SARASOTA, FL – As the financial impact of the coronavirus continues to be felt, the ongoing issue of hunger has reached a crisis point. With an approximately 120% increase in distribution – and a nearly 45% increase in new clients at its mobile pantries – since mid-March, All Faiths Food Bank has adapted to the crisis by changing its operations and adding resources and staff in order to expand and enhance services, and more efficiently find and feed those who are hungry.
In early March, representatives from the Feeding Florida network – including All Faiths Food Bank CEO and current Feeding Florida board chair Sandra Frank – gathered to announce the results of a study, the Meal Deficit Metric, that will change the way food banks address hunger in their communities. The Meal Deficit Metric has been updated to include new COVID-related unemployment and SNAP data: this unique model will help provide a more accurate representation of the number of missing meals and resources needed in communities across Florida.
All Faiths hired a researcher to analyze the Meal Deficit Metric with the goal of identifying new areas with insufficient or no services. Armed with this information, All Faiths explored where it can engage new agency partners, hold additional mobile pantries, and supplement its staff.
Since mid-March, All Faiths has added employees including benefit specialists, outreach workers, agency relations, data analysis, warehouse and transportation. Seventeen new food distributions have been added for a total of more than 315 monthly distributions, with further sites being developed. Three new trucks have been added to its transport fleet. Communications outreach has been expanded – using methods such as targeted postcards, social media and billboards – to better reach those who may not know where to find assistance.
“As the pandemic continues to hit our community hard, we’re working harder and smarter to find people who may never have had to ask for help before,” said Frank. “Families are experiencing hardships regardless of their financial background and those hardships make it difficult to put food on the table. We want anyone who is struggling to feed their families to know that we are here for them with food and support.”
To learn more about All Faiths, or to find out how you can donate and/or volunteer, go to allfaithsfoodbank.org or call 941-379-6333.
About All Faiths Food Bank
All Faiths Food Bank is the only food bank and largest hunger relief organization in Sarasota and DeSoto counties. Rated 4-stars by Charity Navigator and a member of Feeding America, we provide millions of meals each year through robust programs and partnerships with charitable organizations in the community. In addition to food distribution, All Faiths Food Bank operates a roster of innovative direct service programs that not only solve the immediate problem of hunger but strive to end hunger by helping families and individuals gain long-term food security, better health outcomes and self-sufficiency. For more information visit allfaithsfoodbank.org.