Sarasota, FL (November 3, 2021) – For 16 years now, All Faiths Food Bank has worked to brighten the holidays for those who are struggling to put food on the table. For Sarasota and DeSoto County residents and those who are already clients of the food bank, All Faiths will offer numerous distributions in an effort to take empty plates and turn them into “ThankFULL tummies and hearts” this holiday season. Funds from the ongoing “ThankFULL” campaign will enable All Faiths to distribute more than 12,500 turkeys and sides – the largest number ever – in advance of Thanksgiving this year.
With the financial impacts of the pandemic continuing, too many community members who were already at risk are struggling to put food on the table. To help All Faiths respond to the need, The Bay Park Conservancy and Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall will, once again, host the kick-off for this year’s turkey distribution effort.
On November 6, frozen turkeys and side dishes will be distributed at Van Wezel (777 N. Tamiami Tr., Sarasota), starting at 9 a.m. and continuing as long as supplies last. Another distribution in central Sarasota will be held at Ed Smith Stadium on November 18, 4-6 p.m. Over the next several weeks, additional turkey distributions will take place through All Faiths’ partner agencies, including school pantries, youth-serving nonprofits, and mobile pantry sites. Proof of Sarasota or DeSoto County residency is required. For more information about the turkey distributions, go to All Faiths’ website, on the “Food Finder” page.
The pandemic has caused an unprecedented spike in need for food assistance. In 2020, All Faiths saw a sharp increase in the number of community members using its services. It distributed 60% more meals than in 2019, comprising nearly 22.5 million pounds of food and 18.4 million meals. Of those using its programs and services, 49% were new clients. An astonishing 362% more users visited the organization’s website seeking food resources. Already this year, All Faiths has distributed almost 40% more food than it did in the year prior to the pandemic.
“Our numbers clearly show that our neighbors are still suffering,” said All Faiths Food Bank’s CEO Sandra Frank. “The urgency is as intense as ever. With the support of our community, we can help families heal from the pandemic by providing a holiday celebration and healthy meals.”
The funds for the turkey distributions are being raised through generous gifts to the ThankFULL campaign as well as through the generous support of the Kathleen K. Catlin Foundation of the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, which contributed $50,000. The goal of the ThankFULL campaign is to raise enough money to provide 3.2 million meals through the end of the year for families who are facing hunger.
“This holiday season, our community is coming together to ensure everyone can enjoy a hot meal with their families, without the worry of empty plates and hungry stomachs,” said Roxie Jerde, President and CEO of the Community Foundation of Sarasota County. “We’re thankful to once again support All Faiths Food Bank alongside our generous donors in bringing the gifts of hope – and plenty of festive turkey dinners – to our neighbors who need them the most.”
To donate to the ThankFULL campaign or to learn where and when to find upcoming food distributions, please 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, providing millions of meals each year with nearly 200 agencies and programs throughout the community. All Faiths works not only to fight hunger today but also strives to end hunger – forever – by helping families and individuals gain long-term food security, enjoy better health outcomes, and achieve self-sufficiency. In 2020, All Faiths distributed nearly 22.5 million pounds of food, provided 60% more meals than the previous year, and rallied in the face of a 53% increase in new clients at food distributions due to the pandemic. For its efforts, All Faiths was honored as the 2021 “Nonprofit of the Year” by the Sarasota Chamber of Commerce; the organization was also recognized as a Top 4 Food Bank in the country in 2020. All Faiths is rated 4 stars by Charity Navigator and is a member of the Feeding America and Feeding Florida networks. For more information, visit allfaithsfoodbank.org.