Early on the bright and crisp morning of Saturday, December 17th, three large Second Harvest trucks filled with 52,464 pounds of emergency food boxes and fresh produce got ready to roll toward six Orange County public schools. Second Harvest staff and management gathered in the parking lot to work out last minute details. Dave Krepcho, Second Harvest President and CEO, was first to rumble out of the lot and toward Hungerford Elementary School.
At the schools, families of students were already lined up in anticipation, as enthusiastic volunteers prepared for an orderly distribution. The energetic volunteers, young, old and in between, had been recruited and organized by Orange County Public Schools Food and Nutrition Services. They worked like a finely tuned orchestra, handling every surprise with patience, smiles and lots of laughs.
At East River High School, a seemingly endless line of vehicles stretched off into the distance. Volunteers quickly began filling trunks and backseats with food boxes. A couple pulled up on a motorcycle. They left with saddlebags brimming.
At Cheney Elementary the turnout was even more dramatic. By then, the local media had reported the event and many families on foot were patiently waiting as we pulled in. Youngsters helped carry boxes to parked cars while others filled bags with fresh produce. Smiling faces and expressions of gratitude made an already sunny day that much brighter.
Similar scenes played out at Evans High, Ivey Lane Elementary and Glenridge Middle Schools. Nearly 1,400 families worried less about having food to eat during the two week break from school when children lack access to school cafeterias.
This has been our largest Holiday Food Drop to-date and it was all done within the space of four hours.
Thanks to our partners, the Winter Park Health Foundation and Orange County Public Schools’ Food and Nutrition Services, as well as to the volunteers who helped make the face-to-face link between our work and the community at large.
Photos from the day:
Childhood Hunger Programs Manager