The Lutheran Social Services food program began in 1979 as the Nourishment Network, but became the food bank in 1981 as its services expanded. In 1984, the food bank became a certified member of the national organization, America’s Second Harvest, which changed its name to Feeding America in 2008. The mission of Second Harvest North Florida is to feed hungry people by soliciting and judiciously distributing food and grocery products and to educate the public about the nature of and solutions to the problems of hunger.
There are two basic components: rescuing surplus food and redistributing it to local nonprofit organizations serving the hungry and providing nutritious meals and healthy snacks to children from low-income families through community-based Kids Cafe sites.
Second Harvest is the link between surplus food and agencies serving children, families, individuals and senior citizens in need. The majority of surplus food would be thrown away without this link. Financial contributions from individuals, businesses, and special events such as the Empty Bowls Luncheon enable Second Harvest to rescue and store donated food for pick up more than 450 nonprofit organizations in 17 counties.
These organizations, which include homeless shelters, senior centers, youth and adult daycare facilities and church pantries, save millions of dollars each year by making use of Second Harvest North Florida. This allows agencies to spend more money on services to individuals in Jacksonville and surrounding areas and meet more than just basic needs.