Sarasota, FL – According to U.S. Census data, Sarasota ranks thirteenth out of 67 Florida counties for the highest concentration of veterans, with over 42,000. More than one-third live with a disability or below the poverty line. In an effort to find and assist more veterans who are hungry, All Faiths Food Bank is utilizing the skills of a New College student who is interning with the nonprofit.
New College senior Garland Hanson is working with All Faiths to initiate an investigative analysis of food insecurity among veterans throughout Sarasota County, increase participation at All Faiths’ existing Veteran’s Pantry by working to reach new clients, and identify and develop new healthcare and veteran-focused organizational partnerships to expand services to benefit veterans.
The internship is made available through the Sarasota-Manatee Arts & Humanities Internship Program. Funding is provided by the New College of Florida through the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Since 2014, All Faiths has offered a Veterans Food Pantry exclusive to U.S. veterans. The service provides a comfortable, like-minded atmosphere, particularly for veterans suffering from various disabilities, medical and mental health issues, and stigma-associated fears related to asking for help. In 2019, All Faiths Food Bank served over 1,300 veterans across its network, with nearly 36% of them receiving services directly from the Veterans Food Pantry.
“We recognize that, for area veterans, there are significant gaps in services and we would like to enhance and potentially expand our work with veterans beyond our existing mobile pantry,” said Amber Lee, Director, Data Analyst. “With investigative analysis to support our decision making, we also plan to develop opportunities for new healthcare partnerships, particularly with those serving veterans. We are grateful for the Arts & Humanities Internship Program, which is enabling us to benefit from Garland’s expertise and enthusiasm, with the goal of better serving area veterans.”
Hanson is a Psychology major – with a minor in Studio Art – who has had various experiences within the nonprofit section as an intern and as a volunteer. Her educational experience has provided her with the opportunity to conduct her own research, having experience with surveying and interviewing over 200 participants, writing up reports on data collection and results and presenting those results. After graduation, Hanson has expressed an interest in furthering her education to earn a master’s degree in social work.
For more about All Faiths Food Bank, go to allfaithsfoodbank.org.
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.