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Bread of the Mighty

March 2, 2013

Florida – Wednesday, February 20

It took a while to get the last few things loaded in the van, and the condo cleaned up. Then I took a final 2.5 mile walk around OJC – the rolling hills and oak trees and horse pastures make it seem more like Kentucky than Florida!

From there I went to the little town of Micanopy, a wonderfully charming old Florida town. It’s not big, but has a lot of character. There’s lots of little antique shops in old buildings that have been around since stage-coach days. Tula and I walked a couple miles through the little town, and out into neighborhoods with street names like Ogeohee, Okehumkee and Eestaulkee. There was a sleepy quality to it all, like things have been around forever, and may or may not catch up with the present! I always knew Micanopy would have to be part of my walking when I was in Florida! I’ve been here before and I’m sure I’ll be back!

From there I headed back into Gainesville to the Bread of the Mighty Food Bank – I liked the name and wanted to do a food pantry donation in Gainesville since I’d been around there a lot. They were just getting ready to close, but they were happy for a donation, and then Anne, the director, asked me to come back to her office where she told me a bit more about the program. As a food bank, they help over 100 different churches with smaller food pantries, in several counties. They also partner with about 80 local stores and businesses to collect437

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445 food that is getting near its expiration date, or has packaging that is slightly damaged, and she mentioned how generous Walmart is in particular. Not only do they provide a lot of food, but they provided a lot of shelving in the storage area. And Trader Joe’s is a new store that recently opened, and they’re already on board with helping too. They have several refrigerator trucks so they can deliver perishable things to food pantries, and one of the trucks was donated through American Idol’s “give back” program. This lady is 85 and still going strong – and her 90 year old husband is often around. She figures it’s better than sitting at home! It was fun to hear about all the teamwork and the different organizations that are a part of a large food re-distribution program.

After a quick stop at Toni’s apartment where I took Tula and Ella on a last quick walk together (for now!), I headed south out of Gainesville. I passed Bolen Bluff state park that was on the other end of the Paynes Prairie Preserve, so I got out and walked a couple more miles – dogs weren’t allowed in this park either (which doesn’t stop some people!). By this time it was nearly dark, and I headed a little east across the state and stopped for the night in Elkton.

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