GOOD DEEDS • GOOD NEWS • GOOD IDEAS
Conagra Brands Foundation Awards Hunger-Free Summer Grants
Feeding America, the nation’s leading domestic hunger-relief organization, and Conagra Brands Foundation have partnered to provide more meals to kids when they need them most through the Hunger-Free Summer program. We received $40,000 to help nourish children all summer long in DeSoto County. 25 food banks across the nation have received a Hunger-Free Summer grants, funded by the Conagra Brands Foundation. #Hunger Heroes!
National Letter Carriers Food Drive: 100,000 lbs. of goodness
Once again, we participated in the annual “Stamp Out Hunger” food drive hosted by the National Association of Letter Carriers. Every second Saturday in May, residents are asked to put a bag of nonperishable food near their mailbox for pick up and in Sarasota County, close to 100,000 lbs. of food was collected. This year marked the 25th annual food drive which is the nation’s largest single-day effort of its kind. We are grateful for hardworking letter carriers and volunteers at six locations helped gather and sort the food for the Food Bank.
Hyatt Sarasota Serves Garden-Fresh Salsa at Sprout
Hyatt Chef Ryan Ward created a simple and delicious mango salsa recipe, made from the fresh ingredients that are given to our Sprout Route visitors. Each guest was able to try the dish, and take home the recipe and food so they can make it themselves. “We’re so proud of our Hyatt team members out in the community! We’re committed to working with All Faiths Food Bank to end hunger,” said Michelle Tarullo, HR director at Hyatt Regency Sarasota. For several years, Michelle and team members from the Hyatt have volunteered regularly in the sorting rooms at the Food Bank’s 20,000 square foot food distribution center.
Sprout Mobile Farm Market produce program is the first of its kind in the area, delivering fresh fruits and vegetables to families at sites throughout Sarasota and DeSoto Counties. Referred to as “Sprout Route,” much of the produce is donated by local retailers and farms, and provides nutritious food to families in need all year long.
Chef Ryan’s Mango Ceviche
• 1 English cucumber, diced, no seeds
• 1 small red onion, diced
• 1 pint of cherry tomatoes, quartered
• 1/2 pint yellow cherry tomatoes, quartered
• 1/2 bunch cilantro, finely chopped
• 1 cup of lime juice
• 2-3 cups mango, peeled, diced small
Directions: Combine all ingredients and allow to sit for 30 minutes. Serve with plantain or tortilla chips, makes about 4 servings.
Hyatt Sarasota Shines a Light on Hunger
As part of the Hyatt Regency’s annual Month of Service, the Hyatt will be lighting up the night with the words “fight hunger” projected on the side of their building in support of the Campaign Against Summer Hunger.
Ameriprise Financial Supports Mobile Pantry Program
As longtime volunteers and supporters of All Faiths Food Bank, Amerprise Financial recently provided a grant to support our Mobile Pantry program. Our Mobile Pantry has proven to be our most successful tool in getting food into the hands of the people who need it most. The Mobile Pantry program is serving the most vulnerable, families who struggle daily to have enough money for food. And who, daily, are often faced with making challenging choices. Thank you to Ameriprise Financial for helping to provide healthy solutions to end hunger in our community.
Campaign Against Summer Hunger
“What’s it Worth?” Sarasota Herald-Tribune, March 24 2017, editorial by Sandra Frank, CEO, All Faiths Food Bank
In its fourth year, the Campaign Against Summer Hunger has made incredible gains. We have delivered millions of meals to tens of thousands of children in our community over the past three summers. We have learned so much – about the hidden children among us, those whose information has eluded the census and school rosters. We’ve learned about the money struggles that parents face when they work in the service business in a seasonal town, and about how pervasive the problem of summer hunger is for the 40,000 children in our community who face it daily.
With everything we have learned, we still have questions that must be answered. Here’s one: What if we, as a society, were faced with the same decisions that families must make? If we could only feed one group of people, which group would it be? In the awful mathematics of this moment, where would we put our resources?
I say we should invest in our children. We should protect them, and provide for them, allowing them to have a fair shot at a good and productive life. If we don’t feed those kids who are at risk of daily hunger, they won’t get that shot. If we don’t take care of them now, not only will it impact them today and tomorrow, it will mean that they won’t be able to care for themselves when they are older. And it will be our fault.
