October 19, 2017

Childhood Hunger in Lake County

Author: Erika Spence

In Central Florida, one in four children is at risk of going to bed hungry. Sadly, hunger can dramatically impact a student’s ability to perform well in school and affect their interest in engaging with the world around them. Thanks to the National School Lunch Program, many students are able to access free breakfast and lunch during the school week. However, many of these students return to school on Monday with empty stomachs and are unable to concentrate on their lessons.

In 2016, Lake Cares Food Pantry, one of Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida’s feeding partners, took over a weekend backpack program at Triangle Elementary School in Mt. Dora. Many of the families that access its main pantry have students who attend the school, where 86% of the students participate in the National School Lunch Program. Each week, Lake Cares provides 35-40 backpacks filled with peanut butter, jelly, bread, fruit cups, snacks and other non-perishable items. Read More …

September 6, 2017

For Some Kids, Summer is Not a Vacation.

Author: Guest Blogger

For some Central Florida kids and teens and their families, summer is not necessarily a time for vacation. Instead, this season presents several problems for low-income families, especially those who do not qualify for SNAP.

 1. Central Florida is home to 289,348 students that rely on a nutritious breakfast and lunch through the National School Lunch program during the school year.[1] During the summer, families are responsible for an additional $30 in food per week per child.

2. The average cost of childcare is $173 per week per child in Central Florida – and that’s including subsidized options.[2] Summer camps can be too expensive and parents cannot afford to stay home from work. In many cases, elder children are saddled with the responsibility of caring for their younger siblings.

3. Summer means academic learning loss and playing catch-up when school resumes. Without academic engagement at home, students begin to forget and lose skills obtained during the school year.

Summer Food Service Program

Fortunately, the weight of these burdens is alleviated through programs like the Summer Break Spot, a USDA Summer Food Service Program, that empowers community organizations to partner together to diminish the impact of summertime on low-income kids, teens, and families.

Read More …

July 20, 2017

Summer Food 2017 Set to Break Records!

Author: Santos Maldonado

Second Harvest summer feeding sitesOur summer food program is off to a hot start with 93 locations in six counties participating between May 30th and July 7th. In the first week alone, 25,723 breakfasts, lunches and snacks were served.

As of July 7th, the program’s 5th week and halfway point, approximately 125,000 total meals were served to an estimated 3,500 kids.

At the current rate, we will reach our goal of 200,000 meals well before the program ends on August 11th.

Our growth has been dramatic but what’s even more remarkable is the improvement in the quality of meals and the innovative delivery methods we use to cover the large geographic footprint that comprises our service area. Read More …

July 13, 2017

If You Build It, They Will Come!

Author: Guest Blogger

One of our newest summer feeding site partners for the Summer Food Service Program in Central Florida is the W.T. Bland Public Library located in rural Mt. Dora, FL. With a ton of fun reading programs for kids and a neat hang-out space for teens, the library is making strides in minimizing learning loss and youth hunger during the summer.

In support of the library’s efforts, Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida sends a mobile trailer to serve hot meals every day. This means that the library employees complete less paperwork and save space for their reading programs. However, the limited space in the library also meant limited space for the kids to eat. Read More …

June 8, 2017

Summer Feeding Program Kicks Off

Author: Melissa Kear

Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida production kitchenMonday, June 6th started the first day of the food bank’s Summer Feeding Program. This program, hitting its 10th year, works with local partners to feed kids over the summer months, a time when they lose access to the meals that school provided.

To meet the need of thousands of kids, our production kitchen team has been busy producing nearly 9,000 meals a day. These meals support 65 – 70 meal sites this summer, and help feed kids of all ages. Read More …

May 26, 2017

School Is Out and Kids Are Out of Time

Author: Guest Blogger

2017 Summer Hope for Kids Virtual Food Drive Chef John StoryLast summer, a co-worker and I were at the Holden Community Center for an event. The majority of people there were children ranging from elementary to high school. School was starting soon, and they were there with a parent to receive book bags and assorted items for the upcoming school year.

While we sat at our table, a teenaged boy, probably late middle school to high school age, passed by our table. The words that came out of his mouth were unforgettable.

“Thank you,” he said. I was taken off guard with his statement and downplayed my confusion to reply, “You’re very welcome, for…”

The teenaged boy smiled and explained that every day, the Second Harvest Meals for Good food trucks came by his neighborhood to feed him, and he really loved the food. He then thanked me again for what I did for kids like him.

Read More …