Volunteers and partner agencies across the counties of Broward, Palm Beach, Miami-Dade, and Monroe were recently recognized for their contributions during the Summer Hunger Ends Here Community Breakfast in Davie.
Organized by Feeding South Florida, a hunger-relief organization and member of the Feeding America network of food banks, the breakfast was a continuation of its Summer Hunger Ends Here campaign.
The initiative highlights the issue of families facing summer hunger, a time during which more than 260,000 children in South Florida go without a steady meal.
CEO Paco Vélez said summer is a tough time for working families because children don’t have free breakfast or free lunch to depend on during the break. On top of that, utility bills and fuel prices tend to increase, which add up when dealing with means to take care of the children now that they’re home from school.
“There’s just a lot of expenses that go into summer and not a lot of alleviation of those expenses,” said Vélez.
The breakfast then served to bring attention to these issues while also celebrating the network of more than 400 partner agencies and volunteers that help rescue 44 million pounds of food annually to be distributed to families in need.
“We have our community breakfast to really recognize and honor the folks on the front line of hunger relief,” said Vélez. “Just a way to let our supporters know on behalf of us, on behalf of the board of directors and on behalf of the 700,000 families that we serve, thank you.”
Individual volunteers were recognized, such as Volunteers of the Year Dora and Thomas Gonzalez, Dillon Bruno, and Sarah Brown. Group Volunteers were celebrated for their contributions, including Plantation High School, Lighthouse of Broward, and Stranahan High School, among others. Volunteer Group of the Year ultimately went to The Breakers.
Partner Agencies of the Year went to Boca Helping Hands and Mt. Pisgah Seventh-Day Adventist Church in Palm Beach and Miami-Dade, respectively. The Full Gospel Food Pantry was additionally named as the Broward Partner Agency of the Year.
“It was an honor and kind of a privilege to be able to give back,” said Emma Wright, director of the Full Gospel Food Pantry. “I’m just grateful to be here and thankful that our agency was chosen as agency of the year.”
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