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Food for the hungry distributed to local food pantries

Food for the hungry distributed to local food pantries

A massive undertaking to feed the homeless and needy in Okaloosa and Walton County is underway right now in Niceville.

Leftover emergency food, which was bound for hurricane-ravaged communities who no longer need it, got diverted to Okaloosa County.

Now, the task of distributing it is underway.

It's food that'll help charities like the one Jean Honeycutt helps operate.

"With this, we can give to people who have no means of cooking, we have a good many people that don't live in houses," Honeycutt said.

Especially the homeless and others who can't heat up food.

Multiple hurricanes wracked the Gulf Coast this season, causing billions of dollars of damage.

Okaloosa County escaped destruction from Mother Nature and will see a silver lining with thousands of pounds of food, water, and blankets.

After the storm season, the Federal Emergency Management Agency gave more than 50 truckloads of leftover food to Farm Share, a group near Tallahassee, to distribute.

With the help of two Walmart tractor trailers, Okaloosa County could bring food to Northwest Florida State College to distribute on the beds of trucks and trailers.

Captain Ty Carhart said it will allow Okaloosa Emergency Management the chance to get into the Christmas spirit, too.

"What we're going to do is, we're going to have our ambulances that are going to be supplied with some of these with some emergency blankets that we have provided. And anytime we see a need, we are going to go ahead and provide that need and fulfill that need," Captain Carhart said.

The non-perishable food, which will last until at least 2019, bolsters the reserves of local food pantries for the first half of the year, too.

"It being the holiday season, they are kind of flush with food because everybody donates and are in the giving spirit. Shortly, though, within the next month or so, that supply is going to deplete, because people after they give during the holidays, they forget that they must keep supplying the food pantries," said United Way Okaloosa Walton County President Rick Owen.

A boost for ministries big and small.

"Our Lord Jesus Christ provides, and I want to be here to carry it and help distribute it," Jean Honeycutt said.

The plan is to have all the food out for distribution before Christmas.

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