We must not blame hungry children for being hungry. Instead, we should hold ourselves accountable, and do for them what good people have been doing since the beginning of history. We simply pay for them. Here’s why: If we have the courage to ask ourselves what it’s worth to us to feed hungry children, then we should have the courage to hear the answer: it is worth whatever it costs to ensure that children get the nutrition they need to be successful in their lives.
This is preventative nutrition – and an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
The job of feeding the children who will otherwise go hungry over the summer falls to those of us who can see that kids who don’t eat well during the summer are not likely to be prepared for school in the fall. We know that kids who don’t eat well during the summer are less likely to retain their summer school work and assigned reading. These children will grow up and become the workforce of tomorrow. They will attend Universities and become our teachers, coaches, technicians, engineers, doctors and nurses.
What is our Return on Investment when we feed hungry children? What’s in it for us? Some people would argue that virtue is its own reward, and that feeding hungry children is a virtuous act. For those people who need more concrete rewards, here’s what’s in it for you: Tens of thousands of children, in our community, playing, laughing, and having the kind of summer that you remember having. Tens of thousands of boys and girls who have forgotten their troubles and who get to just be kids for a little while. Tens of thousands of children ready to succeed upon their return to school in the autumn.
Campaign Against Summer Hunger, April 1-May 15, helps raise food and funds to feed children all summer long. Click here to learn more and to meet Emily and Mia; follow their story of friendship and hunger.
Celebrating National Dietitian’s Day
We are in the very fortunate position to have two registered dietitians on staff. Jenna Jones, MS RD, and Megan Armstrong, RD. Jenna is the Director of Health and Nutrition Education, and she focuses her energy and expertise on building nutrition policy and nutrition oversight to children’s programs like school pantries and weekend backpacks. Megan, whose role is Health and Nutrition Educator, focuses her energy on teaching children and their parents how to prepare nutritious meals using fresh produce, on a limited budget. She teaches Cooking Matters, a six-week class series that delivers nutrition education and hands-on cooking experience. Cooking Matters participants learn how to read food labels and make budget-friendly and nutritious choices at the grocery store, and how to cook healthy foods in a hands-on, fun environment.
By recognizing that hunger is a health issue, and guided by our mission: ‘together with our partners, we provide healthy solutions to end hunger in our community’ we consistently and strategically move toward providing healthier foods for our neighbors in need. While healthier food will help to feed the line, effective nutrition education and training will help to end the line. We celebrate the contributions of Jenna and Megan and dietitians everywhere. To learn more about our nutrition education programs, click here.
Volunteer Tom Costello Honored at Baltimore Orioles’ Spring Training Game
Long-time friend of All Faiths Food Bank, Tom Costello was recognized for generously donating time and funds with a “This is Birdland” Community Hero award. The Orioles played the Detroit Tigers at the annual food and fund drive game. Thank you Tom, the Baltimore Orioles, Ed Smith Stadium, and sports fans. Since 2011, more than 6,000 pounds of food and nearly $7,000 in funds have been collected at the yearly food drive. This helped us provide 8.5 million pounds of food, which equates to 7.1 million meals in 2016. More than 3,500 volunteers and 184 partner agencies and programs in Sarasota and DeSoto counties support the Food Bank’s mission of providing healthy solutions to end hunger in our community. Go Orioles!
The Joy of Giving: Dr. Manuel Sanguily
This is what it feels like to help feed our kids in need. Dr. Manuel Sanguily donated $1,000 through the Mary Jo Sanguily Fund of the Rotary Foundation to be used for children’s programming. We are fortunate to have our generous community support our children and families programs:
– School Pantries are school based and volunteer operated; they are stocked by All Faiths Food Bank and are open to students and their families on a regular basis.
– Our BackPack programs ensures that children at the highest risk of going hungry can pick up bags of kid-friendly food. We are able to feed thousands of children each week and have expanded the program with the support of the Sarasota County Library System, so it is available year round.
– Growing Healthy Kids brings fun nutrition education to pre-school students by way of puppet shows and games.
– Cooking Matters is a 6-week series of classes that teaches groups how to cook, eat and shop with budget in mind.
For more information about our food assistance programs, click here.
