Hurricane Maria Disaster Relief Update

Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida continues to provide immediate food assistance to evacuees from Puerto Rico. The emergency food boxes are available to those arriving at Orlando International Airport and include several items to provide immediate relief, including water, shelf stable milk, Ready-to-Eat Meals, snack bars, crackers and peanut butter and jelly. Individuals are also given a voucher for a larger disaster relief box that can be obtained at strategic food pantries across Central Florida.

Here are two reports from the field as local feeding partners respond to the hundreds of evacuees arriving from Puerto Rico:

A husband and wife arrived at St. Cloud Community Pantry with their voucher from the airport. They explained that Hurricane Maria had devastated their community and they came to Florida seeking employment so they could begin to rebuild their lives. She is a teacher and was thrilled to have the opportunity to submit an application for local school districts at the airport upon their arrival. Her husband is an engineer. Before stopping at the pantry, they had already been to the library to print resumes to deliver to firms that afternoon in downtown Orlando. They were most grateful for the assistance, a “band-aid” they called it, while they get back on their feet.

One afternoon a car with five adults arrived at St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church. They each had a voucher for a disaster relief box and explained that their families (17 people total, including adults and children) are living in one house in Poinciana. Many families from Puerto Rico are banding together as a small village to help survive day-to-day and care for their children while other members of the village seek employment. Some families represent only the mother and children so the men could stay behind and protect what is left of their homes and belongings.



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