July 18, 2014

Summer of Dreams 2014

Author: Santos Maldonado

53rd Bank Summer of Dreams 2014 volunteersSummer of Dreams is a free, 10-week program for homeless children in Orange, Seminole and Osceola counties providing much needed resources and activities while school is out.

Founded by Fifth Third Bank in 2011, it addresses the needs of youngsters who might otherwise fall through the cracks.

Second Harvest Food Bank is pleased to partner with the City of Orlando for the fourth consecutive year; making available close to 80,000 pounds of kid-friendly food since the program’s initial launch.

According to school officials in Orange, Seminole and Osceola counties, an estimated 11,000 children are considered homeless.This population is difficult to quantify and even harder to reach.

Kids are often the unseen victims, particularly in Florida, which has some of the worst displacement rates in the country, ranking near the bottom in child homelessness. (38th).† Read More …

July 15, 2014

CHOP: The Choosing Healthy Options Program

Author: Jomy Leon-Rivera


The Choosing Healthy Options Program (CHOP) is an inventory ranking system that simplifies nutrition. CHOP helps food banks and their partners acquire, distribute and promote healthier food. CHOP is a tool that helps us fight hunger, feed hope and fuel health in our community.

CHOP uses the Nutrition Facts Label and ingredient list to analyze and rank food, comparatively. Foods are organized into categories and ranked among other similar foods. For example, vegetables are ranked among other vegetables. Beverages are ranked among other beverages. Snacks & desserts are ranked among other snacks & desserts, and so on.

Foods will receive a ranking of 1 (choose frequently), 2 (choose occasionally), 3 (choose sparingly) or MC (minimal contribution). Items with more saturated fat, trans fat, sodium, cholesterol, and added sugar rank closer to a 3. Items with more fiber, vitamins, and minerals rank closer to a 1. These rankings are a simple way agencies can select the most nutritious items in our warehouse to distribute to their clients.

Below are a few examples of items in our warehouse with their ranking.

Read More …

July 10, 2014

Summer Food Program, Sanford

Author: Santos Maldonado

The Seminole Gardens Apartment complex is made up of one hundred and eight units tucked away in a pocket of poverty a mere twenty-five minute walk  from the Palm Island Resort Marina on upscale Sanford Riverwalk.

Day to day life for residents of the “Gardens”, a small community living in cinder block buildings surrounded by open areas, ironically devoid of foliage, is difficult at best and harshest during the long summers when children have little to do while school is out.

The Summer Food Service Program provides meals to children in low income areas such as Seminole Gardens, yet the nearest feeding station is over a mile away, too far to reach under the scorching sun.

The “Gardens” has been trying in vain for two years to participate in the program according to Shayon Washington. Since last February, Second Harvest Food Bank has been working with area volunteers and churches to find a way to transport food directly to this community. Read More …

July 2, 2014

2014 David Pearlman Spirit of Volunteerism Award

Author: Dave Krepcho

For those of you who have been around Second Harvest Food Bank for a number of years, you may have known one of our organization’s pioneers…Dave Pearlman.  Dave Pearlman was the founder and owner of a little furniture company here in Orlando called Kane’s Furniture.  Maybe you’ve heard of it?  Not so little anymore, for sure.

There have been few people, if any, more passionate about reducing food waste and feeding people in need than Dave Pearlman.  He was a man who got up before dawn to drive his trailer around to the back doors of restaurants each day collecting whatever they had available, and delivering it to feeding programs.  He served on the Second Harvest Board of Directors for many years, and the food pantry program at Jewish Family Services in Orlando bears his name.  Though Dave is no longer with us, he left a legacy of involvement, action, and hope.  He proved the impact that one individual can have on a serious problem.

Today I have the pleasure and honor of recognizing another such individual.  Someone who has gone above and beyond for our neighbors.  Someone who is driven to action by the thought of a child going hungry, or a family in need.  Someone who is determined to bring together the resources that can help a community take care of its own.   Read More …

June 25, 2014

Safe Food Handling Class In Spanish

Author: Jomy Leon-Rivera

IMG_3025Last week Patricia Suarez taught The safe food handling Class in spanish for our feeding partners. It is a requirement for all of our partnerships to obtain a certificate in safe food handling. This year, we were fortunate enough to offer the class in both English and Spanish. The safe food handling class teaches our partner agencies everything from preventing food contamination, how to safely prepare food and store food, how to understand dating on food labels and more!

We encourage our partners to take the information they learn in class back to their agencies to share with staff and clients, and even to put into practice at home.

Read More …

June 24, 2014

Escalades and enabling the hungry: My Word

Author: Dave Krepcho

Recently, I observed a charitable food distribution in Central Florida. A Cadillac Escalade (yes, the classic story you hear of the welfare queen) drove up to receive food. Admittedly, I went into stereotype mode, thinking, “Why is this lady taking food?” I felt immediate anger. This is exactly what many people are talking about.

A site volunteer went to the car window and the driver explained, “I brought Agnes, a member of my church, because I’ve driven by before and observed what you do. Agnes is elderly, her husband is disabled and they don’t have a car and need food.”

We can be in such a rush to judge others — we simply don’t take time to even consider what’s really happening. With today’s polarizing news debates, we’ve created a culture of alienation. It’s toxic.

It’s commonly debated — whether charitable food distribution is enabling people versus not judging those in need and providing them with food. It’s polarizing and shouldn’t happen. I encourage Central Floridians to consider the word “enabling” in a different way. For example, are we enabling senior citizens when we feed them and free up money to buy much-needed medication? Are we enabling children who are in circumstances beyond their control? Are we enabling full-time workers who can barely pay the rent? Are we enabling the unemployed from the recent economic downturn, folks who can’t find a job even close to what they had before?

Read More …