Feeding the hungry at Coalition for the Homeless

Earlier this month, Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida revealed the results of the Hunger in Central Florida 2010 study. This informative report provides a snapshot view of the hungry in our community and the challenges faced by these vulnerable neighbors and friends in the Central Florida area.

Below are some of the statistics found in the study:

  • Nearly 732,000 people sought aid from soup kitchens and food pantries last year. This number is a 152% increase from the last Hunger in Central Florida report four years ago.
  • 42% of the soup kitchens reported that 50 or more additional meals are needed weekly, which shows a 100% increase from the 2006 report. For shelters, this increase is an astounding 400% increase from the previous study.
  • 76.1% of the pantries, 70% of the kitchens and 48.8% of the shelters shared that they now serve more clients than they did in 2006.
  • 20.7% of the pantries, 10.1% of the kitchens and 33.0% of the shelters admitted that they had to turn potential clients away during the last year because they did not have the resources to meet their needs.
  • 49% of clients receiving services said they have had to choose between paying for food and paying their rent or mortgage. Higher than the national average, this daunting statistic is nearly a 100% increase from results of the 2006 study.
  • 11% of the clients with children said that, within the last year, their children have been forced to skip meals because there was not enough money for food.

Second Harvest is integral to the Coalition’s ability to serve nearly 300,000 meals a year to our clients. Through our partnership, the Coalition purchases food from Second Harvest for a fraction of the cost of buying market-value groceries.

Even with the huge benefit this less-expensive food supply offers to the Coalition, we actually have thousands more people to thank for helping us supply nutritious meals to the nearly 600 men, women and children we serve on an average night. In fact, we also rely on a small army of volunteers to supply hundreds of meals each night in three separate dining facilities. Last year, 215 meal service groups participated in this service, with about 80 serving on a regular basis. With volunteers either preparing the meal or underwriting the cost, the Coalition is able to stretch our food service budget. In fact, providing a nutritious meal to a homeless individual at the Coalition costs a mere 64 cents.

The Hunger in Central Florida 2010 report confirmed what our community already knew: there are many hungry mouths to feed in Central Florida. With the help of our community, the Coalition is doing our part to keep thousands of homeless men, women and children healthy and full on their way back to independence. If it weren’t for food distribution centers such as Second Harvest Food Bank and thousands of Coalition meal service volunteers, we really could not do what we do.

As always, thank you for making a difference in the lives of our clients!