As the school year comes to an end, the kitchens at Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida begin to shift into overdrive. Many children depend on free and reduced breakfast and lunch at school to provide them with nutritious meals and oftentimes go hungry during summer. Luckily, Second Harvest has many summer feeding programs to prevent this.
Chef John Dizon explained exactly how Second Harvest Summer Food Service Program is able to make over 6,000 meals in 3 hours. “We use what’s called a one-piece flow, everyone has exactly one task to do.” It sounds simple but it is amazing to watch in action. Each volunteer plays a different role in the process from counting trays to portion control, and when they all come together, they create an efficient, well-oiled machine.
But the kitchen crew doesn’t only focus on speed, they also care about nutrition. Each meal is required to have vegetables, fruit, dairy and a protein, as well as hit a certain amount of calories throughout the week. Today, Taco Salad was on the menu, made with fresh lettuce and tomatoes, corn, seasoned ground beef, and served with tortilla chips.
By far the biggest reward of the program for Chef John is the gratitude expressed by the children.
“I was at a Parks and Rec. Center recruiting for the Culinary Training Program when a young man came up to me and just said ‘thank you’. I was confused at first, but then he said, ‘Your food truck fed me and my family for the whole summer, the food was delicious and I enjoyed every minute of it.’
“This kid really touched my heart, it made my whole day and I realized what a positive impact I had on the community.”
The secret ingredient to the summer feeding program is our volunteers and donors. By giving up your time and money you make all of this possible, and together we are a force for good in our community.
Three ways to make a difference this summer
- Volunteer. Sign up to help prepare meals for kids in the production kitchen, or sort food donations in our warehouse.
- Start a Virtual Food Drive. Hosting a virtual food drive is an easy way to engage friends, family and coworkers in a group effort to support the Summer Hope for Kids campaign.
- Donate Funds. For every $10 dollar donated, Second Harvest is able to provide 40 meals for kids and families in need.