Monday, November 19, 2007


Let's set politics aside for a moment. Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on all the things you are grateful for in your life and to help those less fortunate. Florida's food banks are struggling and you can help with much needed supplies.

Associated Press - Food Pantries Struggling with Shortages

"We have food banks in virtually every city in the country, and what we are hearing is that they are all facing severe shortages with demand so high," Ross Fraser, a spokesman for America's Second Harvest — The Nation's Food Bank Network, the nation's largest hunger relief group, said Friday. "One of our food banks in Florida said demand is up 35 percent over this time last year."

Herald Tribune - Families Struggle in Boom's Aftermath

Kerby Standard, a 50-year-old licensed electrician, was laid off in August by an electrical contracting firm that had been riding high during the construction boom.

At about the same time, Standard's wife became ill. And the balloon payment came due on their $1,350-a-month rent-to-own Bradenton home, forcing them to move into a weekly rental.

Now Standard is at Dollar Dynasty, a Sarasota food bank, loading three bags of free food into the back seat of his 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee.

"If I don't pay my rent every week I get kicked out," said Standard. "That's a hell of a thing to wake up to every day."

CNN - New Report Finds 16 Percent of All Children in Florida Don't Have Consistant Access to Meals

In Florida, 16 percent of all children live in food insecure households, which means they do not always know where they will find their next meal.

In the United States overall, one out of six children in small towns and big cities lives in a food insecure household. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), 12 million children in the United States live in this condition -- unable to consistently access nutritious and adequate amounts of food necessary for a healthy life.

See Study:

An interactive map showing child food insecurity state by state is at:

Sun-Sentinel - Federal aid to South Florida's food banks dwindles as the need grows

Officials at the Daily Bread, South Florida's largest food bank, said U.S. Department of Agriculture commodities — surplus food and food the government buys regularly from farmers, such as rice, produce and pasta — once made up 15 percent of its total food supply. Now that's down to 11 percent. Daily Bread gives 18 million pounds of food to 700 nonprofit organizations in South Florida each year.


The USDA drop comes at a time when one out of six Broward County residents say they suffer from hunger, according to a Broward County Food Security Survey released in June. In Palm Beach County, more than 53,000 people are enrolled in the government food stamp program, said officials at the United Way.

News Press - Time to help the needy

This year, the need is more pressing. As The News-Press has reported, The Salvation Army Pantry, the Harry Chapin Food Bank, the Cafe of Life and Amigos Center, just to name a few, are having a difficult time keeping up with the demand. As more people need food, the pantries are emptying quickly.

The economic downturn in Southwest Florida, caused mainly by the dormant real estate and construction industry, has hit the area very hard.

With an increase in unemployment and foreclosures, more people seek the help of these worthy organizations, which cannot feed all the hungry who arrive on their doorsteps.

The Florida Association of Food Banks serving all 67 counties in Florida. Please consider making a donation.