Feeding Families Thanks to the Libertore Fund for Children
Our School Pantry program has proven to be an effective and efficient way to reach children and families at their schools. We received a grant from the Libertore Fund for $5,000 to support the program. How do the kids feel about it? This picture was drawn by a first-grader at Garden Elementary. We have found that many of the kids who take food home for themselves or their families are proud to contribute to meal time. Parents are grateful as well, “Now we can sit down at the table for dinner, which is so good for our family. Thank you.”
Thank you Bank of America Client Foundation
We have received a grant award of $15,000 from Bank of America Client Foundation, Virginia White Clark Fund, Bank of America, N.A, Trustee to support our BackPack Program. Our BackPack Program provides bags of kid-friendly food to children all summer long and on Fridays during the school year so they can eat on weekends and holiday breaks. Over 3,000 students in 39 schools are reached each week. We are grateful to the Bank of America Client Foundation for touching the lives of children in our community.
Welcome to the Team!
We are thrilled to introduce Heather Cline as our new volunteer coordinator and Amber Lee, our new agency relations manager. Heather came to us from Tidewell Hospice and has an impressive record in leading hundreds of volunteers. Last year, more than 43,000 volunteer hours helped us feed children, families, seniors and veterans throughout Sarasota and DeSoto Counties. With more close to 60 community partners including the Salvation Army and Glasser-Schoenbaum Human Services Center, Amber has experience from both sides, having managed a food distribution agency in Pennsylvania, and extensive work serving people in need.
Thank you to Horizon Insurance Group
Representatives from Horizon Insurance Group came to the Food Bank for a visit and to dropped off a check in support of our programs. For the past seven years, Horizon Insurance has raised funds for twelve local charities, and one of them is Sarasota and DeSoto Counties’ only food bank. We are grateful for the support of all our corporate partners. Pictured are Sasha Aristy of Horizon Insurance, Elaina Mand of All Faiths Food Bank, and Lori Augustyniak of Horizon Insurance.
Rotary Supports School Pantry Programs
Dedicated volunteers from The Longboat Key Rotary Club help fund and operate All Faiths Food Bank’s School Pantry program at Tuttle Elementary. All Faith’s School Pantry program allows parents and students to select food and grocery items from a pantry set up on the school grounds and staffed by volunteers. A total of 13 pantries are in place during the school year, and provide food to as many as 800 families each week. Local Rotary Clubs have been major sponsors of several school pantries, and as part of their commitment to our community, volunteer all school year to serve students and their families who need food. Pictured are Rotarians Carol Erker, Candi Rosenthal, Teresa Simmons, Nancy Zimmerman and Nancy Rozance at Tuttle Elementary.
Success: Stone Foundation Challenge Matched!
Year-end giving met the donation challenge match offered by Joshua (Jim) and Eunice Stone Foundation. The Stone Foundation provided $90,000 in funds for the challenge and encouraged All Faiths Food Bank to rally supporters to match it. The donations will be used to support All Faiths’ Sprout Mobile Farm Market, BackPack Kids, and Veteran’s Appreciation programs. “We are so grateful to our friends at the Stone Foundation. The challenge demonstrates just what can be accomplished when a community unites against hunger,” said Food Bank CEO Sandra Frank. “Of course we serve our neighbors in need year-round, but this really helps get the New Year off to a great start.”
Enterprise “Fill Your Tank” campaign fills shelves across America
Cole Spedale, Rob Wilson, Kevin Parsons and Crystine Galvan of Enterprise Rent-A-Car Foundation came to All Faiths Food Bank to present an $8,000 donation to CEO Sandra Frank (second from right). The gift was one of many that were made to food banks across the nation as the result of their “Fill Your Tank” campaign that will be part of a $60 million planned gift distributed over a 10-year period.
Small Hands, Big Hearts
Out-of-Door Academy brings their students to our sorting rooms every month. We know they are here because the music and laughter spreads throughout our building, putting a smile on everyone’s face. We love having our young residents learn about helping others, and are grateful to the teachers and parents who teach them such an important lesson. If you have a group to bring, please click here.
Driving Hunger Away
Our Mobile Pantries allow us to load up a truck with canned goods, cereal, pasta, and other favorites like peanut butter and jelly, as well as frozen meat and fresh produce. The refrigerated trucks go to their scheduled stops, unload and provide food to visitors in need. Hundreds of families can be served at one stop, and we have several stops throughout Sarasota and DeSoto Counties. To help support this program, the TJX Foundation, on behalf of the T.J. Maxx Regional Targeting Program, has awarded us a grant. We are grateful for the support and appreciate our local T.J. Maxx team members who also come in to help sort and pack the food that will be loaded on the trucks.
