ORLANDO, Fla. – Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida was one of five food banks across the country to receive a new mobile food pantry from Darden Restaurants.
Officials with Second Harvest and Darden unveiled the new refrigerated box truck on Wednesday.
Dave Krepcho, the president & CEO of Second Harvest, said they can use the truck to deliver 20,000 pounds of fresh food, vegetable and proteins to their partner food pantries.
“That’s enough food for about 12,000 meals,” Krepcho said.
The other food banks that also received a mobile food pantry are Feeding the Valley Food Bank in Midland, Georgia, Food Bank of Northwest Louisiana in Shreveport, Louisiana, Mid-South Food Bank in Memphis, Tennessee and San Antonio Food Bank in San Antonio, Texas.
Krepcho said Second Harvest will use the mobile food pantry to target areas with high levels of food insecurity, including communities of color.
“We’re talking about a lot of African American areas of Central Florida, Pine Hills, Parramore, places like that and east Orlando,” Krepcho said. “And also with the Latin community, Osceola County has shown to be one of the hot spots and one of the greatest need areas since the pandemic hit.”
Stephanie Ghertner, the director of the Darden Foundation, said these trucks will make fresh and healthy food more accessible to families.
“We know that accessibility to nutritious food has been an issue for a long time and the pandemic has only exasperated food distribution and transportation challenges, so to have these trucks that can help serve more people, they’re thrilled,” Ghertner said.
Ghertner adds they wanted to help families who have been hit hard during the pandemic.
“We worked with Feeding America to identify food banks that serve communities with high percentages of people of color. We recognize that communities of color have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic,” she said.
Since the pandemic began last March, Krepcho said Second Harvest has distributed 300,000 meals a day from its warehouse.
He adds the need for food assistance is still great and the new refrigerated truck will get results for families who are struggling to make ends meet.
“It has not dropped off. We see no decline in that,” Krephco said.
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