April 23, 2015

With a little help from our friends

Author: Maria Diestro

Thank you for volunteering!Did you know that April is National Volunteer Month?

Since January of this year we’ve had 8,000 volunteers at Second Harvest complete 25,000 hours. We’d like to thank all these individuals for taking the time to take action to help fight hunger in Central Florida. You are incredible and we couldn’t do our important work without your help.

If you are interested in volunteering just head over here to sign up for a future shiftRead More …



April 22, 2015

Community comes together for Class 7 Graduation

Author: Dave Krepcho

Daniel Webster speaks with class 7 graduatesThis past week, we graduated Class 7 of our Culinary Training Program. The Darden Community Kitchen continues to provide life-changing opportunities to people who may need that second chance in life. In fact, we have placed 100% of our graduates into jobs at graduation.

This past graduation was lucky enough to have three great guest speakers. Congressman Daniel Webster joined us as a special guest and shared that reading every day can make a huge difference in both knowledge and outlook on life, while, Pam Nabors, CEO of Career Source delivered the commencement message and emphasized the almost unlimited opportunities that await our graduates in Central Florida’s booming food service industry.

One of the most touching speeches came from former graduate Maria Andersen, who shared her personal testimony, and described how her experience in our Culinary Training Program led to great job opportunities, and inspired her to continue her education even  further by enrolling into college for an advanced level of training. Read More …



April 20, 2015

Map the Meal Gap 2015

Author: Maria Diestro

Map the Meal 2015Last week, Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger relief organization, released a new study, Map the Meal Gap 2015, which finds that food insecurity exists in every county and congressional district in the nation.

The study shows that even the most affluent counties still have over a 10% rate of children that are food insecure.

Some interesting findings from this year: Read More …



April 7, 2015

Partner Spotlight: St. Vincent de Paul – Our Lady of Lourdes

Author: Bob Thomas

Our Ladies of LourdeThis food program began in December of 1996 and is still active and growing to this day. Their mission statement is, “To serve the client on a person-to-person basis to provide help, while maintaining the confidentiality and dignity of those they serve.”

In addition to providing food for the less fortunate in our community, Our Lady of Lourdes also distributes pet food, personal hygiene products and offers SNAP signup assistance.

Households can receive assistance weekly, and home delivery is available if needed. Joanne Mazzarelli became Pantry Manager in 2008 and has been instrumental in the development of new programs within the pantry.  With the help of 43 active volunteers, they reach out to approximately 500 people per week with the food pantry, as well as approximately 150 meals that are distributed on Friday mornings. Our Lady of Lourdes is also busy with a monthly breakfast as well as Holiday Brunches for Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter for the public at no cost. Read More …



April 7, 2015

Meet Chef Terah

Author: Maria Ali Conley, RD, LD/N

Meet Chef TerahAnother talented staff member has joined the Second Harvest team! Chef Terah joined the Nutrition team in February and she’s been busy cooking some great things up.

Read on to learn more about Chef Terah and the new opportunities she’s sharing with agencies.

Hi Chef Terah. What type of work are you doing with the nutrition program?

I’ve taken on the Nutrition Educator position and I’m so excited! I’m interested in working with agencies that would like to spread the message of healthy eating to their clients. One way to do this is by showing clients how to make healthy meals with pantry items.

When an agency is distributing food, I can set-up a station and show clients how to prepare food that is being distributed that day. For example, if potatoes are being distributed, I can show clients how to cook those potatoes in healthy ways. They can taste the potatoes I cook, and take the recipe to try at home themselves. Read More …



April 6, 2015

Stories of Hope and Courage: Hector’s Story

Author: Maria Diestro

Hector's Story

When I met Hector, he was feeling hopeless. A vet of the Air Force, Hector worked in the civil service industry for over 25 years, until a back injury started to deteriorate his health. Known for his kind heart and eagerness to help others, Hector provided support to both his parents and siblings, until recently, when his condition worsened, and affected his ability to continue working. Read More …