Filling a Need
In food banking, we refer to regions with little or no access to nutritious food as “food deserts.” These can be rural or urban areas and often, residents there need our help. Thanks to a grant from the Harry Sudakoff Foundation, we will be loading up our trucks with fresh fruits and veggies, along with other staples, and bringing them directly to families in need. We are grateful to the Foundation and to our generous donors for supporting our work, joining us in providing nutritious solutions to hungry neighbors, for recognizing that hunger is a health issue and that together, we can make our community stronger. These three young ladies are taking a break, having helped us sort apples for one of our mobile distributions.
The Bank of America Charitable Foundation is helping us deliver healthy solutions to end hunger with a $15,000 grant award. This is Glenn Venton, driver and hunger hero showing off the gorgeous honeydew melons we are bringing to families in Sarasota and DeSoto Counties. Our programs like Sprout Mobile Farm Market and Mobile Pantries allow us to provide garden-fresh produce to our neighbors who may otherwise go without. Our mission is to “provide healthy solutions to end hunger in our community,” and we are grateful to Bank of America for their generosity and support of these programs.
NEW Community Pantry – Thank you Morgan Stanley and Feeding America
A new family food pantry program has been established thanks to funds awarded by Morgan Stanley, working with Feeding America. The pantry is held at the Roy McBean Boys & Girls Club and is open to the children who attend and their parents, on a regular basis. Styled after the our School Pantry program, the new pantry is stocked by All Faiths, operated by volunteers, and provides food to families when parents are picking up their children after work, making timing and logistics much easier on those families. This past year – also with the help of this grant – we increased the number of school pantries in our service area as we learned that this program is an efficient and effective way to offer nutritious food to families in need. Pictured are staffers Rebekah Enoch and John Livingston.
Every Monday morning a group of volunteers head to Jessica’s Organic Farms to pick seasonal fresh fruits and veggies. The food is then dropped off at All Faiths Food Bank so we can distribution them to families in Sarasota and DeSoto Counties. Organized by Transition Sarasota, thousands of pounds of produce have been donated, and because our mobile programs can deliver it quickly, we have proudly reduced food waste dramatically – by 90%! Like everything else we do, this success is due to wonderful community support. Thank you to our heroes in the fields. Pictured is Sprout Route driver Kelly Hill.
School Pantries – Keeping Families Healthy
The Roberta Leventhal Sudakoff Foundation has awarded us a $20,000 grant to help support our School Pantry programs. In 2016/2017 we expanded our school-based food distribution program and expect to have as many as 12 pantries at Title 1 schools throughout Sarasota County by spring. The schools assign a room or area on school grounds as the “pantry” and, with the help of volunteer groups, we keep the pantries stocked. They are scheduled to open regularly for students and their families who pick up groceries to take home. Pantries are sponsored and manned by generous groups including the Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee, Rotary Club, Kiwanis Clubs and others. Keeping the shelves stocked is often taken care of by a class that attends the school.
We’re Giving Thanks for #GivingTuesday
You are the apple of our eye, the spring bean in our step, and the best thing since sliced cucumbers! We made our match on #GivingTuesday and it is thanks to you. Now we can fill our trucks with fresh produce for families who need a little help. If you are a farmer, grocer or community garden organizer, we would like to talk to you about a partnership. Cut down food waste, help grow a healthier community and possibly get a break on taxes. Contact Ryan Beaman at RBeaman@allfaithsfoodbank.org or 941-315-7670 if you want to learn more about our produce programs.
Thank You Stone Foundation
We have received a grant award of $90,000 to help support our Sprout Route, BackPack and Veteran’s Pantry programs. We will purchase garden-fresh produce that will be given to visitors at our Sprout Mobile Farm Market, kid-friendly food to fill bags that children take home for weekends when they are at the highest risk of going hungry, and food – including meat and produce – that our local military veterans can pick up at our twice-monthly pantry. Veterans and pantry volunteers Terry Brown, Mike Mewshaw, Toby Digrugilliers and Chris Zenk help give out food to vets and their families.
