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Editor’s note: The date of the event was listed incorrectly. The event is Thursday, Nov. 19.

Just in time for Thanksgiving, an Orange City-based charity is branching out to give away food to households feeling an economic pinch.

Backpack Buddies, a nonprofit food bank established in the fall of 2019, will distribute food on a first-come/first-served basis in DeLand Thursday afternoon, Nov. 19. The food giveaway begins at 4 p.m. at the Sanborn Center in Earl Brown Park, 815 S. Alabama Ave., in DeLand.

Orange City Council Member Kellianne Marks founded Backpack Buddies to help needy families with children enrolled in Orange City Elementary School.

Since that time, the organization has experienced explosive success — as charities go — with the demand for food aid growing exponentially because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the desire to help growing as well.

Donations of food have greatly increased, but the need is still there, Marks said, with the list of households that need food help getting longer.

“Ours is growing every day. Every day I get two or three more families. The word is getting out,” Marks said.

Backpack Buddies receives support from Second Harvest and the United Way, Marks noted.

The organization’s office is at 245 W. Blue Springs Ave., Unit C, in Orange City.

Those interested in learning more about Backpack Buddies may contact Marks at 386-218-5776.

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Born in Virginia, Al spent his youth in Tennessee, North Carolina and Virginia, and first moved to DeLand in 1969. He graduated from Stetson University in 1971, and returned to West Volusia in 1985. Al began working for The Beacon as a stringer in 1999, contributing articles on county and municipal government and, when he left his job as the one-man news department at Radio Station WXVQ, began working at The Beacon full time.


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