Tonight in Central Florida, one in five children is at risk of going to bed hungry. A $1 million grant from Wawa to Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida aims to change that statistic by increasing the amount of fresh produce sent home with kids who are experiencing food insecurity.
The goal of Wawa and Second Harvest’s “Fly Beyond” pilot program is to reach more than 53,000 households over a 12-month period through two of the food bank’s childhood hunger prevention initiatives: the School Partnerships and Summer Food Service programs.
In addition to giving Second Harvest the ability to purchase and distribute more fresh produce, the funding will:
- Add 10 new Fresh Market sites at local schools
- Transform the Kids Pack initiative into a Family Weekend Meal Bag that will contain nutritious foods equal to 10 meals per household
- Enhance the Summer Food Service Program with a take home bag filled with fresh produce and other pantry staples each week
- Provide reusable and insulated tote bags for both programs
- Add customized display carts at 35 Fresh Market schools – making it easier for students to grab fresh produce as they head home
“Through this first-of-its-kind investment, Wawa is ensuring children in Central Florida have access to the nutritious wholesome food they need to thrive,” said Derrick Chubbs, President and CEO of Second Harvest. “Inflation is causing more families to make difficult decisions about what they can afford, and this partnership can help lessen worries about food costs.”
Robert Yeatts, Sr. Director of Florida Operations for Wawa said, “Fueling up takes on a whole new meaning with ‘Fly Beyond.’ We hope this new pilot program inspires goodness by making fresh, healthy foods conveniently available to families to create nutritious meals at home without worrying about how to afford it. Having greater access to fresh produce will improve the ability of kids in our communities to learn, lead and succeed.”
Throughout the year, Wawa’s culinary team will create recipes that feature many of the food items being distributed. Those recipes can be found online at the “Fly Beyond” landing page.
Wawa and Second Harvest intend to use the “Fly Beyond” pilot program and results as a road map for collaborations with other food banks or for others to implement similar programs.
For more information about how to support hunger relief efforts across Central Florida, visit www.FeedHopeNow.org.