November 3, 2017

Fresh Produce for Teens

Author: Erika Spence

Sunshine High School is an alternative learning center for teens in grades 9-12 that allows them to complete high school online and receive a diploma, not a GED. Orange County School District partners with the Accelerated Learning Solutions Charter School organization to provide an alternative pathway to achieving a diploma. Many of the enrolled students are interested in a fast-track to graduation, individualized education tracks, or a flexible learning schedule.

When students first arrive at Sunshine, they have already overcome many barriers to achieving their education. This can range from teenage pregnancy to falling through the public education gap. At enrollment, the average reading level of a student is a fourth or fifth-grade reading level. At graduation, the average reading level increases to at least a ninth-grade reading level. However, there are only so many barriers that can be overcome in education.

In addition to their academic barriers, many students have domestic obstacles that they’re facing. At Sunshine, classes are divided into two sessions: morning session and afternoon session. The flexibility is strategic so that students can work and attend classes, which is almost mandatory for most of these students to support their families. Because of the building arrangements, there is no way for the school to provide hot meals and students were unable to participate in the National School Lunch Program.  Read More …

November 3, 2017

If You Give a Teen a Snack…

Author: Guest Blogger

Inspired by the contemporary children’s classic, “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie,” Cheyanna Johnson, Child Hunger Corps Fellow, explores what happens when teenagers have regular access to snacks and meals.

If you give a teen a snack, feelings of hanger and stomach pains go away for a little while.
When those feelings go away, a teen stays in class instead of the nurse or principal’s office.
When a teen stays in class, they don’t fall behind their peers.
When a teen doesn’t feel left behind, school is a lot more fun.
When a teen enjoys school, their attendance improves.

If you give a teen a meal, they won’t focus on their hunger anymore.
When a teen isn’t focused on hunger, they will be focused and attentive in class.
When a teen is focused and attentive in class, they are prepared to learn.
When a teen is prepared to learn, their grades improve.
When a teen has good grades, their opportunities increase. Read More …

November 3, 2017

World Sandwich Day is Here!

Author: Erika Spence

Join Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida in celebrating World Sandwich Day! Subway has partnered with Feeding America on this sandwich holiday to combat hunger in the U.S.! This year, for every customer who buys a sandwich and a 30 oz. drink combo on Nov. 3, Subway will donate a meal to Feeding America – PLUS customers will get a FREE sandwich with their purchase. Be sure to tune in and watch the real-time number count of meals being donated to Feeding America at! Read More …

October 31, 2017

Hurricane Maria Disaster Relief Update

Author: Erika Spence

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: Read More …

October 27, 2017

Second Harvest and Orange County Receive National Achievement Award

Author: Santos Maldonado

Second Harvest and Orange County receive national achievement awardAt a ceremony last Thursday, the National Association of Counties (NACo) recognized the innovative public-private partnership between Second Harvest Food Bank and Orange County Parks and Recreation.

In mid-2015, both parties began work on a long-term strategy to provide daily nutritious meals to children and youth attending twelve after school recreation centers.

Today, eleven new Kids Cafe sites, hosting over 600 kids daily, receive hot, nutritious meals from our production kitchen.

The final county location is scheduled to start by year’s end and will increase the total number of Kids Cafes to 27. Read More …

October 25, 2017

October 2017 Volunteer of the Month: John Buschman, The Rescuer

Author: Erika Spence

John Buschman has worked in hospitality management and academia for decades. As a faculty member at the Chaplin School of Hospitality and Tourism Management at Florida International University (FIU), he got involved with the South Beach Food & Wine Festival as a logistics coordinator. While supervising the vehicles coming and going from the beach he noticed a box truck for Daily Bread Food Bank, now Feeding South Florida. The driver informed him that he was there to pick up excess food to take to a soup kitchen.

Having spent his career in large hotels and tourism, John knew how much extra food is prepared for large events, is never served and is often discarded as waste. John reached out to Feeding South Florida and developed a plan to begin a more complex food rescue effort at the next South Beach Food & Wine Festival, which now generates an average of 25,000 meals for those in need each year. Afterwards, John moved on to other large events and trade shows building on his success. He has worked to educate convention centers, hotels, meeting and event planners and caterers about food rescue, addressing food safety and handling concerns as well as environmental and sustainability issues.

John started making regular trips to the Orlando area to visit and care for an elderly uncle. On one visit he stopped at Second Harvest Food Bank and was thrilled to learn that our operations and volunteer teams also make a concerted effort to rescue food from large events and trade shows.  He shared some of his experiences and expertise with our team and began planning his visits around food rescue events in Orlando. Read More …