Sarasota, FL (November 29, 2021) – In an effort to better serve the community in DeSoto County, All Faiths Food Bank has hired San Juana “Janie” Ramirez as its new DeSoto Food & Resource Center (FRC) client services representative. In this role, Ramirez – who is bilingual – will serve as the primary point of contact for all clients and visitors to the DeSoto FRC, whether in person or via telephone. This position is critical in ensuring that all clients are properly registered into the client database, welcomed compassionately, and provided needed information or directed to the appropriate staff member.
While Ramirez has the requisite managerial and interpersonal skills to successfully fill the position, it is her life experience that makes her a perfect fit. As a child, between the ages of 6 and 17, Ramirez traveled with her parents – who were migrant farm workers – between Florida, Texas and Michigan for picking seasons. As the eldest of eight siblings, she is family-centric and understands the challenges of maximizing resources when money is in short supply.
“As you can imagine, I can well understand the value of hard work and a positive attitude. My mother has also instilled the importance of giving back,” Ramirez said. “Throughout my childhood and adult life, I have been proud to be able to assist other migrant workers in accessing health and dental care by providing transportation and financial assistance for those appointments. Giving back is important to me and my family.”
In DeSoto County, where agriculture is the dominant industry, the number of persons living in poverty is nearly 22%, well over the national average. With a population of 38,000, household income is just over $35,400 and, in 29% of households, a language other than English is spoken at home. While food is also distributed there, All Faiths Food Bank’s DeSoto FRC is designed to be the epicenter for vital resources with wrap-around services including: needs assessments; benefit assistance for SNAP (formerly food stamps), Medicaid, TANF, Social Security and Disability; legal aid; group classes; and referrals for other social services. Free tax preparation was offered this year as well.
“We felt it was crucial to ensure that this position was filled by someone who has the capacity to navigate the social service system and advocate for others, through the display of empathy, respect, and understanding of community values and members,” said All Faiths CEO Sandra Frank. “In addition to her professional skills and work ethic, Janie has lived the life of a migrant worker and will be able to relate, with compassion and understanding, to those we are working to not only provide nutritional assistance but also to lift out of poverty so that we can end hunger, once and for all.”
To learn more about All Faiths, 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, 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.