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50 tons of food collected for Mayors' Feed the Hungry food drive

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SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - Many volunteers were getting food ready for those in need Friday at Ed Smith Stadium. It's all part of the Mayors' Feed the Hungry program.

This food drive has been going on now for nearly three decades, for 15 of those years Scott Biehler has been the man overseeing this operation.

He says 50 tons of food will be given to the less fortunate this Thanksgiving including 2500 frozen turkeys. In addition to the food, they've handed out more than $100,000 in food gift cards.

"It's so gratifying, the people that come in and get the food are just so thankful, there are people in tears just to get a turkey and a box of food," said Bieler. "It's just really great to know that we're helping people during the holidays."

Dozens of volunteers were sorting out all the non-perishable food items.  This is food that has been collected for nearly two weeks.  This food will then be taken to 25 agencies and food pantries to be handed out.

"I do it because I love people and I think it's just great to give back to you community wherever you live," said Arlene Hull, a volunteer.

"A lot of people are in dire straits these days for whatever reason and this has to come in handy, especially at this time of the year," said Bob Paganelli, a volunteer with the American Red Cross.

The Mayors Feed the Hungry food drive is sponsored by all the mayors of Sarasota and Manatee Counties, even law enforcement is doing their part to collect food.  Palmetto Mayor Shirley Groover Bryant says her city has been actively involved with this program for several years.

"This just really gives an opportunity for so many people to work together, come together and help the community as a whole," said Groover Bryant.