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Fill The Mayflower For Manna Returns

Bob Barrett


MANNA Food Pantries has concluded their 8th annual Fill the Mayflower food drive. According to a press release from Manna, this year Fill the Mayflower will help provide over 60,000 meals to the hungry. The food will be distributed through MANNA’s four pantries, the Santa Rosa Backpack4Teens Program and Monthly Healthy Senior Food Program in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties. 

“This year, MANNA has provided food to 20,303 people, including nearly 7,000 children,” said DeDe Flounlacker, Executive Director of MANNA. “This drive will provide the equivalent of 60,000+ meals for families in need. The Northwest Florida community continues to show an amazing capacity to help those in need.”


A Pensacola holiday tradition got under way Monday morning in the Cordova mall parking lot. "We're just helping out unload, load, thanking people and wishing them 'Happy Thanksgiving'." Victoria is an accounting student at the University of West Florida. She was one of the many people volunteering Monday morning for the annual Fill the Mayflower for Manna event.

Throughout the morning Monday a steady stream of cars have been driving into the Cordova Mall parking lot to donate food for Manna Food Pantries. De De Flounlacker, the Executive Director of Manna said "It's been a great first day! We've had a lot of people drop off - we still need a lot of donations! - but it's been going really great today." Flounlacker says it’s the essentials that go the farthest. "We need peanut butter, canned fruit in its own juice, we also need canned chicken (and) tuna...one pound bags of rice, one pounds bags of dried beans as well."

The donated food goes into a large Mayflower moving van from Coastal Moving and Storage. Jay Bradshaw is the president of Coastal Moving and also a past president of the Manna board of directors. He says they are hoping to fill several trucks this week. "Three to four, I hope! We did three last year I think." Bradshaw says last year they also collected $20,000 dollars in cash. He'd like to see that jump to $25,000 this year.

The drive was given an early boost this year from students at the Episcopal Day School in Pensacola. Jennifer Bradshaw is one of the co-owners of Coastal Moving has children who attend the school. She say the students were anxious to help. "We kicked off the drive at their school on Friday. They raised almost 3,000 pounds of food! They beat their record, last year was only 2,200. 'Ha, only!'" Those students will be at the Cordova Mall Tuesday to help out at the drive.

The Fill the Mayflower for Manna drive continues at the Cordova Mall Monday until 7 p.m., and will resume for one more day Tuesday from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. 

Bob Barrett has been a radio broadcaster since the mid 1970s and has worked at stations from northern New York to south Florida and, oddly, has been able to make a living that way. He began work in public radio in 2001. Over the years he has produced nationally syndicated programs such as The Environment Show and The Health Show for Northeast Public Radio's National Productions.