Milk giveaway

Volunteers help load milk and produce Friday as part of a giveaway held at the East Hills Shopping Center parking lot.

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Hundreds of people turned out at the East Hills Shopping Center on Friday night for a milk and produce giveaway organized by a St. Joseph church.

Cars filled the parking lot while volunteers directed traffic, took orders and loaded trunks. Richard Bradley, a pastor at the Keys Christian Fellowship Church, helped organize the event, which included six lanes of traffic.

“We were about 48 seconds per vehicle. So when they’re driving in the lane, we know how many families are picking up for,” Bradley said. “We’ve already determined what we’re going to give per family. So that’s the efficient part of it.”

The products given away were slated to be destroyed, as COVID-19 continues to rattle supply chains. Instead, in partnership with the federal government, the products were purchased and then rerouted to those in need. Other organizations involved include Foursquare Disaster Relief and 180 Disaster Relief.

“Wednesday night, we kind of had a little bit of a failure because we weren’t expecting so many people, but we learned from that and what you’ve seen here today is a result of that,” Bradley said.

Cars were turned away Friday night too, as two refrigerated trucks worth of goods were given away in about an hour and a half.

“Well, I wish we had enough to give someone or everyone something,” Bradley said. “But the demand versus the supply is what dictates how we are able to get the product into the cars and we just we ran out.”

The giveaway will continue each Monday, Wednesday and Friday for the next five weeks starting at 5 p.m.

“I would say that if you’ve been here and you haven’t been able to get through the line that we have a lot of time left to do this,” Bradley said.

Matt Hoffmann can be reached at Follow him on Twitter: @NpNowHoffmann.