Onelia Recinos stood in a maze of cardboard boxes early Monday evening. Food filled each one — there were vegetables, eggs, loaves of bread, and more. Each had a little something different.
The sun still stung as Recinos, a pastor at Pentecost Church Christ Is Coming (in Spanish, Iglesia Pentecostes Cristo Viene, Inc.), helped sort through food. She and members of the church, 239 US 301 Blvd. E., Bradenton, were helping to feed families in Manatee County.
“We’re giving food to the needy,” Recinos said in Spanish from a grassy area behind the church. “There are a lot of people who need this.”
Meals on Wheels PLUS of Manatee gave food to the Pentecost church, and in turn members worked Monday to distribute it to those in need. Recinos said the church organized between 130 and 150 boxes of food.
It was just after 4 p.m. and a line had already formed by families. The air was filled with sounds of boxes being shuffled along long tables, and many women murmured in Spanish as they studied the contents of each box.
Church member Nivia Mérida organized eggs in cartons at a table behind the boxes. Catarina Gonzalez, 57, of Bradenton, bent down to move a bunch of radishes to another box.
Ana Brizuela, 27, smiled as she carried away a box to her car. Trailing close behind her were Brizuela’s two children, 8-year-old Gabriel Brizuela, and 9-year-old Asleen Brizuela.
Brizuela said she found out about the food drive through La Pulga de Bradenton Online (in English, Online Bradenton Flea Market), a popular Facebook group of nearly 20,000 members — many of whom are from Manatee and Sarasota counties.
Brizuela looked down at the box in her hands.
“They (Brizuela’s children) love bread, and they love crackers,” she said in Spanish with a laugh, referring to a box of Cheez-Its.
She described it as a great effort for the community.
“I came because... we lacked a bit of food at home,” the mother of two said softly.