Second Harvest Food Bank has been closing the gap on hunger in Central Florida for 31 years. Through its network of more than 550 local feeding partners in six counties, Second Harvest today makes more than 40 million pounds of grocery products available for people in need each year.
So who is hungry? The faces may surprise you. Nearly one in five people in Orange, Seminole, Osceola, Lake, Brevard, and Volusia counties find it necessary to seek help putting food on their tables at some point during every year. Fifty-five thousand people each week need help. More than a quarter of them are seniors, living on low-income budgets and making difficult choices about housing, medicine, and other expenses. Another quarter of those receiving the food is children in low-income families. Others include families not bringing home enough wages to consistently meet their most basic needs (the “working poor”), homeless, veterans, and people who are disabled.
Second Harvest Food Bank works together with the food industry, farmers, the USDA, and the general public to redirect an extraordinary amount of society’s extra food for people in need. Unfortunately, there remains a huge gap between the amount of food needed in Central Florida and the amount currently available. For this reason, Second Harvest recently expanded its capacity to handle more food donations than ever before, including far greater amounts of nutritious products like fresh fruits and vegetables. Tours of the food bank’s 100,000-square-foot Morgan & Morgan, PA Hunger Relief Center are available and are very informative.
Other important food bank programs include the Darden Foundation Community Kitchen, which provides up to 80 adults per year with vital job training skills and life skills for work in the culinary field. In this way, Second Harvest is seeking to help actually shorten the line of people needing help with food as well as feeding the line.
Second Harvest Food Bank relies entirely on donations of food, funds, and time to accomplish its mission for our struggling neighbors. Any or all of these methods of helping make a great difference.
How You Can Help
1. Donate money. Every dollar donated can provide up to $9 in food value for people in need.
2. Donate food. Nonperishable food donations from individuals are always needed. Food companies can contribute both fresh and non-perishable items.
3. Donate time. Volunteer opportunities exist six days per week at Second Harvest Food Bank. Check the website for the schedule and to register.