When JackieJovi blogged last December about the hunger statistics here in our community of Central Florida, it really weighed heavy on my heart. I always live my life with the thought that anything can happen to me, and we all never know when we might be in need of assistance from others or from the government or from a food pantry. That’s why I try my hardest to give when I can. Every Christmas, I adopt several families. My family has agreed in the past few years to stop spending so much money on each other. So my extra money at the holiday season goes to children who might not be getting anything from Santa. (And please know I’m not saying all of this to win brownie points)
I’ve been thinking about doing something to help out the concerning hunger problem in Florida for some time now, and I finally started.
Did you know that approximately 1 in 5 people in Central Florida (that’s 732,000 people) needed food assistance last year?
Did you also know that there’s a non-profit right here in Orlando that helps 55,000 people every single week?
Forty-seven percent of those people are children.
Did you know that food stamps for one person amount to $6.67 each day. Could you live off of $6.67 each day?
Let’s meet Little Kate. She’ll help us understand the problem a little better.
Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida delivered 33 million pounds of groceries last year to families in need right here in my community. At Second Harvest, for every $1 donated, up to $9 worth of grocery product is provided to those in need, and 96% of every dollar goes straight to feeding people. (source: Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida)
When I discovered that so many children in Central Florida are going hungry, it made me think of my 11-year old nephew. Not that he’s going hungry by any means, but I could only think “what if?” What if my nephew was one of those children going to bed hungry every night. It’s absolutely heartbreaking.
When I discovered the “Blogging for Good” program (brought to us by a sponsorship from Rollins Philanthropy & Nonprofit Leadership Center) involved with the Central Florida Blogger Conference, I knew this was a sign that I needed to get my butt in gear and give back to my community.
“Blogging for Good” is bringing 250 of the area’s bloggers together to make a difference in our area, and I couldn’t be more excited to be a part of it.
Second Harvest was chosen as one of the participating non-profits, so I checked out their volunteer opportunities on their website and signed up to volunteer to sort food last night.
I actually arrived a little late due to an accident on I-4, but they gathered the volunteers in one room to watch a brief video.
The food bank receives food from a variety of stores and individuals. Oftentimes, the stores will send damaged goods to the food bank, and most of them can be passed along to families in need if there’s nothing wrong or hazardous with the food.
Once we were trained on what to keep and what to throw away, we were off to the sorting area.
We sorted the items into boxes labeled for snacks, beverages, dry items, bottled items, canned goods, baby items, pet items, and cleaning products. In just 2 short hours, we had sorted enough groceries to fill probably 200 boxes.
Look how much is still left to be sorted! Well, I’m only assuming there’s food in those boxes.
It was an easy enough job to sort the food, and if we all pitch in, we can create a hunger-free Central Florida.
Many people you might know might be struggling but putting up a facade that everything’s okay. They might have lost their jobs, and there might not be enough money to put food in the fridge. They need our help. Your help.
Ways you can help in Orlando (if you’re interested… no pressure!):
1. Volunteer at Second Harvest
2. You can attend Taste of the Nation. 100% of Taste of the Nation ticket sales benefit Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida, Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida, Florida Impact and Share Our Strength’s efforts to end childhood hunger. At this event, you will sample decadent samples of food from this area’s leading and most popular restaurants.
3. You can enter to win a raffle for a prize basket. Each raffle ticket is only $10. Each participating non-profit has put together a gift basket, and Second Harvest’s includes:
-3 day/2 night stay in a 2-bedroom villa at any Westgate Resort (excluding Westgate south beach)
-25 gift card for Elephant Bar
-2 GA Wine Women & Shoes Tickets (we don’t have our date set yet for next year.. working on a venue this month)
-Pair of stemless wine glasses (with second harvest and Wine Women & Shoes logo)
-Second Harvest Food Bank T-shirt
4. Raid your pantry, stock up on BOGO deals, and donate directly to Second Harvest. Donations can be dropped off at the Food Rescue Center located at 3533 Mercy Drive, Orlando, FL 32808 typically Tuesday through Friday between 8 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Hey, Orlando bloggers, how would you feel about substituting one of our monthly meet-ups for a night volunteering at Second Harvest?
After volunteering at Second Harvest, I can guarantee you I will be back as often as I can. And now my wheels are turning with ideas about other volunteering opportunities. Who is up for volunteering at the Central Florida SPCA with me?!
If you’re not in the Orlando area and want to help your area, leave me a note in the comments about what you’re doing. I love reading about how people are helping others.