Hunger doesn’t take a summer break. Neither does Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida and its network of 550 feeding partners. As the financial impact of the pandemic lingers, thousands of local families continue to face the daunting reality of hunger.
One lifeline during the pandemic are the seven-day boxes assembled at Mercy Kitchen. Each box contains enough food for seven breakfasts or seven lunches that are easy to prepare or require no preparation at all. Breakfast items include shelf-stable milk, cereal, fresh fruit, and granola bars. Lunch items vary from peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with apple slices to whole wheat burritos and carrot sticks.
“We have lunch on one side and breakfast on the other, so we can give out sets,” explains Eric Wilson, executive director of Hearts Hands and Hope, a Second Harvest feeding partner in Seminole County. “Each child gets a week’s worth of breakfasts and a week’s worth of lunches.”
These boxes are filling a big gap for people like Lily.
“I care for four grandkids and four great nephews, and they like to eat,” says Lily.
Her house is bustling with activity after school and in the summer months while their parents work multiple jobs or try to turn side hustles into thriving businesses.
“The kids want bicycles, but we need food,” she says. “These boxes help out a lot.”
The kids go crazy for the milk, guzzling it down. That is one thing she can’t seem to keep in the house. Lily likes that each kid gets their own fruits, vegetables, snacks, and meals and that it is food she feels good about serving. The boxes help Lily lower her grocery bill, leaving money to cover other necessities like rent and gas in the car. Week after week, Lily and her neighbors count on the fact that there will be food for her grandchildren, thanks to donors like you.
“It is an amazing feeling when you give a child food or the parent of that child food,” says Eric. “When they thank you and they have tears in their eyes, it makes you feel incredible to be part of such a great mission.”
You can help kids and families this summer.
Start a virtual food drive. Donate funds. Volunteer. Advocate.