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Feeding NE Florida Helps Residents In Jacksonville 'Food Desert'

With Northwest Jacksonville’s losing two grocery stores 10 miles apart, Feeding Northeast Florida is stepping in to help with what it considers a worsening food desert.

Harvey’s will soon be closing as part of Southeastern Grocers’ bankruptcy reorganization.

The nonprofit’s mobile food bank provided free groceries for hundreds of families in the neighborhoods around Edgewood and Commonwealth Avenues over the weekend.

Food bank CEO Frank Castillo said the emergency food giveaway was just a first step in addressing the lack of affordable, nutritious food.

“We’re very much focusing on the Northwest side. And we’re asking the question: how, not only, do we feed the people that are hungry but how do we ensure this will not be a recurring pattern for years to come.”

Castillo said the food bank is also partnering with schools, businesses and other non-profits to combat the area’s 33 percent unemployment rate.

The giveaway was held at the Paxon Revival Center parking lot at 5461 Commonwealth Ave.

Contact reporter Cyd Hoskinson at, 904-358-6351 and on Twitter @cydwjctnews.

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