As the number of our neighbors who need help with food continues to remain at historic levels, it is essential that our community continue working to close the gap between the amount of food needed, and the amount available. The good news is that there is no shortage of ‘extra’ food resources in our society. That’s not the problem. The main challenges faced in our work today lie in creating adequate infrastructure to take more full advantage of the bountiful food that exists in Florida, and throughout our country.
We’re extremely proud of the growth and community impact that our current facility has made possible over the past sixteen years, but very mindful of the limitations of capacity that now exist. Sadly, nearly four million pounds of wholesome, nutritious food products are having to be turned away each year due to lack of adequate facilities.
The vision of the “Building Solutions to Hunger” capital campaign involves elevating the future of hunger relief in Central Florida to a whole new level. Just as the additional capacity sixteen years ago allowed our organization to move from distributing six million pounds per year to today’s rate of 33 million pounds per year, the new 100,000 square foot facility will allow for a similar quantum leap forward in service delivery to the community.
The Morgan & Morgan P.A. Hunger Relief Center at Second Harvest Food Bank is expected to return more than $1.4 Billion in food value for struggling individuals and families over the next two decades. The new facility will be located at the corner of Mercy Drive and Old Winter Garden Road in Orlando.
The $15 million campaign to create the new facility started in the closing months of 2010, and to date has garnered commitments for 67% of the needed funds to make this new vision of hunger relief a reality. Because Second Harvest Food Bank is committed to the idea of not carrying any long-term debt or mortgage, however, we have committed ourselves to raising at least 80% of the needed funds before we will break ground on the project.
Clearly, we need more funds (and quickly) in order to begin construction. It is hoped that an additional $2 million in support can be received in the next 90 days in order to reach the important milestone of 80% funding. Our work must begin on schedule and without delay in order to maintain the momentum we need to get the project completed. Once finished in late 2012, additional food resources will begin flowing immediately to our 500 partner agencies in six counties. More children, seniors, homeless, and working poor families than ever before will receive the resources they need to live and to thrive.
Our deepest gratitude goes out to the visionary contributors who have lent their passion and support to this important project so far: Morgan & Morgan, P.A., Darden Restaurants, Walt Disney World, Dr. Phillips Charities, Baker Barrios Architects, CNL, the Morgridge Family Foundation, BHM Architects, JP Morgan Chase Bank, Bank of America, the Second Harvest Food Bank board of directors, Publix Supermarkets, Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation, the Golf Channel, Brasfield & Gorrie, Florida Hospital/Adventist Health Systems, and many others.
Your help is needed today. For more information on the Building Solutions to Hunger project and to learn how you can get involved and make a lasting difference, please visit http://www.ShowMercyNow.org. Significant naming/dedication opportunities remain available at this time, and gifts of any amount toward the vision of future hunger relief in Central Florida are greatly appreciated.
Greg Higgerson, CFRE