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Central Florida Food Insecurity

Act Now: How to help Second Harvest feed hope across Central Florida



At any given time in Central Florida, one in eight of our neighbors is faced with not being able to afford enough food for themselves and their family members. In these moments, it’s good to know that a network of 625 community feeding partners supplied with food by Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida is available to help them. Each day, the food bank distributes enough food for 300,000 meals – and still, thousands of kids, seniors, veterans, and hard-working families are at risk of going to bed hungry. 

It takes all of us chipping in every day of the year to feed hope across Orange, Osceola, Brevard, Volusia, Seminole, Lake, and Marion counties. This May, let’s challenge each other to participate in Community Action Month by finding ways to support local hunger relief efforts. Here are some ideas to help you get inspired:

  • Volunteer your time. Volunteers play a vital role in Second Harvest’s mission –and without them, the food bank would have to spend millions of dollars on manpower. Last year, 30,000 volunteers donated nearly 90,000 hours of work. And we anticipate those numbers will grow in 2023. We need about 100 volunteers a day to support operations at our main warehouse, Mercy Kitchen, our three branch facilities, and at mobile distribution events with our feeding partners.
  • Start a virtual food drive. Second Harvest Food Bank’s virtual food drive is a web-based tool that makes it easy for anyone to raise funds to support hunger relief efforts. Organizations can also register to host a virtual food drive and challenge their employees to be involved. And even a small amount of money raised can yield big benefits: The food bank can provide 40 meals for just $10 – meaning every dollar delivers significant purchasing power.
  • Learn more.  Every month, Second Harvest opens its warehouse for “Food for Thought” tours, a behind-the-scenes look at operations. Participants hear stories of neighbors who are experiencing food insecurity and then see firsthand how Second Harvest collects, sorts, and distributes more than a million meals a year. The tours also stop in Second Harvest’s commercial kitchen, where students enrolled in the Culinary Training Program learn valuable life and work skills needed to pursue a career in food service. More than 425 people have graduated from the program since it was founded 10 years ago.
  • Use your voice. Advocacy is a crucial part of hunger relief. As the region’s largest food bank, Second Harvest advocates for programs and policies at all levels of government to provide nutritious meals to Central Floridians experiencing hunger. But the food bank can’t do it alone. Anyone can sign up for Second Harvest’s newsletter, which keeps subscribers informed about the causes and dangers of hunger, policy changes, and potential impact on our community. Advocates can share these insights with their personal and professional networks and/or post reactions to the information on social media.

Whether it’s selecting one of the ideas above or thinking outside the box for something new, your “actions” can make a meaningful impact on the community today, tomorrow, and each day after.

For more information about Second Harvest and how to support local hunger relief efforts, including signing up to volunteer, host a virtual food drive, register for a “Food for Thought” tour, or take the advocacy pledge, visit www.FeedHopeNow.org.

Mindy Ortiz is the Director of Volunteer Services at Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida. 

Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida, Food Insecurity, FeedHopeNow.org, Volunteers


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