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Cars pour in for free food event during coronavirus response at VFW post in Gainesville
Business give back to community members disrupted by coronavirus response
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Level Up Haircuts owner Angelica Tabor- Fells hands a stack of meals to a visitor Tuesday, March 17, 2020, to the VFW on Delta Drive in Gainesville as volunteers gather to distribute meals to school kids. - photo by Scott Rogers

With four kids at home, Amber Cameron of Gainesville was glad to see area businesses pitching in Tuesday, March 17, with meals to help the community during the coronavirus health crisis.

“With them being out of school, any extra help is a blessing,” she said before pulling away from Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8452 on Delta Drive.

Cameron was one of many people benefiting from area businesses giving away meals, water bottles and comic books for the kids. Also, Gainesville Police handed out stuffed animals.

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Level Up Haircuts, Business Radio X and volunteers gather at the VFW Tuesday, March 17, 2020, to distribute meals for school kids. - photo by Scott Rogers

“I think it’s really nice what they’re doing for the community,” said Molly Ross of Gainesville. “There are a lot of people who rely on the school to feed their kids during the week.”

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Volunteers gather Tuesday, March 17, 2020,at the VFW on Delta Drive in Gainesville to distribute meals for school kids. The event is spearheaded by Level Up Haircuts and Business Radio X. - photo by Scott Rogers
Ross was at the event with the children she watches during the day so their parents can work.

The event began originally with Angelica Tabor-Fells, owner of local Level Up Haircuts, posting on Facebook that she was going to feed people from 10 pizzas at her shop.

Gainesville podcaster Joy Whitlow saw the post and contacted Tabor-Fells. Together, they decided to expand the effort, feeding up to 450 people.

The VFW post agreed to open its doors for the effort, with people driving through to pick up the items.

“We’re glad to be able to have this space to let (the businesses) use it,” post commander Charles Brown said. “It’s working out great.”

The event had an initial blast of cars at about 11 a.m., but then people stopped coming.

Whitlow used the break in action to pull together volunteers and ask them to use their phones to publicize the event.

“You can do it any way you want to do it,” she said. “We are a community coming together for something bigger than ourselves. We want to make sure people get fed.”

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Lily Salter hands a stack of meals to Rico Willis as they join Sgt. Kevin Holbrook, right, of the Gainesville Police Department and other volunteers Tuesday, March 17, 2020, at the VFW in Gainesville to distribute food to school aged kids. - photo by Scott Rogers
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