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 …

April 19, 2017

Our Kids Cafe Story

Author: Santos Maldonado

Our organization quickly embraced America’s Second Harvest’s (what is now Feeding America) Kids Cafe Program soon after it was conceived in 1993. Since then, over 60 different locations in four counties have benefited from this prepared meal program.

  • Since 1993, over 2.2 million meals have been served.
  • 33% of those in the last 3 years.
  • From inception to 2015, prepared meals were purchased from an external vendor.
  • In October of 2015, our production kitchen began delivering cold meals.
  • In February of 2016, we partnered with Orange County Parks & Recreation to provide meals to their 12 after school centers!
  • In August of 2016, our kitchen began serving hot meals.
  • Last December, we opened up our first Kids Cafe in Brevard County.
  • Just last month, we opened up our second Brevard Kids Cafe.
  • Today, we serve over 1,400 kids each day at 27 different locations in 4 counties.View a Map of current sites.

Read More …

September 1, 2016

Summer Food Rocks…And Rolls!

Author: Santos Maldonado

Summer Feeding SitesOur Summer Food Program for Children has never experienced such maneuverable mobility! We accelerated our pace by serving almost 175,000 freshly prepared breakfasts, hot lunches and snacks to youngsters in underserved areas who were on school vacation. All that in a mere 46 days!

Approximately 94 different locations in 5 counties went on a healthy nutritional ride, finally dashing across the finish line on Friday, August 12. On Monday, the kids were once again able to get their free school cafeteria lunches. This program “track” results in a “seamless” nutritional experience whereby the last turn is deftly handled, putting us in full control of the wheel as we throttle up our Kids Cafe Afterschool Meal Program that runs through next June. Read More …

July 21, 2016

My Virtual Food Drive Experience

Author: Melissa Kear

vfdOver the past four years, I have had the chance to meet and get to know some pretty great people through our Virtual Food Drive. For them, this tool is an easy and interactive way to raise money toward ending hunger in their community, provides a great representation of how far their monetary donations can really go, and fun to use.

At Second Harvest Food Bank, we are able to turn any $1 donation into $9 in grocery value. The food bank’s incredibly efficient distribution model gives every dollar donated exponentially more power over what you could buy in a store, giving even the smallest donation an impact on hunger. The virtual food drive shopping cart helps provide an illustrative representation of this. For example, a $7 donation has the potential to provide 288 tomatoes, or a $12 donation to provide 45 pounds of cheese!  Read More …