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Mandarin Food Bank Runs on Donations and Dedication

1:40 PM, Dec 21, 2011   |    comments
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MANDARIN, Fla. -- Teresa Lewis has once again found herself in a long line with hundreds of others in her same shoes.

"Right now we're living on the grace of God and my family," said Lewis.

With five children, Lewis is in need of one of life's necessities: food.

"I've been unemployed for two years and these people have really done some really great things for me," she said.

Lewis is referring to the great things done at the Mandarin Food Bank with dedicated people like Bonnie McNulty.

"I was very lonely so I got involved with the church," said McNulty.

That was 20 years ago. McNulty hasn't looked back since.

"I don't think I could survive without it.  It's as much a blessing to me as is what we hope we do for our clients is to them," she said.

"Once you do it, you just can't leave," said Mary Kaminski.

She hasn't looked back in two decades either.  Both serve as co-directors of the food bank and have seen a consistency over the years.

"The numbers keep growing," said McNulty.

"Drastically, even in the last year, the numbers have almost doubled," said Kaminski.

Although the demand has grown, they've managed to still provide through donations and hard work.  It's all on a volunteer basis with countless hours that don't pay a single dime.

"We tell our volunteers not to judge because you just never know where you're going to be at next week," said Kaminski.

This week, with Christmas just days away, the women, along with dozens of other volunteers, are making sure clients get a box full of everything they need for a good holiday meal.  People received turkeys and all the fixings.

"Our business is to go out of business so everybody can have a good life and provide for their families, and being realistic I know that will never happen," said McNulty. 

People needing help will likely be a constant thing.  Something else constant?  People like the volunteers of the Mandarin Food Bank being there to provide it.

"I really appreciate it," said Lewis.

A familiar face with that meal is at least one sure thing during uncertain times.

First Coast News

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