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Community Food Bank Ready for Busy Holiday Season

The Grace Community Food Bank, a division of the Grace Tabernacle Ministries International, expects to supply $45 gift cards to 1,500 Palm Coast families this Thanksgiving season.
While Charles Silano, pastor of GTMI, said the food bank receives consistent support from the local community to meet the needs of those needing assistance, he’d like to bump that $45 dollar gift card value to $50 for 2023.
“It gives those needing our services the dignity of being able to shop themselves, prepare their meal in their home and eat with their loved ones,” Silano said of the Team Feed Flagler effort for the Thanksgiving holiday that the GTMI heads up.
The GCFB (food bank) feeds anywhere from 4,300 to 4,400 families per month, Silano said, adding that four members is the average family size. The food bank also recently started mobile operations out of a truck that brings food to 120 homeless people.
With a budget of $130,000 per year, the food bank moves approximately 3.5 million pounds of food to those in need in Flagler County. The food bank also receives twice weekly infusions of food from local supermarkets.
Still, the bulk of its budget comes from the generosity of local givers. SIlano said he is grateful for the support, especially during the recent COVID-19 pandemic that stretched everyone’s resources thin.
“It is just amazing to me,” Silano said. “People in this community are very much engaged in making sure that other people have food on their tables to meet their needs. It is as if everyone here; everyone who gives can relate to the plight and needs of others. We just have a wonderful community.”
The food bank began 20 years ago and went through several locations before landing its is current, permanent spot at 245 Education Way in Bunnell. At its beginning, the bank started helping 30 families. About 15 years ago the United States Department of Agriculture enacted the Feeding America program which brought more than 200 feeding sites — including those at schools — under one umbrella.
Learn more about the food bank online at www.gracecommunityfoodpantry.com.
-Amy Armstrong