FLAGLER COUNTY, Fla. – Bringing together a shopping bazaar and food drive to benefit the Grace Community Food Pantry turned out to be a win-win on Saturday at the Flagler County Fairgrounds.

Event organizer Ashley Tiller talks with Jennifer Ginnis about restocking her art.

Organized by Charming Sisters Events owner Ashley Tiller after local realtor Linda Deering reached out about wanting to do a food drive to help stock the community’s busiest food pantry, Tiller, who also owns and manages the artisan mini mall ‘Serendipity Marketplace’ on Old Kings Road in Palm Coast, quickly reached out to her extensive network of vendors.

While many folks are traveling for the first official week of summer vacation in Flagler County, dozens turned out to sell their wares and help support the effort.

“Linda came to me and asked about an idea of how we can make a benefit happen. With my vendor background, I said, let’s partner up and do a vendor show,” said Tiller. “I have over 20 vendors here today from my shop which is Serendipity Marketplace.”

Jane Russo shares her wares.

“I’ve seen the trailer out there and it’s full of food, so it’s worth it.”

Deering said she was inspired by God to help the pantry.

“When I became a realtor in 2022, I was as they say, struck by lightning by the Grace Community Food Pantry, and I started volunteering there. I tried to bring more people there to volunteer but it kind didn’t work. This location became available on June 1st and God said have a food drive. I started by myself and I know Ashley from Serendipity. I was like, ‘this is what God wants me to do’ and she said I came to the right place. When you look around and see all these vendors, this is Ashley and all that food goes to the community food drive because I just needed to get involved,” said Deering.

A dance off with DJ Vern Shank and a kid’s zone kept the day lively.

After moving to Palm Coast three years ago and networking, Deering calls on those connections to support causes like the food pantry.

“When I go places, in God’s name, he goes before me, and people say, well there’s Linda, because they see God before they see me. That was my mission and look at it. It’s just wonderful. The people, and the food, it’s just overflowing, so thank you.”

Filling recycle boxes with donated food, rows and rows of nonperishables were loaded onto the trailer as they were dropped off.

Grace Community Food Pantry team members were on site to thank donors and share information with those in need.

Grace Community Food Pantry volunteers accepted donations throughout the day at the Flagler County Fairgrounds.

Melissa Sansone, IT, Technology and Registration Manager for the Grace Food Pantry was humbled by the generosity of the community.

“More than any other year it’s important. As Flagler County grows, we have more people who are in need,” said Sansone. “Right now, with the economy, there’s more people in need than ever before.”

“This will last us one weekend and it’s gone,” she said before adding her own praise.

“Flagler County’s amazing. We are so community-minded here, we are blessed.”

Artisans brought their wares for the vendor show.

Upcoming Events by Ashley Tiller:

Remembering Heroes – Strike Up Some Fun! Bowling Fundraiser on August 3, 2024 at the Palm Coast Bowling Alley

Charming Sisters Events – Fall Harvest Festival on September 7, 2024 at the Clay County Fairgrounds

Remembering Heroes – 5K or Walk on September 21, 2024 at the Flagler County Fairgrounds

Charming Sisters Events – 4th Annual Holiday Market on November 30, 2024 at the Flagler County Fairgrounds

Charming Sisters Events – Christmas Market on December 14, 2024 at the Clay County Fairgrounds