Archive for the 'Childhood Hunger' Category

December 20, 2018

Over 2,500 Families Served at Annual School Holiday Drop

Author: Agency Relations & Programs Team

With just a few days left until students head home for a 17-day holiday break, Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida and Orange County Public Schools Food and Nutrition Services partnered to help ease the burden for families at eight local schools during the ninth annual Holiday Food Drop.

One in six area residents are in economic situations that put them at

greater risk of being hungry, and with students at home for holiday break, they also leave behind their free and reduced-price school-provided meals, making the need even greater this time of year.

One mother arrived at Forsyth Woods Elementary in tears. “My husband was laid off this week. His whole office is closing down right before the holidays,” she explained as volunteers loaded the back seat with an assortment of produce, canned and dry items and a whole turkey. “This means the world to us right now. Thank you.”

 

Throughout the morning, there were continuous moments of happiness and relief as volunteers packed bags of hope for families in need into their cars. A total of 2,509 families were served, including 5,233 adults and 5,560 children.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks to generous support from CarMax, Costco, Red Nose Day and First United Methodist Church, these families across Orange County went home with one less thing to worry about this holiday season.

 

December 17, 2018

Every Day is a New Challenge

Author: Agency Relations & Programs Team

“When I had nowhere to go, you were there for me,” explains Amelia.

One day she came home after picking her kids up from school to discover her husband had abandoned their family. As a stay at home mom, she had no income to pay bills or rent. Within a month, she and her four children under 16 began living in their car.

Devastated, but determined not to let the situation define her, Amelia turned to a FAITH Neighborhood Center, a local food pantry in Second Harvest’s powerful network of 550 feeding partners, for help.  Over the next 10 months, Amelia relied on the consistent access to dry goods, produce and bread from the pantry while she secured stable housing and found a job.

“There was a time when I felt like I had nothing, but you were angels to me, through thick and thin,” said Amelia.

With a positive outlook, Amelia rises each day and looks forward to new challenges. She’s thankful for her job at a laundry service, the running water in her home and that her kids are happy, healthy and full when she tucks them into bed each night.

“We’ve been on a bumpy road this year, but the ride is getting smoother. Thank you,” said Amelia.

December 13, 2018

Marie Celebrates a Culinary Success for the Holidays

Author: Agency Relations & Programs Team

From the time she was young, Marie has wanted to own her own business. She knew education would be the key to her success, but it was always just out of reach. A single mother with a 16-month-old daughter, she was juggling work as a prep cook with the stress of a young child when a friend told her about the Culinary Training Program at Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida.

Marie entered the program to expand her culinary skills, learn different cuisines and gain a better understanding of essential life skills like communication, teamwork, budgeting and interviewing.

“Education is everything,” Marie explains, adding, “This program is helping me prepare for a career, not just a job.”

Marie’s dedication is already paying dividends. While completing the program, her employer at Orlando International Airport recognized her new skills and raised her hourly rate. Her goal is to work hard, keep learning and one day open a restaurant.

“In my heart, I’m celebrating,” Marie says. “I’m thankful for the program and the supporters that made it possible. They provided me with the training and the tools to be successful, everything, including the shoes.”

To learn more about Second Harvest’s 16-week Culinary Training program visit www.feedhopenow.org/culinarytraining.

August 20, 2018

Thank You for Filling Plates and Feeding Hope This Summer

Author: Agency Relations & Programs Team

 

Thanks to you, thousands of kids and families had a hope-filled summer!

Second Harvest’s Summer Food Service Program hit the road on May 29 to deliver fresh, healthy meals to kids. With 51 new locations in 2018, the program served children at over 118 summer camps, day care centers, parks, libraries and other programs across all six Central Florida counties five days a week all summer long.

A few highlights:

  • 306,797 meals were served to kids ages 18 and under – a 30% increase over 2017!
  • In June, the 1 millionth summer food service program mealwas served at Barnett Park in Orlando.
  • Second Harvest trailers traveled 59,600 miles to serve breakfast, lunch and snacks – that’s enough to circle the earth 2.4 times!

Second Harvest and its network of 550 feeding partners were out in force this summer to distribute 8 million meals to kids and families at food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters. One way this feat is accomplished is through mobile food dropsthat distribute fresh produce, meats and dairy along with pantry staples in food deserts where neighbors do not have easy access to a traditional grocer. This summer 70 mobile drops were held in just 74 days!

While most students were out of school, Second Harvest’s Culinary and Distribution Center Training Programs were in full swing with a total of 25 students. These economically disadvantaged adults spent the summer learning the professional and life skills needed to secure sustainable careers in the food industry or in a distribution center.

In addition, thanks to the support of Walt Disney World Foundation, Second Harvest launched the Team Nutrition Team. This group of nine high school juniors and seniors from six Central Florida high schools spent the summer learning about nutrition and demonstrating their new skills with engaging activities at community events. They collectively provided nutrition education to 500 adults and children this summer and will take this knowledge and experience back to their campuses to share with their peers throughout the school year.

All of this was accomplished with your help. Thanks to financial donations, FUNdraise for Good participants and an enormous investment of time and energy by more than 1,100 volunteers, students and families across Central Florida are returning to school filled with hope for the year ahead.

Second Harvest Food Bank has already pivoted from its summer programs to provide students with access to nourishing meals at Kids Café sites, School Markets and through weekend backpack programs.  Learn more about these essential childhood hunger programs that help students arrive at school ready to learn all year long at www.feedhopenow.org/how_help_kids.