Food is the first need for each of us – and yet so many in north Florida are going without regular meals each day. The mission of Second Harvest North Florida is to end hunger across the 17 counties it serves and reach the more than 342,000 individuals who wake up each morning feeling the effects of food insecurity. More than 117,000 of those are children.
Second Harvest distributed more than 20 million pounds of food this past year – the equivalent of nearly 17 million meals. Yet it was only enough to meet half of the need in north Florida. Despite tripling the amount of food circulated through the community over the past three years, there are still working people, children and homebound elderly who are hungry as you read this. Our goal is to distribute 40 million pounds per year by 2015, but it will not be easy.
Second Harvest has an established network of 450 agencies including churches, neighborhood food pantries and civic groups that directly serve those who are hungry on a daily basis. It is the partnership with us that enables them to maximize their resources to serve those in need. Organizations like the Salvation Army in downtown Jacksonville get more for their money when they shop with us. In an economy like ours, every dollar saved counts. Because those partners are not just serving food, they’re delivering hope.
Second Harvest thanks Winn-Dixie, Wal-Mart, Target, Publix, Food Lion, Sam’s Club, Whole Foods and Save Rite for the millions of pounds these retailers donate each year. Just as important is the more than 2 million pounds of produce local farmers have donated to us.
It seems simple – we get food, we sort food, we distribute food. But to do more of it we need to increase our capacity with more trucks, a bigger warehouse, more direct mobile distributions in needy neighborhoods, and assist our agencies with their capacity as well. We can improve the standard of living in north Florida one family at a time. We are excited about where we are headed, and we look forward to having your help.
Did You Know? Last year more than 3,700 volunteers donated 24,398 hours of their time at the food bank. Without those extra arms and legs, we could not serve the hungry. During the same time frame, we raised $1.65 million in private contributions from generous individuals, companies and foundations.