This past Saturday we partnered with Orange County Public Schools and the Winter Park Health Foundation to provide food to families this holiday season. The two week break from school can be especially difficult to children who rely on the free and reduced school lunch program. With this in mind, we gathered a team of volunteers, 22,000 lbs of food and marketed the weekend food distribution to children participating in our Hi-Five program at eight of the schools located near our two distribution sites.
When I arrived at Cheney Elementary on Saturday, there were already some families there over an hour and a half earlier than our scheduled starting time. We had 10 palettes of potatoes, oranges, bread , pastries, and pantry boxes filled with 14 common items like peanut butter and tuna. As the morning went on, we ended up distributing food to 450 families at Cheney and Hungerford Elementary.
A couple of the stories stood out to me that demonstrated how our community comes together in times of need. Two mothers whose families received food that morning returned to our site to volunteer the rest of the day. Another mother, who had no transportation, walked for two hours to get to our site. She was willing to physically carry all of the food back home. Thankfully, another volunteer loaded up her groceries and drove her home.
A father and son rode to our site on bicycles and a pair of volunteers tried their best to safely load the bicycles with any food that they could carry. When another recipient family saw this they offered to take the father and son, bicycles, and food back home.
While we know it isn’t enough food for two entire weeks in meals it was enough to make an immediate difference in these families’ lives. It was a great way to come together as a community and fight hunger in Central Florida.
Director of Agency Relations & Programs