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Responding to a request for help from for the Second Harvest Food Bank in Northeast Florida, Winn-Dixie has donated 43,149 pounds of food worth $41,000, as the kick-off or a month-long food drive intended to help the food bank restock its warehouse.
Donations dipped 40 percent in August, according to Second Harvest Food Bank, which provides 20,000 meals a day.
"We're facing a crisis here, a lack of food," said Second Harvest Food Bank Executive Director Wayne Rieley. "There are 515 food serving agencies that depend on us in an 18 county area to collect surplus food and get it in here to feed the hungry."
For the food drive, the Jacksonville, Fla.-based grocery chain is working with VyStar Credit Union. Winn-Dixie has placed barrels for nonperishable food donations near the exits of its 47 stores in Duval, Clay, St. Johns, Baker, and Nassau counties in Florida.
Winn-Dixie operates 520 grocery stores throughout the Southeast. It reopened 30 of its 54 stores in Louisiana on Wednesday, which it had closed in anticipation of the arrival of Hurricane Gustav. The grocer also reopened all of its stores in Mississippi that had closed because of the storm. All Winn-Dixie stores in New Orleans, Baton Rouge, and Lafayette remained closed yesterday.