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United Way, along with other local organizations, give out free food boxes

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Several local organizations came together Thursday to give back to the community, in a time when people may need it most.

"This is the farm to family food box distribution," said The Neighbors Place Executive Director Donna Ambrose. "(It involves) the Marathon County Coalition in collaboration with The Neighbors Place and it's a great opportunity for people to quickly and easily get nutritious food from area farmers."

They came together to give away 400 boxes of fresh produce, weighing nearly 30 pounds each, to any and all in need.

"I think often times people don't realize how much people truly need help," said Ambrose. "People that have never been in this situation before and that's what we're really seeing right now."

"As you can tell the need is there," said United Way Marathon County Director of Community Impact, Ben Lee. "We see it and when the line (of cars) backs up like that, it's a good visualization of how intense that need is."

Cars lined the streets waiting for, in some cases hours, the distribution to begin to ensure they would get the food they needed.

"This is not surprising to us," said Lee. "We understand that people are in great need in Marathon County. The goal is to distribute all the food and tonight we'll do that."

They did.

Volunteers worked to make sure that every vehicle that came was taken care of, giving away the over 11,000lbs of food in just a few hours.

It's just, it's unbelievable," said David Jehn, one of the many who came to pick up food. "I'm just thankful that they can put this together."

It's a small gesture that in these times, makes a big difference.

"A quote I live by is," said Ben Lee. " 'While i'm alive i'll make tiny changes to earth.' and I think that this is a tiny change in our community."

They will host two more Farmers to Families Food Box Hand-Out events August 20 and 27.

Alex Stewart

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