ORLANDO, Fla. – One in five children in Central Florida is considered food insecure.
But thanks to Second Harvest Food Bank and a $10,000 donation from Safelite Autoglass, students in Orange County Title I schools have food to take home on the weekends.
“Sometimes, our kids don’t have food, so these kits carry over so the kids will have food for the weekend," said Lisa Hardeman, parent engagement liaison at Hiawassee Elementary School. “Like, I have a family that really sticks out to me. A family of nine. Mom came in, she had just moved to our area and she needed some help.”
Last year, Second Harvest Food Bank provided 30,420 snack packs to children at 21 elementary schools across six local counties. The snack packs are filled with shelf-stable foods that have easily accessible packaging, like pop tops.
Director of Philanthropy Dan Samuels said they also have food pantries at 50 schools and do a fresh produce drop once a month at the schools.
“Because we know when you have to make a decision between fresh produce and mac-and-cheese, you’re going to purchase the mac-and-cheese because it’s going to fill your belly a lot more than the fresh produce. But we also know health-wise, you really need that fresh produce,” he said.
Samuels said volunteers, like the ones from Safelite Autoglass, are critical.
“If we had to pay staff members to do that work, because the work they do is critical to our mission, it would cost our organization $3 million a year,” Samuels said.
If you’d like to contribute to Second Harvest or volunteer, you’ll find ways to help at FeedHopeNow.org.