five things – hunger in Central Florida

Hunger is an epidemic in America and even if we don't know someone who is personally affect by it, it doesn't mean it's not a huge problem. What's more startling is that childhood hunger is a huge problem, even in my community. Here's a profile of one organization and what they are doing to help.

Second Harvest Food Bank logo

Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida is a private, nonprofit organization that collects and distributes donated food to more than 500 nonprofit partner agencies in six Central Florida counties: Brevard, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Seminole and Volusia.

1. In Central Florida, 47% of the members of households served by Second Harvest Food Bank are children.

That's a staggering percentage…almost half of the members of households supported by Second Harvest are children. Children should not go hungry in this country but yet they do.

Second Harvest helps by helping to providing food & funding to staff Kids Cafe – a program that provides meals to disadvantaged children after the school day is over…so they don't have to skip a meal.

2. Second Harvest's Hi-Five Kids Pack Program helps children get access to food even on the weekends

Through this program, Second Harvest partners with elementary schools that have a high percentage of students in the free or reduced lunch programs. They provide shelf-stable foods to children on Fridays so they have food over the weekend.

Reading this profile of this of a child who receives these kids packs in his backpack every Friday and another child's selfless act is inspiring me to think of ways to help Second Harvest expand this program. This year, the program will hand out more than 50,000 packs at 23 different elementary schools.

3. Food stamps amount to $6.67 a day per person.

Could you eat on $6.67 for an entire day? Often going out to lunch costs more that! Second Harvest is putting together a challenge to Central Florida chefs to see if they can take the challenge and only spend $6.67 on food for one day.

Check out the challenge above to see the restrictions put out for the chefs. Could you do it?

4. Second Harvest accepts donations of fresh produce.

I had no idea until I was doing a little research for this article. I learned about a non-profit in Boston whose sole purpose was to accept surplus and less than perfect produce from restaurants, hospitals, etc. on behalf of food banks. I love that it's also happening right here in Central Florida. Second Harvest says that no donation is too large or small and it's great to hear that fresh produce that might not be used by a large company, restaurant or vendors can be used to help those right in our community.

5. There was a time when my family was on food stamps.

My Mom told me we were on food stamps when I was around 2 years old. There were 4 of us already (there's a total of 6 kids in my family) and my Mom found it hard to get steady work and my biological father wasn't working. We weren't on it for a long time but it was help needed when my family needed it the most.

We're certainly not embarrassed about it and no one should be. I only share this because it's important for people to know that they may know someone who is struggling. You never know what someone is going through, you just never know.

How you can help

donate, volunteer, organize a community food drive (not just around the holidays, food is needed year-round)

Ways you can help support Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida through upcoming events:

Taste of the Nation Orlando, Saturday, August 25, 2012

Hunger Action Month, September

Central Florida Blogger Conference Blogging for Good raffle

Support Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida and other Central Florida non-profits through the Central Florida Blogger Conference Blogging for Good raffle. Look at these awesome prizes and donate to some great causes. And here are the details and rules on the raffle.

Disclosure: I'm participating in the Central Florida Blogger Conference Blogging for Good campaign. There is a chance to win prizes for participating but that's not why I'm participating, I wanted to participate to highlight the good that Second Harvest is doing for the Central Florida community. Visit Blogging for Good for more information on how you can participate.