One of the most efficient ways to get large quantities of food to people who need it the most is through mobile food distributions. Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida is able to load a semi-trailer full of non-perishable food items, frozen meat, fresh produce and dairy and transport it to food deserts, rural areas and under-served communities and distribute it to people in need with the help of volunteers.
The growing concerns about the spread of COVID-19 make this distribution method even more important. Drive up mobile drops help maintain social distancing recommendations by the CDC and protect the safety of the food stream by limiting the number of people who handle food items.
As more and more businesses close their doors, the growing economic crisis has left many individuals and families searching for food assistance for the very first time. Starting this week, two mobile distributions will happen daily to provide much needed relief to workers who are no longer receiving a paycheck, families with children and seniors.
At a recent mobile food drop in Orlando, volunteers from the Islamic Society of Central Florida loaded boxes of food into the trunks of cars and vans. Items received included canned beans and tomatoes, frozen chicken, fresh onions, apples, eggs, milk and bread, among other items, enough to provide 22,482 meals.
“We are glad to support our community, our neighbors, who are in a tough situation,” said Imam Muhammad Musli, president of the Islamic Society, one of 550 partners in Second Harvest’s network of feeding programs.
The cars looped around the parking lot were filled with parents of young children, seniors and disabled adults. Seniors were especially glad to have food loaded directly into their cars so they wouldn’t have to carry it.
“I had barely anything at home this morning,” explained Stella, a disabled mother with a teenage daughter at home. Her daughter had her hours cut at her part-time retail job this week. “With hours disappearing with no notice, I’m just thankful for people like you who are supporting and helping. I don’t know what we would do otherwise.”