Recently, Feeding America released their Map the Meal Gap study that reveals the hunger needs in Central Florida. For Second Harvest Food Bank’s six-county service area, we’ll be analyzing each county and what the State of Hunger looks like throughout Central Florida.
The first stop is Osceola County. With a population of 323,993 residents, 10.1% of them are food insecure (approximately 31,650 individuals). Perhaps even more concerning is the number of food insecure children that is one of the highest in the service area with 21.1% (approximately 16,570 children).
Second Harvest has increased its capacity in Osceola through the help of 38 feeding partners. These are organizations, such as other non-profits, places of worship, etc., that handle a food distribution at their site for the community. In FY 2016/17, we distributed enough food for 2,722,383 meals in Osceola with 1,175,015 lbs. coming from fresh produce.
According to Map the Meal Gap, Osceola County has a meal gap of approximately 5,408,300 meals, meaning we’re only covering half of the food insecure population in Osceola. This includes families with children, seniors, individuals with disabilities and veterans.
We’re barely at the tip of the iceberg when it comes to addressing hunger in Osceola. With the help of organizations like UF IFAS Osceola Extension, Congressman Darren Soto’s office, State Rep. John Cortes, the Osceola County Commission and others in the community, we’re taking a harder look at where in Osceola the need is greatest and recruiting additional feeding partners to help find new solutions.
You can receive updates on advocacy efforts each month and identify ways to take action in the fight to end hunger at www.feedhopenow.org/advocacy.