Today, Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida celebrated the grand opening of its new Mercy Kitchen, which will allow the hunger-relief organization to triple its food production output.
Due to the heightened and sustained need for food assistance caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Second Harvest outgrew its existing kitchen and needed to find an additional location. As a result of CARES Act funding through Orange County and financial support from the community, the food bank was able to expand into the new 20,000-square-foot facility, two miles from its main warehouse. The new space includes an expanded production kitchen, a cooler and freezer area, dry storage, and six receiving and distribution bay doors to support Second Harvest’s operations.
Volunteers and staff at this location will support hunger relief efforts by producing more than 115,000 meals a week, including:
- Kids meals for the Kids Café Program and Summer Food Service Program
- Chef-inspired Family Meal Boxes
- 7-Day Breakfast and Lunch Boxes
“We’re now one year into our COVID-disaster relief initiative, and we continue to hear from people who have never been in this position before – they need help feeding their families,” said Nancy Brumbaugh, vice president of food services. “Mercy Kitchen will produce more than meals – it will feed hope to the thousands of kids, seniors, veterans and families in need across Central Florida.”
Additionally, Mercy Kitchen will be home to Second Harvest’s social entrepreneurial endeavors, such as providing contracted meals for private schools and its signature product line, A Spoon Full of Hope. These programs, along with Drop and Go Catering, and Catering for Good services, have allowed Second Harvest to diversify its funding stream and continue providing necessary resources to help sustain hunger relief efforts in Central Florida. Since March 2020, Second Harvest has provided 96 million meals across Orange, Osceola, Lake, Seminole, Volusia and Brevard counties.
Second Harvest continues to distribute more meals to more people facing hunger as a result of the pandemic.
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