Jacksonville Beach nonprofit filling stomachs, hearts with dinner

It is the 28th year The Beaches Emergency Assistance Ministry, or BEAM, has provided means to families.

JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. — In this season of Thanksgiving, Ed Van Voorhis wants you to know how grateful he is.

“It’s been such a blessing and everything. It’s been wonderful,” he described a recent food giveaway.

He and his wife are one of more than 500 families the nonprofit ‘The Beaches Emergency Assistance Ministry,’ or BEAM, is providing with a free Thanksgiving meal.

A fire destroyed their home, then they both tested positive for COVID. He says BEAM has been the bright light he’s needed. 

“You got to keep going if you got your two grandbabies and you are taking care of them. You got to work a couple of jobs. You got to survive,” Van Voorhis told First Coast News. 

This is BEAM’s 28th year handing out Thanksgiving baskets and they have seen a greater need to serve because of the pandemic.

“There was a woman this morning, she had to park her car because she couldn’t stay in line because she didn’t have enough gas,” said volunteer Sue Glawe.

BEAM even dug deep into its own pockets to help pay for some of the Thanksgiving staples – donations also helped contribute to 1,200 to-go bags.

“This would not have been possible without community support. This is literally people coming together for a greater good,” said BEAM’s Development Coordinator Caleigh Quast.

It’s because of you BEAM says families like the Van Voorhis’ are able to have a full stomach and an even fuller heart. “We were going to wait until tomorrow to come get the stuff, but I was excited to look at it and put it away and get ready,” Van Voorhis said.

There is still time to register for a Thanksgiving basket. For more information on the program, click here

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