SARASOTA, FL – This summer, as students lose access to meals at school, 40,000 children in Sarasota and DeSoto counties may be at risk for hunger. All Faiths Food Bank’s Campaign Against Summer Hunger was created nine years ago to fill the “hunger gap” for children who lose access to meals and food pantries at school as well as to raise awareness of the issue of child hunger in our area. All Faiths Food Bank is, again this year, organizing more than 200 partners with the shared mission of providing food to children over the summer months.
The Campaign includes a quiet fundraising period to raise matching funds as well as a community campaign, and then the use of those funds to build necessary infrastructure, solidify partnerships, and secure and distribute food. Organizers expect this summer to be particularly challenging as the pandemic, continuing supply chain impacts, rising labor costs, and soaring inflation hit the most at-risk in our community hard – especially children. Not only are our current economic woes affecting those who were already on fixed budgets, they are causing additional families to struggle.
While the summer feeding program is of a short duration, it is an intensive effort requiring complicated logistics and relationship-building with the numerous community partners. In order to reach as many children as possible, All Faiths Food Bank brings together more than 200 partners including schools, libraries, early learning centers, summer camps, community centers and numerous other organizations throughout Sarasota and DeSoto counties. The food is provided through groceries, school pantries, family meals, distribution of backpacks containing healthy food and snacks, and community and back-to-school events … and this is all in addition to All Faiths Food Bank’s regularly scheduled distributions and pantries.
Sarasota County Schools’ and DeSoto County Schools’ Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) departments will, once again, offer their Summer BreakSpots. During FNS distributions at select school campuses, All Faiths provides supplemental food resources as well as food for school pantries.
“Our district has participated in the USDA’s Summer Food Service Program for children for over 25 years,” said Sarasota County Schools’ Food & Nutrition Services Director Sara Dan. “The supplemental help we receive from the Campaign allows us to provide food resources for entire families, all in one place. Removing accessibility barriers has a tremendous impact on the well-being of our overall school communities during the months where food insecurity is usually the highest.”
The funding to feed students and their siblings is provided by generous donors to the Campaign Against Summer Hunger. Since its inception nine years ago, the Campaign has raised tremendous awareness of the issue of child hunger in our community as well as the gratifying total of more than $14 million. This year’s lead investors are the Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation, Gulf Coast Community Foundation and The Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee. Chairing the effort this year is All Faiths Food Bank’s immediate past board chair, Nelle Miller.
“For the past nine years, it has been our honor – and we feel it is our responsibility – to make sure kids have enough to eat over the summer months,” said All Faiths CEO Sandra Frank. “We are so grateful to our lead investors as well as every community member who contributed to the Campaign for their invaluable support in these turbulent, challenging times. Thanks to their generosity, tens of thousands of area children will have access to food, in convenient locations, throughout the summer.”
For more about All Faiths, to learn how you can help children who might otherwise go hungry, or to find out where upcoming food distributions take place, 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 2021, All Faiths distributed 19 million pounds of food – equating to 17 million meals, provided 36% more meals than 2019 (pre-pandemic), and remained steadfast in its commitment to provide nutritional assistance to community members, including 44% who were new to the food bank. 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.