JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Second Harvest North Florida has a new tool in the battle against hunger, thanks to a generous donation by Winn-Dixie Stores. The Jacksonville-based grocer donated a 50-foot refrigerated semi-trailer on Wednesday, Sept. 5. The trailer was loaded with approximately 13,000 pounds of food to help restock the food bank’s warehouse, which is experiencing a depleted inventory as the summer months wane.
“Winn-Dixie is in the food business, so it’s only natural that we’re eager to partner with Second Harvest to address what, to many, is an invisible problem,” said Randy Rambo, Winn-Dixie regional vice president. “When we learned about Second Harvest’s need, we knew what had to be done in the short- and long-term.”
The food donated today by Winn-Dixie will be put to immediate use through Second Harvest’s Mobile Pantry and its BackPack programs. The specially-wrapped trailer will act as a rolling billboard to educate the public about the region’s hunger problem while transporting food to senior centers, soup kitchens, youth and adult daycare facilities, homeless shelters, church food pantries and feeding programs for school children.
“This is a real godsend,” said Bruce Ganger, Executive Director of Second Harvest North Florida. “We are the link between surplus food and local nonprofits serving people in need. We have seen demand nearly quadruple in the past four years and we can’t serve the need without a trailer like this.”
In addition, the tractor that will pull the new trailer was recently given a facelift courtesy of a $2,500 gift from Seabest.
In 2008, Second Harvest distributed 7.6 million pounds of food. In 2009, that increased to 11 million pounds. The need continued to grow to 19.3 million pounds in 2010 and 20.1 million pounds in 2011. Ganger said that in 2012, Second Harvest will distribute 24 million pounds of food – equivalent to 20 million meals.
Ganger hopes today’s donation will encourage other companies and individuals to donate food or funding to Second Harvest. He said that a $1 donation provides seven meals – a lifeline for the working poor with nowhere else to turn. Many of the families the food bank serves make too much money to qualify for federal benefits but too little to make ends meet.
Three-and-a-half years ago, Winn-Dixie launched its food recovery program with Second Harvest North Florida. Pre-packaged foods from the grocer’s in-store bakeries and delis, produce, and meat and seafood departments that had previously been discarded on their “sell by” dates are now donated to the food bank. The program was expanded company-wide later that year and has been replicated by other grocers.
About Second Harvest North Florida
The mission of Second Harvest North Florida is to distribute food and grocery products to hungry people and to educate the public about the causes and possible solutions to problems of domestic hunger. Second Harvest serves nonprofit agencies in the following 17 counties: Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Clay, Columbia, Dixie, Duval, Flagler, Gilchrist, Hamilton, Lafayette, Levy, Nassau, Putnam, St. Johns, Suwannee and Union. To learn more or donate, go to www.WeNourishHope.org.
Winn-Dixie is a subsidiary of BI-LO Holding, which is the ninth-largest traditional supermarket chain in the United States. Under the banner names of BI-LO and Winn-Dixie, the company employs 63,000 team members who serve customers in 687 grocery stores and 493 in-store pharmacies throughout the eight southeastern states of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. BI-LO and Winn-Dixie are well-known and well-respected regional brands with deep heritages, strong neighborhood ties, proud histories of giving back, talented and loyal team members, and strong commitments to providing the best possible quality and value to customers. For more information, please visit www.bi-lo.com and www.winn-dixie.com.