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HELPING TOGETHER — Orange City Vice Mayor Kelli Marks, left, and Council Member Jeff Allebach, right, prepare to begin loading cars with donated foodstuffs. Marks established Backpack Buddies, a tax-exempt nonprofit organization dedicated to relieving hunger in the Orange City area.

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HELPING TOGETHER — Orange City Vice Mayor Kelli Marks, left, and Council Member Jeff Allebach, right, prepare to begin loading cars with donated foodstuffs. Marks established Backpack Buddies, a tax-exempt nonprofit organization dedicated to relieving hunger in the Orange City area.

Backpack Buddies is hosting its fourteenth Drive-Thru Food giveaway on Friday, July 8th at PFC Emory L. Bennett Veterans Memorial Park, 1365 Veterans Memorial Parkway in Orange City. The event will open at 9 a.m. and continue until 11 a.m. or while supplies last.

Volunteers will be observing no-contact distribution: recipients will drive up, pop open their trunk, and volunteers will place several perishable and nonperishable food items in the trunk of the vehicles.

The giveaway is made possible through Backpack Buddies and their partnership with Farm Share Food Bank, Society of St Andrew, County of Volusia, City of Orange City, All Terrain Tractor Service Inc, Vessel of Honor & Access Center, and many community volunteers.

Farm Share will bring a semi-truck of over 30,000 pounds of food to be distributed. There will be perishable and non-perishable food items that could include frozen meats, dairy products, produce, pastries, and many other food products. The program is open to all Volusia County residents only.

“In 2022 we are seeing high prices in just about everything. With this inflation happening, we are witnessing the price for food keeps escalating,” stated Backpack Buddies President Kelli Marks. “We have received many calls asking for us to do another giveaway and this giveaway covers them for about two weeks’ worth of food”, Marks commented.

Also, Marks stated, “Most are putting their paychecks into gasoline and leaving very little for food” We are extremely grateful for our partnerships with so many of our community members and businesses who have stepped up to supply critical resources for those most in need in our community. Food insecurity just seems to get worse. Backpack Buddies has stepped in to fight food insecurity and has already fed over 10,000 Volusia County Residents in just one year!

Backpack Buddies held its last food giveaway in Orange City was March 11th, distributing over 30,000 pounds of food to over 400 families.

Backpack Buddies was founded in September of 2019 by Kelli Marks, who also serves as a Vice Mayor for Orange City.

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