The logo for Gainesville Free Grocery Store at the Civic Media Center

Free Grocery Store (FGS) is a food-based mutual aid project hosted by the Civic Media Center. It provides free, sustainable food to members of the community while addressing food waste inherent in our current food systems. FGS seeks to challenge the commodification of food that has led to unequal food access. They do this by empowering community control over the means of food production and distribution. This effort has been a lifeline for many of our community members throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, FGS has donated approximately 300 bags of food weekly throughout the City of Gainesville.

Volunteers fill bags full of groceries in the Civic Media Center as part of Gainesville’s Free Grocery Store

How it works:

On Tuesdays and Fridays, volunteers gather at the Civic Media Center (CMC) to sort and pack donated groceries. Packers use pre-made labels to make bags according to a family’s dietary preferences and household size. Drivers pick up a cluster of orders based on geographic area and deliver to individual homes. A walk-up service is also available, focused on serving unhoused neighbors but open to anyone who is able to stop by the CMC between 2-4 pm.

A close-up photo of a pile of vibrant bell peppers and broccoli

How to register yourself or others for deliveries:

FGS is currently unable to accept new clients, and they are working on restarting their waitlist. If you or someone you know needs urgent food help, leave a voicemail or text (352) 388-1568, or stop by to pick up food through the walk-up service. The foods available vary based on donations, but usual options include fresh produce, bread, dried rice and beans, canned goods, and other nonperishables. Milk, eggs, and meats are sometimes available as well.

Free Grocery Store volunteers stand together in the Civic Media Center, holding one of the volunteers sideways for fun

How to get involved with Free Grocery Store:

FGS relies on weekly volunteers to fulfill and deliver grocery orders. Anyone can sign up for shifts HERE, but please note if it’s your first time. FGS also accepts financial donations through the Alachua County Labor Coalition. They currently accept food donations only during operating hours (Tue & Fri, 2-3 pm) and on Sunday mornings. FGS appreciates any and all help. Please email or reach out through social media (Instagram or Facebook) to coordinate any resources or help you’d like to offer.

Many thanks to the Free Grocery Store team for sharing this information!

Free Grocery Store Provides Mutual Aid to Gainesville

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