A Magical Future for Hunger Relief in Central Florida

It was a morning of great celebration at Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida.  In a very special ceremony outside our loading dock, one of our longest-serving and best corporate partners came by for a look back at our history together, and also brought the Food Bank one step closer to realizing its future vision for the community – by announcing a $500,000 gift and pledging to give us 20,000 pounds of fresh produce during the next year.

For twenty years, Walt Disney World has reached out to help Central Floridians in need through support of the Food Bank’s mission.  The company is one of very few that literally  helps the Food Bank in every manner possible—through incredible food donations, through financial support, and through volunteerism. Disney’s deep and enduring support of hunger relief has directly touched hundreds of thousands of lives in our community over the past two decades. 

Children, seniors, working poor families, homeless, and others have received the vital food assistance they needed because of this generosity.  To help keep that nutritious help going, this morning we learned of a new commitment from Disney to provide an additional 20,000 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables over and above the normal prepared and perishable food donations received daily through their Disney Harvest program. These products are the very food items that low income families cannot afford on their own, and represent added health and vitality for all who will receive them.

But neither the Food Bank or our great partners have the luxury of resting on our laurels when it comes to alleviating hunger in our community. Far too many people still go to bed hungry, and have no idea when or where they’ll next sit down for a nutritious meal. At the same time, and despite record-setting years of food distribution, Second Harvest Food Bank has become very challenged by infrastructure.  

Simply put? We’ve run out of space, but the need continues to grow.  Through the “Building Solutions to Hunger” capital campaign project, the Food Bank will position itself to continue growing into our community’s need for decades to come. It is estimated that more than $1.4 Billion worth of food will move through the planned 100,000 square foot facility on Mercy Drive over the next twenty years.   

To help Second Harvest Food Bank realize this vital future vision, Walt Disney World has committed $500,000 toward the completion of the new facility, which we hope to occupy before the end of 2012. This gift will recognize the contribution of volunteers to our mission, and will dedicate the volunteer work area and volunteer break room areas of the new facility.    The generous support is another step toward the $10 million philanthropic goal of the campaign, and will help set the bar for other caring contributors going forward.

 So … On behalf of a grateful community and the board of directors, volunteers and staff of Second Harvest Food Bank, thank you to Minnie, Mickey, and all our friends at Walt Disney World. It definitely takes some magic now and then to accomplish big steps forward in hunger relief, and we definitely had some of that this morning!  

For more information on the Building Solutions to Hunger capital campaign, please visit www.showmercynow.org   

Video and photos of this morning’s announcement:











Greg Higgerson
Vice-President, Development

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