Woman buys last groceries at closing South Florida Winn-Dixie, donates them

Cara Young said that she came to know and love her local Winn-Dixie in South Florida and its employees very well.

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Young, 63, reminisced about one of the cashiers in the Jupiter store who she said always pretended to run away as Young headed for the checkout line because she would have to get brown bags from the back.

“I preferred brown bags over the plastic,” Young said with a laugh. “She hated me.”

But on April 18, Young walked into the store and saw signs that said, "Today is the last day." There was no joking about plastic bags.

“One of the women who worked there told me they were closing,” said Young. “I had no idea and asked them what was left to buy.”

Cookies, cakes, greeting cards, baby formula, leftover food from Passover — it didn’t matter. Young loaded up her cart and bought it all.

“I spent $300 and got $3,000 worth of stuff,” she said.

The cart filled with miscellaneous items wasn't for her, though. Young donated it to three local organizations — the Edna W. Runner Tutorial Center in Jupiter, Joann's Cottage in Palm Beach Gardens and the Alpert Jewish Family & Children's Service of Palm Beach County in West Palm Beach.

"Oh, yes. I remember the woman with the Winn-Dixie bags," said Anna Poulin, assistant executive director of the Edna W. Runner Tutorial Center.

Young brought bags of snacks to the after-school center.

“We are so grateful she thought of us,” Poulin said.

Young also dropped off baby formula directly to Joann’s Cottage, which provides care for young mothers and mothers-to-be. It is part of the Place of Hope organization.

“I don’t know the exact amount of her donation, but we are appreciative for it,” said Joshua Kolkana, director of foster care, adoption and independent living at Place of Hope.

While the state gives Joann’s Cottage some money, Kolkana said donations go a long way to help the approximately 350 people Place of Hope serves each day.

“Donations like Young’s are given directly to the women that come to us,” he said. “It’s helpful because it takes one thing off the young women’s plates.”

Young said donating the items was a “wonderful experience,” and she hopes to get involved in more charities now that she’s retired from her job as an interior designer.