JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Northeast Florida has struggled with food insecurity on an even deeper level since the pandemic started. Feeding Northeast Florida has seen two or three times as many households seeking food assistance.
Typically, Feeding Northeast Florida receives donations from food distributors and grocery store chains. The need for food in Northeast Florida has enhanced in the last six months due to the pandemic. Because of the supply and demand results of COVID-19, panic buying and the resulting disruption to supply chains, those donations haven’t been able to come in bulk. Luckily, things are changing.
Walmart, Tyson and Bimbo Bakeries USA are doing something to help.
From 10 to 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, the companies held a small, socially-distanced presentation to commemorate their donation of 20,000 pounds of bread and chicken (10,000 pounds of chicken; 10,000 pounds of bread) to Feeding Northeast Florida Food Bank. This is the equivalent of more than 12,500 meals.
“It is very important that we recognize that we play a huge part in feeding families and feeding people in general," said Bimbo Bakeries account manager Robert Kellett.
After making the donation, representatives from both companies spent some time packing snack packs that will be sent to local schools. Feeding Northeast Florida said this donation will help a lot of people on the First Coast.
“This is really impactful. The gift from Tyson of protein is really important," said Susan King, CEO of Feeding Northeast Florida. "It is one of the things we have been missing a lot, and sandwich bread is a big deal, especially with kids back in school.”
Since March, Feeding Northeast Florida has distributed over 14 million pounds of food -- that is nearly three times more than they did prior to COVID-19.
“This is a perfect example of how we collaborate as a community to solve a problem that affects so many," King said.
Amidst the global pandemic, Feeding America has projected that a 46% increase of people could be food insecure. This would include 18 million children -- one in every four children -- who could be food insecure in 2020 as a result of the pandemic.
If you are looking for food assistance, you can find a list of Feeding Northeast Florida’s food distribution partners on their website.