November 16, 2017

New Board Member Spotlight: Peg Cornwell

Author: Erika Spence

Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida is excited to welcome Peg Cornwell to its Board of Directors. Peg moved to Central Florida in 2015 with her husband Grant, the 15th president at Rollins College. She recalls how one first gets immediately caught up in the beautiful weather and the tremendous sense of community and pride that most people in Orlando have for their communities.

Q: How did you first get involved with Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida?

I began to learn about and experience many of the challenges facing our community from research projects in which Rollins students were engaged. This included documentaries in Apopka, projects based on the service and tourism industry, and an economic impact study for Second Harvest Food Bank. These projects helped me understand how the Central Florida economy continues to evolve from being tourism-based, into one that is diversified into many sectors.

Q: Why are you passionate about ending hunger in Central Florida?

Where we moved from in Ohio, I was a volunteer at the Akron-Canton Regional Food Bank and saw how local non-profits relied heavily on their support to feed those in need. While food insecurity was an issue in that community, I didn’t see it up close and personal like I have here in Orlando.   Read More …

November 8, 2017

Let Us Not Forget Our Veterans

Author: Erika Spence

Christina enlisted in the Air Force after high school. She remembers the sense of pride and accomplishment she felt after completing basic training. She went on to serve as a surgery tech in Desert Storm. After returning from war, she became sick and received a medical retirement. Retirement was a blessing because she was so ill, but also an unexpected disruption in her life. Within two weeks, she lost her job, her income and her personal identity.

She didn’t have enough money to support herself. She needed a new game plan and enrolled in college. Christina had to decide between attending school, working and never seeing her kids or attending school and receiving assistance. The military taught her to be self-reliant, so it wasn’t easy to ask for help. Her family moved into public housing and received food from a local food pantry.

To change your life plans that quickly is a big deal,” Christina recalls. “Without the assistance I received, I do not know what I would have done.” 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 …

October 5, 2017

Small Wheels, Big Fun!

Author: Brie Rios

On Sunday, September 24th, our warehouse was completely transformed into an Iron Man race course. With help from our friend Chris Sadowski, a well versed Iron Man himself, we created a half-biking, half-running race course all throughout our facility. Participants of all ages arrived bright and early, ready to race through the food bank! Did I mention that during this event we also had a Family Volunteer Day going on? Family members ages 5 and up joined the fun by sorting fresh produce in our corral and simultaneously cheering on our racers as they went by. Read More …

October 4, 2017

Second Harvest Prepares for Heightened Need

Author: Erika Spence

Today WFTV Channel 9 visited Second Harvest Food Bank to see first hand how we are assembling emergency food boxes and working with partners like Cake Fair to accept food donations, collect funds and identify volunteers to help with the heightened community need in the wake of recent hurricanes.

Find ways to help or where to access emergency food assistance at feedhopenow.org/disaster.

September 27, 2017

September 2017 Volunteer of the Month: OCPS Transition Services Students

Author: Erika Spence

Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida is proud to recognize the six students in residence with us from Orange County Public Schools ESE Transition Services. These adult students (ages 18 – 22) are developing important job skills, including communication, teamwork and confidence. Since August 14, Shaquan, Mike, Eric, Michael, Odai and Brian have become familiar faces around the food bank as they rotate through the production kitchen, warehouse and food sorting areas.

The students are a joyful bunch, willing to help with whatever the task at hand may be.  Read More …