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Sunday, March 3, 2024

Over 21,000 pounds of food collected for Marion County residents in need

The 12th annual installment of Marion County’s “Bring the Harvest Home” holiday food drive culminated on Friday with thousands of pounds of food donations that will fill local food pantries.

The collection effort, which has been spearheaded by Marion County Commissioner Kathy Bryant since its inception in 2011, brought in over 21,000 pounds of food and more than $11,000 in monetary donations on Friday, December 1 at Ocala’s Downtown Square.

Bring the Harvest Home 2023
A group photo of the elected officials, community partners, MCSO Mounted unit, and adoptable pets from Marion County Animal Services that attended the “Bring the Harvest Home” event at Ocala’s Downtown Square on December 1, 2023. (Photo: Marion County Board of County Commissioners)

These food and cash donations will be utilized by Interfaith Emergency Services, the Salvation Army, and Brother’s Keeper to help Marion County residents who are in need.

Bring the Harvest Home 2023
Karla from Interfaith poses for a picture with Chairwoman Michelle Stone and Commissioner Kathy Bryant in front of a  box truck filled with donations. (Photo: Marion County Board of County Commissioners)

“A great big thank you to the Marion County community for helping Bring the Harvest Home today!” stated the Marion County Board of County Commissioners in a social media post on Friday.

The commissioners also thanked the numerous community partners that collected non-perishable items throughout the month of November in order to help residents in need. Those partners included the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, Ocala Fire Rescue, Marion County Fire Rescue, Marion County Supervisor of Elections, Marion County Florida Tax Collector, Marion County Property Appraiser, Dunnellon Police Department, City of Belleview, City of Ocala Municipal Government, and Marion County Public Schools. 

Bring the Harvest Home 2023
The Marion County Sheriff’s Office Mounted Unit attended the collection event on December 1, 2023. (Photo: Marion County Board of County Commissioners)

Here are several photos that were taken during Friday’s collection event at the Downtown Square:

Bring the Harvest Home 2023
A pallet with over 800 pounds of donations. (Photo: Marion County Board of County Commissioners)
Bring the Harvest Home 2023
Members of Marion County Fire Rescue and Ocala Fire Rescue loading bins of supplies. (Photo: Marion County Board of County Commissioners)
Bring the Harvest Home 2023
Councilman Barry Mansfield, Commissioner Kathy Bryant, and City Manager Pete Lee loading up non-perishables during the collection event on December 1, 2023. (Photo: Marion County Board of County Commissioners)

Two dogs from Marion County Animal Services were also at the Downtown Square, and they were adopted by their new forever families during Friday’s event.

Bring the Harvest Home 2023
Two dogs – Silas (left) and Mandy (right) – were adopted during the Bring the Harvest Home event on December 1, 2023. (Photo: Marion County Board of County Commissioners)

To learn more about the annual holiday food drive, visit Marion County’s Bring the Harvest Home webpage.

While this year’s Bring the Harvest Home has wrapped up, Ocala Fire Rescue’s Holiday Drive is still underway. To help those in need, OFR is accepting non-perishable food items, hygiene products, and new toys at its local stations through Thursday, December 14.