Feeding Northeast Florida, YMCA leading 2-week hunger drive

Jacksonville Jaguars, Florida Blue also participating in campaign

By Dakota Williams - Digital content intern

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The YMCA of Florida’s First Coast, the Jacksonville Jaguars and Florida Blue are all partnering with Feeding Northeast Florida to host a two-week hunger drive and fundraising campaign.

The drive starts on June 15 and ends on June 30. The campaign aims to provide critical nourishment to thousands of food insecure households in the area.

The 12 area YMCA branches and the Metropolitan office will be accepting monetary donations and healthy, non-perishable food items with a goal of providing a week’s worth of meals to 3,500 families. 

Community members can participate in the campaign by:

YMCA of Florida’s First Coast President and CEO Eric Mann said that First Coast YMCA is participating in the campaign as part of its commitment to youth development.

“Our youth can’t achieve their full potential, however, without access to nutritious and wholesome food," Mann said. "In Northeast Florida alone, one in four children do not know where their next meal will come from.”

Feeding Northeast Florida said that summer is the most challenging time of year for the food bank to keep inventory stocked because of an increased demand from students out of school.

“In Duval County alone, more than 102,000 students are enrolled in the free or reduced lunch program at school. During the summer -- without access to these meals -- many of these children are going hungry,” said Feeding Northeast Florida President and CEO Frank D. Castillo.

Food and monetary donations collected during the drive will be used to host Feeding Northeast Florida mobile pantries at seven locations in the area.

The mobile pantries deliver fresh and shelf-stable food to neighborhoods without adequate access to grocery stories, feeding agencies or pantries. 

Florida Blue market President Darnell Smith said that it is an honor to partner with the organizations to serve the community.

“We all have a responsibility to ensure that children in our community have the basics to be their very best,” he said. “The summer break from school should not result in our children without consistent access to nutritious food.”

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