Feeding Northeast Florida Is Adapting During COVID-19 To Keep Food Flowing

Apr 13, 2020

Feeding Northeast Florida is working hard to supply Jaxsons in need with food during the COVID-19 crisis. The food bank has partnered with grocery stores, manufacturers and farms to distribute food to social service agencies and programs in the region.

In an interview with Melissa Ross on First Coast Connect, CEO of Feeding Northeast Florida Susan King  explained how the organization has had to adapt to a new model, due to the pandemic.

"Our food supply is primarily through grocery recovery. We pick up from over 200 stores every week. And as you saw the shelves are...bare. That's what became available to our food bank.” 

Related: Local, State, And National Coronavirus Coverage

To handle the lack of food supply, the food bank is supplementing with a purchase program, sourcing from brokers around the country. King said they have created a pipeline of trucks coming in over the last three or four weeks to make sure food stays available.

While shelf stable food is the easiest to handle, the food bank is also handing out fresh produce that has been donated from grocery stores or purchased from local farms.

 

Chef's Garden has helped prep food for Feeding Northeast Florida.
Credit Chef's Garden Catering and Events

“We have funds that come through the state budget to acquire produce from Florida farmers. We are actively doing our part in acquiring whatever produce we can we can from local farmers”

Feeding Northeast Florida has also partnered with local caterers and restaurants to distribute food and give food industry workers a job. King explained to Melissa how this came about:

“The [PGA] donated the food that was not going to be used at the [PLAYERS]  tournament...so we suddenly had multiple truckloads of commercial-sized food and no real way to distribute it. We put our heads together and came up with a plan to find private funding to support some restaurant workers at about $10 an hour as independent contractors, utilizing their kitchen. And we provided the food and the distribution mechanism.”

Feeding Northeast Florida is running a virtual food drive for those in the community who want to help from home. 

Those in need of assistance can find help here by clicking on the webpage's “Get Help” button, or call (904) 513-1333

Sarah Glenn can be reached at newsteam@wjct.org, 904-358-6317