We provided close to 7,000 Thanksgiving dinners to local families in need with the help of our hunger relief network partners, the support of the community, and a $35,000 grant from the Kathleen K Catlin Foundation Fund of the Community Foundation of Sarasota County. Families signed up in advance to reserve a dinner, made up of one frozen turkey, cranberry sauce, green beans, potatoes, gravy and stuffing then picked up the meals drive-through style at their assigned location. In all more than 26,000 people will be able to sit down to a Thanksgiving meal surrounded by family and friends. Large teams of volunteers helped at eight locations throughout Sarasota and DeSoto Counties. Pictured is Bill Fry, who joined us at Robart’s Arena where more than 450 dinners were distributed in the first hour.
Thank you Temple Emanu-El
Families from Temple Emanu-El volunteered in our sorting room for their annual Thanksgiving season service project. About 70 volunteers gathered to learn about hunger in Sarasota and DeSoto Counties, sort and pack donated food, and celebrate the Thanksgiving spirit by “giving back” to families in need in the community. The efforts of the Temple Emanu-El volunteers help make it possible for us to provide 6,071 Thanksgiving dinners to families that may otherwise go without. “We love having the opportunity to support the food bank this time of year, and to introduce our children to the importance of helping others and easing the burden of hunger in our community,” said Rabbi Elaine Glickman. Pictured are Helaina Rodarte and Maxwell Link.
Ringling College of Art and Design: Using their Talents for Good
For the second year in a row, we are the beneficiary of a collaboration with the talented youth attending Ringling College of Art and Design. Motion Design Department Head Ed Cheetham selected All Faiths Food Bank the “client” for a video project for students working towards their Motion Design major. To learn more about what we do, the students volunteered at our Mobile Pantry at the Glasser-Schoenbaum Center. The six-week project offers students the opportunity to use their talents to help raise awareness of hunger in the community in the form of a 30-second public service announcement (PSA). Last year, six of the 13 PSAs were shared with the Feeding America hunger relief network, and member food banks across the nation are able to use them in their communities. The students are also hosting a peanut butter and jelly food drive.
Summer School Pantries feed TWICE as many children
In spring, All Faiths Food Bank was awarded a $40,000 from the national hunger relief organization Feeding America, in conjunction with the ConAgra Foods Foundation’s Hunger-Free Summer Classic Grant. The funds supported the summer school pantries at the new Eagle Academies at Emma E. Booker, Tuttle, and Gocio Elementaries and at Alta Vista Elementary. All Faiths Food Bank’s School Pantries allows parents and students to select food and grocery items from a pantry set up on the school grounds. Expanding the School Pantry programs increased the number of children fed by double the amount of the previous year. Photo credit: Savannah Lauren.
Thank You Hunger and Humor Heroes!
We have been awarded $10,989 from the national hunger relief organization Feeding America, from funds raised through the star-studded NBC special “Red Nose Day” inspired and supported by Comic Relief U.K. This is the second year that All Faiths Food Bank has received an award through Red Nose Day. The funds will be used to support the Food Bank’s BackPack Program. The BackPack program provides bags of kid-friendly food to eligible students so that they have food to eat on weekends and school breaks.
Here we Grow!
We have been awarded $100,000 from The Walt Disney Company and General Mills Foundation/General Mills Inc. to help fund the expansion of our cooler system and support our produce model transformation. This will allow us to double our space for fresh produce, and establish an expanded and cohesive produce sourcing and distribution system, making it possible to provide an additional 3.5 million pounds of healthy fruits and vegetables to families in need. Ryan Beaman, our former Sprout Route manager was promoted to Director of Food Resource Management and he will work with local grocery stores, farms and distribution centers to source fresh produce that can be distributed within our community. We are grateful for the generosity of this grant and inspired by the impact it will have on hungry families in Sarasota and DeSoto Counties.
Keep on Truckin‘
Did you know that All Faiths Food Bank has a fleet of trucks that put thousands of miles on each month as they pick up donations and deliver food throughout Sarasota and DeSoto Counties? Thanks to a grant from the Edward Henry Lyman Charitable Fund of the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, we are able to maintain and repair our fleet so we can safely feed families in need.
The community can also help keep us running efficiently by dropping food off at any Goodwill location, or at our campus on Blaikie Court in Sarasota. Let us know if you would like a tour – we’d be happy to show you around.
