At Feeding Northeast Florida we believe that no one should go hungry and work every day to make that a reality. We currently serve an estimated 85,000 people per day throughout our eight-county service area. And yet, more than 240,000 people in the Northeast Florida area experience hunger and food insecurity –– that’s one in seven adults and one in five children.
The impact of those numbers cannot be overstated. During this extended period of high inflation, families and individuals are struggling even more with the ability to make their paychecks stretch and cover all their essential needs.
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Nutritious food is usually among the first things to be cut from their budget. Choosing to pay record rising rents, an overdue electric bill, to make a necessary repair or fill a prescription take priority, causing people to go hungry.
With the reality of these continued economic pressures, there is no end in sight for many in our community facing tremendous financial hardships. That’s where we provide help at Feeding Northeast Florida, the region’s largest nonprofit food bank, along with our more than 325 agency partners and programs.
We work to break the cycle of poverty by addressing food insecurity through a holistic approach: Providing access to quality food, empowering individuals and families through resources and education and advocating on behalf of our neighbors facing hunger so that this profoundly impactful (and — ultimately — solvable) issue remains front and center.
In October we hosted Empty Bowls, our organization’s signature annual fundraiser, to bring attention to the empty bowls that so many families face daily. The simple lunch of soup and bread, graciously provided by Florida State College at Jacksonville’s Culinary Program, allowed us to focus on awareness, the importance of nourishment and the collective work it takes to fill bowls across the communities we serve.
Thank you to all the community members who were able to join us for the Empty Bowls event to hear the stories of our neighbors in need.
As we look toward the holiday season, many traditions focus on the warmth and joy of shared meals with loved ones. We know that many of our neighbors across the First Coast will struggle to provide any meal — much less a holiday feast — for their families. That is unacceptable.
This month we will be hosting two annual distributions: Turkey Time with the Jaguars and Harvest Helpings, sponsored by Morgan & Morgan. These annual events provide holiday staples, fresh produce and turkeys to alleviate the stress of providing a holiday meal for families.
Both events will be open to the public and we encourage you to share them with your friends and family. We look forward to serving our community in time for Thanksgiving.
This work is possible thanks to our dedicated staff who have been on the front lines every day, our partner agencies, our corporate and philanthropic partners and our supporters in Northeast Florida who continue to show up and help make a difference in our community.
We encourage you to join us by fundraising and donating to the food bank year-round, but especially as you begin to plan your holiday and year-end giving, volunteering and seeing firsthand the impact nutritious food makes and, most importantly, advocating for change –– knowing that your voice can improve someone’s life.
For more information about our efforts to end hunger across Northeast Florida, to donate to the food bank or sign up to volunteer, visit FeedingNEFL.org. With your help, no one in need will go hungry this holiday season.
Susan King, president and CEO, Feeding Northeast Florida
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