With more families in need of assistance due to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida and Orange County Public Schools (OCPS) helped ease the burden of hunger for families this holiday season. The 12th annual holiday food distribution event provided 2,600 families with food at nine different schools across Orange County.
Volunteers spread out around bus loops and school parking lots at nine different locations across Orange County to help load food into the trunk of each car in line. Each family received a turkey and a fresh produce box filled with sweet potatoes, eggplant, onions and tomatoes. A bag of pantry essentials like rice, beans, canned meat, pasta and sauce helped provide items to build complete meals. In all, enough food was distributed to provide 98,770 meals in just a matter of hours.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, one in seven area residents, and one in five children, are at greater risk of experiencing hunger. As students head home for the two-week winter break, they leave behind the worries of homework and exams, but also their free, school-provided meals, making the need for food even more urgent during the holiday season.
“I worry and dread the holiday break because of how tight our budget is,” explained Paula, a single mother from Apopka. The food she received at the distribution relieved her stress and anxiety. Her whole outlook for the next two weeks changed with a trunk full of groceries to take home.
For nearly two hours, cars snaked through school parking lots. Grateful families waved through the windows, smiled, and said thank you to the volunteers. Recipients called their neighbors to encourage them to come by and get food. The teens helping load food into cars were proud of their ability to help their community and their families. Each student was able to take food home to their family too.
Thank you for spreading hope and cheer in the form of meals this holiday season.
1 in 5 Central Florida kids is experiencing hunger this holiday season.
Your $10 gift can provide 40 meals and hope.