January 12, 2018

Building Agency Capacity Leads to More Fresh Food Distributed

Author: Agency Relations & Programs Team

Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida is intentionally increasing the output of fresh, healthy food into our community. Thanks to farmers, growers, retail partners and food suppliers, more than 52% of the food distributed last year was fresh! This means more fruits, vegetables, dairy and meats found their way onto the plates of kids, seniors and families in Central Florida.

One way to keep this momentum moving in the right direction is to build capacity at local feeding partners. When food pantries and programs have the right equipment to safely store perishable food, more of our neighbors can enjoy fresh produce, milk, and meat.

Manna Medical recently donated 10 coolers and refrigerators to Second Harvest to share with local pantries, like Shepherd Vision Ministry in Parramore. This weekly feeding program began several years ago when Yolaine Phillip had a vision to lift up her neighborhood. “I saw so much need around the stadium,” she recalls. “I would take people food and try to connect my neighbors with different organizations.”

Last year, the organization lost its only refrigerator when they relocated to a new building. They used to include produce in their weekly distribution, like apples, potatoes and other items. Now they can only distribute basic pantry items. When Yolaine received a call that a refrigerator was available, she came the same day to pick it up.

“This is a blessing to so many people,” Yolaine said. “Thank you, very much.”

It may be one small change, but over time, these donated refrigerators will cause a ripple effect throughout the community. With each bag of produce or gallon of milk, a family in need will be fed and nourished, thanks to you.

If you are an agency who could increase your capacity by serving more fruits, vegetables and meats with the help of a cold storage unit please send your requests to fdelgado@feedhopenow.org



October 27, 2017

Childhood Hunger in Lake County

Author: Agency Relations & Programs Team

In Central Florida, one in four children is at risk of going to bed hungry. Sadly, hunger can dramatically impact a student’s ability to perform well in school and affect their interest in engaging with the world around them. Thanks to the National School Lunch Program, many students are able to access free breakfast and lunch during the school week. However, many of these students return to school on Monday with empty stomachs and are unable to concentrate on their lessons.

In 2016, Lake Cares Food Pantry, one of Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida’s feeding partners, took over a weekend backpack program at Triangle Elementary School in Mt. Dora. Many of the families that access its main pantry have students who attend the school, where 86% of the students participate in the National School Lunch Program. Each week, Lake Cares provides 35-40 backpacks filled with peanut butter, jelly, bread, fruit cups, snacks and other non-perishable items.

The school recently honored Lake Cares for its support and partnership. The students presented Irene O’Malley with handmade cards expressing their gratitude. Irene was most impressed by the student’s understanding of hunger and awareness of how Lake Cares is here to help them succeed.

Learn more about Second Harvest Food Bank’s programs for kids: http://www.feedhopenow.org/site/PageServer?pagename=how#kids

Photos below courtesy of Triangle Elementary.

 



October 5, 2017

Healthy Pantry Highlight

Author: Agency Relations & Programs Team

Second Harvest Food Bank has been working hard to contribute to the Central Florida community’s health and wellness. Because food insecurity is one of the leading factors contributing to chronic disease and illness among people who are low income and living in poverty Second Harvest created my position as the Healthy Pantry Network Coordinator through a West Orange Healthcare District grant.  The focus of the grant is for our partner agencies within the footprint of the West Orange Health District.  However every pantry in our agency network is able and encouraged to contact me about information and guidance to improve the health status of their pantry.  Since the beginning of this grant the pantry at St. Andrews Catholic Church has been working closely with me to implement as many health upgrades to their pantry as they can.  They’ve been extremely receptive and interested in the nutrition information for their client’s food bags and we’ve been able to communicate about healthier foods for their homeless population. They’ve also had UF/IFAS Extension’s Family and Nutrition Program come out to their food distributions to provide nutrition education to their clients.  This coming winter they will take part in a Request For Proposals (RFP) training where they will have the opportunity to apply for more equipment that will expand their pantry’s capacity to distribute a larger quantity of healthier foods.

If you are interested in nutrition resources for your pantry you can find a nutrition resources tab on Second Harvest’s partner website. Also feel free to contact me and use me as a tool to expand your pantry’s growth in health and wellness.

 

Rachel Stankiewitch

 



October 3, 2017

It’s Cucumber Season!

Author: Agency Relations & Programs Team

FL CucumbersAs temperatures rise, there’s no better time to enjoy Florida cucumbers!

Cucumbers come in a wide variety of colors, shapes, sizes and textures. There are the traditional green-colored cucumbers, as well as white and yellow ones. They may be short, slightly oval or even round in shape. The skin on the cucumber can be smooth and thin or thick and rough.

Cucumbers are known for being very low in calories – a whole cucumber is only 45 calories, an excellent source of vitamin K and a good source of vitamin C and potassium.

In the United States, Florida is the number one producer of cucumbers. The two main types grown are slicers, produced for fresh consumption, and picklers, produced for processing into pickles.

Cucumber creations:

  • Add to smoothies or juice
  • Make a wrap with sliced meat, cheese, hummus, lettuce, sprouts and cucumber

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