Feeding South Florida volunteers hand out food to community members at Coral Square Mall on April 21. Photo by Fenthon Aristhomene
Feeding South Florida is an organization based in Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade and Monroe county. Working as a domestic hunger-relief organization, they are feeding 25% of the state’s population that cannot afford daily meals.
The organization’s goal is to ultimately “unite the community around hunger and poverty issues while helping families achieve household stability,” according to their website. They have managed to serve more than nine million pounds of food to people in need since the outbreak of COVID-19 in South Florida.
The city of Coral Springs and Feeding South Florida partnered up to create their first food drive held at the Coral Square Mall. The site of the food distribution can be found at the northside of the mall, located at 9469 West Atlantic Boulevard. The service started Tuesday, April 7 and will occur every Tuesday at 9 a.m. This drive-through service is available for people in the city of Coral Springs, as well as those in need in surrounding cities.
Volunteers and partners of Feeding South Florida are handing out food to the hungry families in various different cities in their participating counties. The food distribution has been continuous in the cities that need it most, including Miami and Opa Locka. Hundreds of people have donated money in order to fuel the organization and contribute to feeding the hungry who cannot afford their own food.
Information about the donation process is located on the Feeding South Florida website, enabling the option for people to select how much money they would like to donate. Monthly donation plans are also available such as paying $100 per month to provide 30 kids with afterschool meals for a month.
The president and CEO of Feeding South Florida, Paco Velez, assures consumers that the food handed out comes from farmers, distribution centers and retail stores. He also mentions it is a challenge keeping stock during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our families are scared,” Velez said in an NBC 6 news article. “They don’t know when they’re going to get a job if they’re going to get a job, and when they’re going to get food on the table. So for us, it’s really about ensuring that we’re bringing in as much as possible and getting it on the tables of those families.”
Coral Springs City Commissioner Joshua Simmons reached out to many residents to reassure them that food would be available to them amid the coronavirus crisis.
“One major realization I have made being part of this food distribution is that there are a lot of people who are grateful when their city gives them a helping hand,” Simmons said. “There may have been someone who was stressing out about how to feed their families and we provided an option that eased that stress.”
Volunteers working the distribution place food in the trunk of every car that comes by so that personal contact is limited. This is meant to help reduce the risk of spreading the virus. They are mainly serving staples such as vegetables, bread, fruit and milk.
Millions of Floridians continue to file for unemployment in hopes of receiving benefits and creating the opportunity for those who need food to get food is making lives easier. Without a job to support their families, many are turning to Feeding South Florida to help put food on their tables.
“It was a joint effort between the Commission and City Staff. I think we were all racking our brains on how to help people during this crisis,” Simmons said. “We wanted to make sure that we did our best to take care of families who were struggling during this crisis.”
With the help of Feeding South Florida, the amount of hungry people during this pandemic is decreasing. The organization plans to serve as many families as possible until the donated supplies run out.