MIAMI (CBSMiami) – South Florida organizations dedicated to feeding those in need during the coronavirus pandemic are facing new challenges as donations are slowing down.
Even though the South Florida economy is slowly opening up, the needy still depend on food distributions to make it from week to week, and food distribution organizations like “Feeding South Florida” are facing a challenge to meet those needs.
Donations are down because usual contributors are sending their cash elsewhere.
Paco Vélez, President & CEO of Feeding South Florida, says, “We continue to see about a thousand at our smaller distributions and 1,800 to 2,000 at larger distributions.”
The distributions are conducted weekly and bi-weekly at local parks stretching from Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties.
The boxes, which contain food for a week, include milk, cheese, tomatoes, bananas, cereal, diced chicken, and other items from the federal government, local businesses, and local farmers.
But there is trouble in the horizon as funds from the Federal Cares Act is about to run out.
“We are going into a commodity cliff which means about 50% of our food is going away,” Vélez says.
“We are going to see a significant decrease by January 1st and we have to make it up somehow and we are going invest in about $2 million dollars in food purchases,” he adds.
That’s hard cash and hard to come by these days as donors, large and small, have been lured to other “investments” not only locally but nationally.
“2020 has been a crazy year, wildfires, floods, hurricanes, tornados, you name it and it has happened,” says Vélez.
Not to mention major donors making political contributions during a contentious political season and funds flowing to major social movements.
“A lot of those funders have started to move their money around to different types of organizations as well as the elections,” he adds.
Bottom line those food distributions are not going away even with some workers getting back to work as the South Florida economy gradually opens up.
“The families continue to struggle and we want to make sure that the struggle is top of mind for our community,” adds Vélez.
The hope, once the political smoke clears, is for donors to refocus on those in need of basics.
Click here if you would like to make a donation to Feeding South Florida.
By: Hank Tester
Originally published by WFOR-CBS4 on November 10, 2020. Click here to view original article.