As we begin the month of May, it has become the “new normal” to grab a mask before leaving the house, normal to host a virtual gathering, normal to wave instead of extending a handshake.
What isn’t normal is a 600% increase in requests for food assistance. Feeding South Florida plans on responding to this increased level of need for the foreseeable future as unemployment continues to rise, savings are expended and credit cards are maxed.
Every day, Feeding South Florida sees more individuals visiting our drive-thru distributions and calling with requests for help – nearly 40% for the first time. With your support, Feeding South Florida has served our community for 40 years and we’ll continue doing so.
In response to the increased need for food assistance, Feeding South Florida has distributed over 21 million pounds of food (17.5 million meals) in seven weeks — a pace that translates to about 156 million pounds (130 million meals) over a 12-month period. To put that in perspective, last fiscal year we distributed 62 million pounds (51.6 million meals).
Feeding South Florida has:
- Activated more than 220 “drive-thru” style meal distributions, in partnership with cities and nonprofit partners throughout the community, with more to come! Each distribution serves an average of 600-1,200 families.
- Partnered with Amazon Flex’s program that has helped us deliver 2,350 meal boxes to home-bound older adults in Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade Counties.
- Partnered with The School District of Palm Beach County to distribute 59,626 family meal boxes across 34 sites – a total of 428,000+ meals distributed, per week!
- Partnered with Broward County Sheriff’s Office providing 600 meal bags per week for delivery to homebound seniors and at-risk populations.
- Activated 20 Summer BreakSpot meal sites to serve breakfast and lunch for children age 0-18 every day while schools are closed.
- Served more than 6,200 families via our Client Choice Pantries in Boynton Beach, Pembroke Park, and the City of North Miami.
- Supported our network of nearly 200 open partner agencies with additional food to ensure they can continue regularly serving food and meals to the most vulnerable in our community.
- Activated the Florida National Guard at both warehouse locations, assisting with receiving, shopping and sorting.
In addition to our blue skies (non-crisis) operation of two warehouses and 20 trucks, Feeding South Florida now has:
- 2 additional warehouse locations
- 7 additional rental box trucks
- 11 additional rental 53′ trailers
- 11 additional rental forklifts
- 12 additional temporary employees
The overwhelming need saddens us, but we’re grateful we can respond in this way under the “gray skies” of the COVID-19 pandemic, because of how we operate under blue ones.
Just the other day at a distribution in Tropical Park, a 100 year-old man took the bus and walked 15 minutes to the distribution site so he could get food for his wife and himself. With supporters like you, Feeding South Florida enrolled him in our home delivery program and will ensure food is delivered directly to their doorstep each week.
To continue Feeding South Florida at this increased level over the next 12-18 months, we need ongoing and additional help. Feeding America estimates that the national cost of increasing food access is $1.4 billion. That translates to approximately $28 million in South Florida alone. If you can, please continue helping us change lives ones meal at a time.
We live here and we serve here. Together, we’re Feeding South Florida.
Thanks to the generosity of Conviva Care Solutions and Bank of America, we are halfway toward our goal of raising $2.5 million on Giving Tuesday Now, a global day of giving, launched as an emergency response to the unprecedented need caused by COVID-19.
Together, Conviva Care Solutions’ $750,000 gift and Bank of America’s $520,000 donation will provide more than 8 million meals to South Florida.
Help us get to 26 million meals! There are three easy ways to help on Giving Tuesday:
Click here for a flier you can download and share.
CBS 4 | Paco Velez, President + CEO speaks about Feeding South Florida’s COVID-19 Response
Cheddar | Executive Vice President, Sari Vatske, Discusses COVID-19 Impact on Food Banks
WTVJ | Publix donates milk and produce from local farmers to Feeding South Florida