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Jax Vendors To Open Food Hub Saturday; Founder Creates Facebook Help Group

Tent where the food will be allocated, people with masks in the background
Michelle Corum
In collaboration with food vendor Olive My Pickle, Pounds was able to create the 904 Local Food Hub

Seeing how the coronavirus is limiting businesses and people from functioning, Jessica Pounds began thinking of ways to help those facing hardships in Jacksonville.

So she created Conscious Containment, an initiative that has sprouted into multiple projects, from helping food vendors sell their produce, to a Facebook group that gives people in the community the chance to ask for help and offer their services.

“When things started shifting really quickly about a week ago, I just sort of jumped on the initiative with a couple of other partners to just, in real-time, be adaptable and meet the needs of the businesses we were working with as well as kind of leverage that to help the community,” Pounds said. 

Pounds created a pickup service for local produce and other food items called the 904 Local Food Hub. It was made in collaboration with food vendor Olive My Pickle, located at 5913 St. Augustine Road in Jacksonville. Six food venders are setting up distribution there, and people can pick it up without entering a busy grocery store. 

“We've had some conversations about setting something up in St. Augustine and potentially even the Beaches,” Pounds said. “The idea is that we implement and roll this out as lean and as adaptable as possible, and it's something that other communities can replicate.” 

Around the same time, she founded the Ask/Give Jacksonville, a Facebook group where Jacksonville citizens can ask for anything they need, like transportation, food, and toilet paper. And strangers are heeding the calls. 

“Sometimes it's hard to know where to go, it's hard to know what direction to turn,” Pounds said. “If we create channels that make it easy to connect and easy to help community members, that can be exponentially impactful,” Pounds said.

The Facebook group was launched March 19, and it has around 200 members. 

“It's been really rewarding to see some of those needs being met,” Pounds said. “We've had some people connect and link up and take care of each other.”

Other projects being worked on at Conscious Containment include a way for artists and musicians to connect and find ways to make money, and a group that will provide emotional support and coping mechanisms for people dealing with mental health issues during the pandemic. 

Pounds said she expects to have those extra programs available on the initiative’s website in the next couple of days. 

The 904 Local Food Hub will hold its grand opening on Saturday, March 20, and will be open six days a week from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

Read more from WJCT News:Local, State And National Coronavirus Coverage

Sky Lebron can be reached at, 904-358-6319 or on Twitter at@SkylerLebron.

Former WJCT News reporter