Facebook corporate reached out to us recently because they are so impressed with our power of positivity messaging, and in turn, how we have made an undeniable, large-scale, positive impact on our local community! They want to highlight us in their More Together campaign and offered to donate $1,000 to the non-profit of our choice. We chose Second Harvest of the Big Bend because a foodies group, of all things, should help fight hunger. This $1,000 will provide 4,000 meals to those in need.
I always say, we are more than just words, we are an action group! We just gave, and it feels so good, but we’re not done yet. Now it’s time to get the word out about this amazing non-profit AND we’d like to highly encourage you all to donate a frozen turkey to their annual 7th Annual Turkey Drive this Thursday, November 12th. More on that in just a bit.
When Becca (our Facebook group admin), my mom, and I went to present the check, we were warmly greeted by Monique and James who offered us a surprise tour of their amazing, efficient facility and their entire operation was a massive wow factor. Learning about Second Harvest is one of those moments when you realize the absolute power of what they do and we were fighting back tears on a few occasions. Having little kids, I was most moved by the bins dedicated to baby supplies and the food kits given to children so they don’t have to go hungry at home.
The impact Second Harvest has on our community is immeasurable! Before I get into it all, I want to share our two biggest takeaways.
- If someone you know is collecting food for Second Harvest, yes, donate what you have in your pantry, but please do not go out and purchase food to donate. Please give those funds, no matter how large or small, directly to Second Harvest because they can take your dollar so much further with their purchasing power. The $1,000 we donated will supply 4,000 meals, so they know exactly how to stretch those dollars to feed more people.
- They are collecting frozen turkey donations for their 7th annual Turkey Drive. I will definitely be picking up a turkey very soon to donate! During the drive, you can donate frozen turkeys or money to help make sure no family in the Big Bend goes without a Thanksgiving meal. On November 12, from 5 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., you can drop off your donation at Ponce DeLeon Park (127 E Park Ave, Tallahassee, FL 32301) and Bannerman Crossing (3425 Bannerman Rd, Tallahassee, FL 32312). If you are unable to donate in person, you may make a monetary donation at their donation page.
And now for our tour of what we’ve dubbed, the Costco of food banks. My word, the efficiency of this warehouse is impressive. From the moment food enters the facility, canned and boxed good are inspected for integrity (making sure dings in cans have not compromised the food) and anything unusable, including produce, is donated to a local swine farm. Their FIFO (first in first out) process is impressive. All new goods go to crates on the top shelf with a fork lift, the product they pick from for filling kits, with the help of volunteers, is located at the bottom, and once those are diminished, all crates are moved down several shelves daily with a fork lift throughout the entire warehouse.
Second Harvest aids with the disaster relief of northwest Florida and they have amped up their operations due to an increase of food insecurity related to the pandemic. They also help shift supplies to neighboring affiliated food banks when disasters strike – pandemic, fires, hurricanes and more.
Second Harvest works very closely with Title 1 schools to ensure children do not go hungry (including children who have chosen to e-learning). The Backpack Program provides children with a bag of food each Friday to ensure their nutritional needs are met over the weekend. Each food bag includes six components: milk, protein, ready-to-eat, fruit, vegetable and grain, and fits into a child’s backpack.
Beyond what we were able to learn at our tour, here is the additional impact Second Harvest of the Big Bend has on our community. Please contact them to learn more, in particular, to learn how you can volunteer with their initiatives including Food Bank Operations, Senior Grocery Program, Child Nutrition Programs, Disaster Relief, Food Rescue, Mobile Pantry, Lotts Community Garden, Commodity Supplemental Food Distribution, and their Emergency Food & Shelter Program.
We learned so many amazing facts and stats that will simply inspire, and there is so much more to learn that may be found at their website – https://fightinghunger.org/.