October 17, 2017

A Focus on Healthy Pantries

Author: Guest Blogger

Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida has been working hard to contribute to the Central Florida community’s health and wellness. Because food insecurity is one of the leading factors contributing to chronic disease and illness among people who are low income and living in poverty, Second Harvest created the Healthy Pantry Network Coordinator position through a West Orange Healthcare District grant.  While the focus of the grant is on feeding partners within the footprint of the West Orange Health District, all of our agency partners are able and encouraged to contact me for information and guidance to improve the health status of their pantry.

Already St. Andrews Catholic Church has been working closely with me to implement as many health upgrades to their pantry as possible. They’ve been extremely receptive and interested in the nutrition information for their client’s food bags and we’ve been able to communicate about healthier foods for their homeless population too. In addition, they invited UF/IFAS Extension’s Family and Nutrition Program to come out to a food distribution event to provide nutrition education to their clients.

I look forward to being a resource for our partners on health and wellness initiatives.

– Rachel Stankiewitch

October 16, 2017

Agency Spotlight: Mission Market Promotes Healthier Eating for Their Clients

Author: Agency Relations

Catholic Charities Food Pantry, one of Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida’s feeding partners, has undergone a makeover. When clients enter the food pantry at Catholic Charities, commonly referred to now as Mission Market, they are suddenly immersed into the bustling streets of a farmer’s market.

The new pantry promotes client choice, with fresh produce displayed in a warm and inviting way, showcasing all the colors of a rainbow. Clients can walk through the doors and see to their right hefty amounts of produce abundantly displayed, and to their left a tall shelf full of various grains. Health and nutrition education material, available in English and Spanish, are also on display.

This new pantry model promotes health and wellness for the clients served at Catholic Charities. Vision and support from Senior Director of Operations, Julie Yetter, and the tireless energy of their Food and Facilities Ministry Manager, John Bonfiglio, have made this transition not just possible, but successful. Read More …

September 25, 2017

Hurricane Relief Freshens Rosemont Elementary School Community

Author: Guest Blogger

The power outage affecting communities across Central Florida, including the Rosemont Elementary area, was resolved thanks to the hardworking linemen seeking to restore power following Hurricane Irma.

As a result of this prolonged outage, many families lost their perishable grocery items. However, not everyone will be able to replace the food that they lost during the outage. Neighbors surviving paycheck to paycheck may not have the budget to replace the items lost forcing them to resort to cheaper, less healthy options.

Rosemont Elementary is a Title I school where students receive free breakfast and lunch throughout the school year. The school is also a new partner of Second Harvest Food Bank’s School Market program. As part of the School Market program, the school participates in a Fresh Market, which provides fresh produce to its families during school events, like last week’s Open House.

Principal, Kelly Maldonado, and the Program Coordinator for Parent and Family Engagement, Shirley Williams, have been key partners in developing the School Market program at Rosemont Elementary. Following Hurricane Irma, Williams received reports from families visiting the school about the struggles and issues they were facing in the aftermath – a major problem being groceries and the finances to purchase them.  Read More …

August 7, 2017

The Fresh Games: Playing With Your Food Is More Than A Mess

Author: Guest Blogger

Summer Feeding volunteersIn honor of National Fresh Fruits and Vegetables month in June, Second Harvest Food Bank hosted the 1st Annual Fresh Games for our Summer Food Service Program (SFSP).

With the help of 8, 12-year-old volunteers, we visited 9 summer food sites to play with our food. As a bonus to the planned activities, each site received fresh fruits and vegetables for the kids to sample. Over the course of the Fresh Games, nearly 316 kids (plus 8 volunteers) were exposed to healthy and fresh fruits and vegetables.

Each activity brought a fun, new experience for the kids at each site and for the volunteers too! Our first activity: Fruit Bingo.

Each child was given a bingo card that had various fruits and vegetables on it. To make the game more hands-on, they were given grapes as markers for their board. If you won a bingo, you got to make your own smoothie out of the following ingredients: spinach, kale, strawberries, bananas, watermelon, blueberries, blackberries, and apples. Read More …

March 9, 2016


Author: Guest Blogger

National Nutrtition Month 2016 Crunched for TimeIn this day and age, time is of the essence.

Kids are getting home from school later than usual. There is sports practice, and lots of homework. On top of their schedule, you may be working nights, long days, and feeling tired and overwhelmed from all that life brings.

Convenience stores and fast food restaurants are on every corner, with a wait time of less than 5 minutes. It’s tempting to give into the convenience. However, there is a bigger price to pay for convenience, and that is your health.

Most convenience foods are loaded with salt, sugar, saturated fat, trans fat, and preservatives. These types of foods can lack nutrients, and eating them too often can lead to diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.

If you find yourself crunched for time, try these tips to avoid relying on convenience foods. Read More …