednesday, national Feed the Homeless Day, the center and a handful of other service providers have set up tables to showcase what they do. A banner announces one grand total for the year: 930,509 meals served.

Five daily meals are served within blocks of this bustling plaza. But Funkhouser says, in other areas of Jacksonville, people in homeless camps remain desperate for food. And she urges anyone interested in helping those people to contact the Sulzbacher Center.

Jessica Palombo supervises local news gathering and production, podcasts and web editorial content for WJCT News, ADAPT and Jacksonville Today. She is an award-winning writer and journalist with bylines including NPR, Experience Magazine, and The Gainesville Sun. She has a master’s degree in broadcast and digital journalism from Syracuse University and is an alumna of the University of Florida. A nearly lifelong resident of Jacksonville, she considers herself lucky to be raising her own children in her hometown. Follow Jessica Palombo on Twitter: @JaxJessicaP