01 Jul Feeding Northeast Florida Fights Childhood Hunger
Food bank plans distributions and programs to help children this summer and beyond
Jacksonville, Fla. –– June 14, 2021 –– Feeding Northeast Florida (FNEFL), the region’s largest nonprofit food bank, is fighting childhood hunger this summer and beyond. Through the distribution of snack packs, mobile pantries and partner agencies across its eight-county service area, FNEFL is making a difference for children and families in need.
Last year, FNEFL served 2.8 million individuals — including approximately 80,000 children. Statistics from Feeding America’s Map the Meal Gap study show that one in five children on the First Coast are food insecure — a year-round issue that becomes especially evident during the summer months when children are out of school, putting the burden of two additional meals on families as they juggle increased household costs, like higher utility bills and childcare. When families have to decide between food, bills or medicine, food is often the first thing to go.
According to Feeding Northeast Florida’s Director of Health and Nutrition, Rachel McCandless, experiencing hunger as a child can contribute to chronic health issues and impact children’s capacity to learn. Long-term effects can present as physical, mental and behavioral issues, and can contribute to generational poverty. FNEFL aims to make sure children have the nourishment they need to grow, learn, and thrive, regardless of the season.
Earlier this month, the organization hosted a Sort-A-Thon event with volunteers and community leaders to create 1,500 snack packs that will be distributed to children through summer camps, summer feeding programs, and nonprofit organizations serving children during the summer months. Additionally, the Food Bank is hosting 13 mobile pantry distributions this summer targeting families with children, estimated to serve between 250-300 families each.
“Summer and childhood should be a time of fun and freedom,” said Susan King, President & CEO of Feeding Northeast Florida. “Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. We are actively working to help families bridge the gap this summer and all year long through food distributions and strategic partnerships. However, there is still a lot of work to be done to end childhood hunger and we invite the community to join us in working toward a day when no child in Northeast Florida goes hungry.”
The community is encouraged to support FNEFL’s efforts to address childhood hunger through financial contributions, volunteering or advocating for change and additional support through our civic representatives.
For more information on childhood hunger, to make a donation or sign up to volunteer, visit feedingnefl.org. For every $1 donated, six meals are provided; $15 can provide four snack packs to those in need in our community.