Hyatt Regency Sarasota and Lighthouse of Manasota team up
All Faiths Food Bank welcomed staff from the Hyatt Regency Sarasota and Lighthouse Manasota to sort produce. 2,000 pounds of apples, sweet potatoes, zucchini, oranges and lemons were packed and prepared for delivery directly to families in need in Sarasota and DeSoto Counties. Michelle Tarullo, Human Resources Director at the Hyatt, arranged for volunteers at Lighthouse Manasota to join them on their regular day of volunteering. Michelle worked with Lighthouse Manasota Executive Director, Lisa Howard to bring the two groups together. “Both All Faiths Food Bank and Lighthouse of Manasota have made significant impact in the community and we are proud to watch our partnerships and their outreach continue to flourish,” said Tarullo. Lighthouse of Manasota provides specialized training to individuals experiencing vision loss. They acquire new techniques using tools, vision aids and technology to regain independence and confidence in their own abilities.
To help promote September as Hunger Action Month, Hyatt Regency Sarasota again lit up the night sky on the side of their building. Now that’s taking action.
Feeding America Mobilizing the Public 2016 Keynote Speakers Recap
Feeding America is one of the most significant charities in the United States. Its network of 220 food banks, including our own All Faiths Food Bank, leads the fight against hunger which impacts nearly 50 million Americans, and one in five children. Keynote speaker Seth Siegel described hunger as an ‘invisible crisis,’ a problem made more pernicious by the fact that it cannot be seen. Each of the three keynote speakers at the three-day national conference spoke brilliantly, and each presented a point of view that can enhance what we do, and how we do it.
Asha Curran set the tone of Mobilizing the Public. Her approach to exploring difficult questions is both creative and pragmatic. Her story of launching Giving Tuesday with a 60-day run-up was heartening. Ms. Curran explained that they knew they would face challenges, but that the insight they gained by just jumping in and doing it was well worth the risk of the mistakes they knew they would make. Her message is that fearless innovation, while challenging, is worth the all headaches.
Artis Stevens is an inspiring man. His expertise in Non Profit Marketing is undeniable, and the excellent campaign he created for 4H belied the incredible quantity and quality of the research he and his team conducted. Artis Stevens knows how to build a brand. His most interesting comment on brand came at the end of the presentation, when he challenged us to look at the market differently. He said, “…we see that the business world has changed when the biggest hotel chain doesn’t own any real estate, the biggest taxi company doesn’t own any cars and the largest media company doesn’t produce any content. AirBnB. Uber. Facebook.”
Seth Siegel spoke to us on the last morning of the conference. He had thoughts and ideas specifically about the network of food banks that comprise Feeding America. He looked at us and told us that by working to feed hungry people we were doing some of the most important work that we, as humans, can do. That felt great to hear. He made three exceptionally meaningful points. First, he said that ignoring the issue of hunger in our own communities is a moral stain. Second, Mr. Siegel argued that the moral stain is a symptom of a broader cynicism in our country, which he sees as a most dangerous sentiment. Our work, he said, provides hope to those who may be struggling. His third moving point was that supporting and contributing to the cause of ending hunger is the moral obligation of those who can afford to do so.
Each of the keynote speakers brought a unique set of ideas. Asha Curran kicked it off by encouraging us to be bold, and to learn from our missteps. Artis Stevens inspired us with his own work and then showed us three examples of a brand new landscape in the business world. To conclude the Mobilizing the Public Conference, Seth Siegel brought passion about our cause, and about his own work, reminding and appreciating us for the good we do.
Of course, we all know that there is so much more we could be doing. But that is what it means to work in Food Banking.
THANK YOU! The Giving Partner Challenge helped us raise more than $150,000. We couldn’t be more proud of our donors and community.
Willa “Jean” Ellis sits in a wheelchair in the shade near All Faiths Food Bank’s Mobile Pantry truck. She has been waiting since 6:30 a.m. for a food distribution that begins at 10:30 a.m. She proudly holds up a card with the number three on it, meaning she will be the third in line to pick up food that is being unloaded from the refrigerated truck, and set out on tables for the 100-plus families that need food. Having had to take early retirement, she has struggled with a rare kidney disease for years and goes to dialysis regularly, “This food means so much to me and the families that come here,” she says. “I am supposed to be on a special diet and it is a lot of help to get fruit and veggies.” Jean says her cousin and neighbors help her get to the Mobile Pantry at the local church. “I do have to get here early because getting around is hard. Someday I will be number one,” she added with a laugh.
