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Winn-Dixie announces opening date at Gateway Town Center

Until its opening, Winn-Dixie & the Winn-Dixie Gives Foundation will host free food pantry events at the store's parking lot every Saturday.

A new Winn-Dixie will be opening next month at the Gateway Town Center in the Brentwood area, taking the place of the former Publix site.

Worries over the area becoming a food desert -- as many residents cannot afford to travel further for groceries -- sparked as soon as Publix announced back in October that it was closing its store at 5210 Norwood Ave. in December.

"I know my community and know there is a real need for someone to fill this void and prevent a food desert in this area," said Councilman Reggie Gaffney of District 7.

RELATED: Gateway Town Center, city officials trying to keep Publix's Brentwood location open

RELATED: Winn-Dixie moving into Publix's spot in Gateway Shopping Center

Renovation plans for the new Winn-Dixie, measuring 28,120-square-feet, are now underway with the goal of opening on Wednesday, Feb. 12.

Until then, Winn-Dixie and the Winn-Dixie Gives Foundation will host free, weekly mobile food pantry events at the store's parking lot during construction so residents in the area will have access to food.

The food pantry events will take place each Saturday, Jan. 11, Jan. 18, Jan. 25 and Feb 1, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Food will be first-come, first-serve.

"I am thankful to Southeastern Grocers and Winn-Dixie for stepping in to fill this critical need and provide relief to these people," Gaffney said.

RELATED: Jacksonville councilman says free food will be distributed weekly after Gateway Publix closes

The new Winn-Dixie location will also be hiring. The grocer will hold on-site interviews for full- and part-time positions Monday to Thursday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Click here to find out more about available positions and reference "108" in the keywords field.