JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The First Coast now has another partner in the growing fight against hunger.
On Monday morning, Feeding Northeast Florida launched operations in a new food storage and distribution center in the 1100 block of Edgewood Avenue North.
"This is the beginning of a new chapter for the community," said President & CEO Bruce Ganger.
Feeding Northeast Florida is a start-up non-profit that has been working to get organized and hire workers behind the scenes since March of this year.
It received a $1 million investment from Feeding America to open the warehouse facility and purchase necessary equipment.
"It's (about) working with partners of farms, retail grocers, manufacturers, but most importantly, it's about the distribution into the community," Ganger explained.
Ganger said the facility's opening Monday morning means the organization is now officially operational. First Coast News was even there live as its trucks rolled out for the first time.
Around 5:30 a.m. Monday, the organization's trucks departed with big red bows on their hoods for their first trip to collect food from retailers around the area. First Coast News
Their job will be to pick up thousands of pounds of food from area retailers, farms and grocery stores that would otherwise be thrown away.
Items will all then be brought back to the warehouse, where volunteers will inspect, sort and re-distribute them to more than 90 other groups currently working to feed the hungry.
Right now, Ganger said one in four children and one in six adults in northeast Florida do not know where their next meal will come from.
"It's folks that are just like you and me, except that food becomes an issue to them because they just can't find a way to make that work with everything else they're struggling to pay for in their weekly budget," he explained.
The trucks on day one are expected to bring back 40,000 lbs. of food. That total will grow each and every day as the non-profit settles into its new home.
Ganger said it's relying heavily on volunteers and cash donations moving forward because eventually the money from Feeding America will run out.
To find out how you can get involved, click here.