01 Jul Feeding Northeast Florida Hosts Vice President Kamala Harris for Roundtable Discussion on Food Security
Conversation highlighted how the American Rescue Plan (ARP) is helping to put food on the table for local families
Jacksonville, Fla. –– March 23, 2021 –– Feeding Northeast Florida (FNEFL) hosted United States Vice President Kamala Harris at its headquarters for a roundtable discussion about food security.
The discussion was held during Harris’s visit to Jacksonville as part of the Help is Here tour, and focused on the theme of helping to put food on the table. Participants included Susan King, President and CEO of Feeding Northeast Florida; U.S. Representative Al Lawson (FL-05); Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried; Jacksonville City Councilwoman Joyce Morgan; Duval County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Diana L. Greene; and Jacksonville City Councilman Garrett Dennis.
The group talked about how food insecurity has impacted Northeast Florida during the pandemic, ways that the American Rescue Plan (ARP) is helping to address the hunger crisis and strategies to ensure everyone can access fresh, healthy food.
“FNEFL is thankful for the support and leadership of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris to ensure the American Rescue Plan of 2021 included critical nutrition investments to help people facing hunger,” said King. “Our food bank has seen a 129% increase in people needing emergency food assistance since the start of the pandemic, and our struggle is reflected in every food bank nationwide. Nationally, the Feeding America network reports a 55% average increase in the need for emergency food assistance. We are honored to be given the opportunity to discuss food insecurity and the impact of COVID-19 on our community with Vice President Harris.”
FNEFL estimates that 326,000 individuals experience food insecurity on some level every day across its service area. In 2020, the food bank served 2.8 million people and distributed 30.8 million pounds of food — an 82% increase since 2019, equaling 84,500 meals per day. The organization expanded its operating partner agency network from 200 to 300, and increased its logistical capabilities to manage the volume.
“The Feeding Florida food bank network is at the forefront of innovative distribution methods created in response to COVID-19. We appreciated the opportunity to share this work with the Vice President during her visit, and discuss how we’ve been able to provide consistent and reliable food support every day,” said Robin Safley, Feeding Florida Executive Director. “Our food banks will need the continued support from the administration to meet this increased demand.”
The ARP includes provisions that will help the food bank maximize the reach and impact of its resources by connecting food insecure households with vital support. Highlights of the plan include:
- Expanding access to the Pandemic EBT program through the duration of the pandemic, making it easier for families with kids receiving school meals to purchase healthy food, especially over the summer
- Extending the 15% SNAP increase through September 2021, which equates to $28 per month per person.
- Investing $880 million in the WIC program to support innovative delivery models and raise the amount of fruits and vegetables participants can obtain.
- Investing $37 million to get seniors the nutrition they need
FNEFL continues to see unprecedented need across the region. For additional information about how the organization is helping to put food on the table for local families, as well as donation or volunteer opportunities, visit feedingnefl.org. For every $1 donated, six meals are provided to those in need in our community.
About Feeding Northeast Florida
Feeding Northeast Florida is one of the largest food banks in Northeast Florida. It works to provide meals and access to healthy food to members of the community who are food insecure and live in underserved parts of the community. Partnering with grocery stores, farmers, and manufacturers they use food that would normally be wasted to feed those in need. With over 250 service agencies and programs they serve millions of meals each year throughout eight different counties in the Northeast Florida region. To learn more please visit https://www.feedingnefl.org.
About Feeding Florida:
Feeding Florida is the state’s leading organization in the fight to end hunger. The statewide network unites 12-member food banks supporting more than 2,400 local charitable agencies, who provide a healthy, adequate, and consistent food supply to every county in the state, every day. In fiscal year 2019/2020, the Feeding Florida network of food banks distributed more than 404 million pounds of food to help 3.6 million food insecure Floridians. Feeding Florida’s 12-member food banks include: All Faiths Food Bank, America’s Second Harvest of the Big Bend, Inc., Bread of the Mighty, Feeding Northeast Florida, Feeding South Florida, Feeding Tampa Bay, Feeding the Gulf Coast, First Step Food Bank, Florida Gateway Food Bank, Harry Chapin Food Bank of Southwest Florida, Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida and Treasure Coast Food Bank.