This is just one story, one of thousands from a visitor at All Faiths Food Bank’s Mobile Pantry program. We couldn’t provide healthy food like garden-fresh fruits and veggies to our neighbors in need without the generosity of our community. On September 20, 2016, we invite you to be the one to bring hope and food to people like Jean by making a donation during the 24-hour Giving Challenge. The annual Giving Challenge is presented by the Community Foundation of Sarasota County with giving strengthened by The Patterson Foundation, as well as support from Manatee Community Foundation, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, William G. and Marie Selby Foundation, and the Herald-Tribune Media Group. Last year, All Faiths received close to $70,000 during the challenge, and the funds helped us provide food and fresh produce to children, families, seniors and veterans throughout Sarasota and DeSoto County.
The Giving Challenge is not only a beacon of community collaboration and support, but by giving hundreds of organizations one voice for one day, the message magnifies exponentially with amazing results. Shortly after the 2015 Challenge, we received a note from a donor saying that they gave because in the past they needed our food, and we were there for them. Now back on their feet, they have joined a community of caring and compassionate individuals, the ones who will make this year’s Giving Challenge a success. Mark your calendar for September 20 at noon, and get ready to be the one!
Photo credit: Savannah Lauren
An open letter to Sarasota – a community committed to helping our children thrive:
I’m writing this letter to share with you that Saturday, August 6, was the kind of day that truly demonstrates the community we share. All Faiths Food Bank maintains thousands of relationships in order to make food available to those who need it, and each of these partners, contributors, donors, and organizations plays an essential role in helping us to live our mission. The Summer Food Program would not be possible without incredible contributions from hundreds of community partners and nearly 3,000 individual donors, and very high levels of collaboration between program partners. Our community was in rare form on that day. Tiny Hands Foundation hosted a Back to School Backpack Brigade, seven churches in Sarasota county hosted Days of Hope events, and Sarasota County Public Libraries held an End of Summer Family Barbecue in Northport, which was provided by Sarasota County Schools Food & Nutrition Services (FNS).
FNS, which is an essential piece of the Summer Food Program, has been feeding children and families hot meals at 52 BreakSpot sites in Sarasota and Desoto Counties. Additionally, eight Sarasota County Libraries have been summer backpack sites, and have made kid-friendly food available to any child who might need it. This year, three of our public libraries worked with FNS and were able to serve hot lunches to children all summer long. FNS and the County Libraries are absolutely crucial to the success of our Summer Food Programs.
As summer comes to a close, the Sarasota community is rallying to get every child ready for school. Sarasota County has repeatedly demonstrated its strength and support for the cause of hungry children, and the summer of 2016 is further proof that this issue is important to our community. Which brings me to August 6.
The Tiny Hands Foundation hosted its Third Annual Back-to-School Backpack Brigade to give away 1,600 backpacks full of school supplies to children in need in our community. All Faiths Food Bank contributed a bag of kid-friendly food, which contains approximately six meals, for each backpack. We feel that Tiny Hands Foundation is a great partner for us, and they are great for our community. We have worked with Tiny Hands on several initiatives, and they do incredible work. The Backpack Brigade event, which was held at Boys & Girls Club of Sarasota County, expects 600 volunteers on site, including hundreds from local children’s organizations. When we spoke with Rod Khleif, Founder and President of Tiny Hands Foundation, he told us that every child deserves the basic supplies they need to be successful in school, and that they are always very grateful to work with All Faiths Food Bank.
Incredibly, Saturday’s activities also included seven churches in and around Sarasota that hosted Days of Hope back-to-school events. At Days of Hope, children in need receive much of what is essential for them to begin their school years with dignity, including medical, vision and dental exams, gift cards for shoes and clothes, and bags of personal care items and school supplies. Days of Hope is organized by Hope Kids Community, an organization that raises awareness, rallies the community and builds ongoing relationships with children and families who are homeless and in need. As one of many community partners of Hope Kids Community, All Faiths Food Bank provides nutritious food to those churches that host Days of Hope events. Pam Hawn, Executive Director of Hope Kids Community, is powerfully motivated. This year, through Days of Hope, 20 churches will have served more than 2,200 children.
August 6 also marked the official end of the Sarasota County Library System’s Summer Food Programs, and there was a family friendly barbecue and picnic in Northport to celebrate the success of the program. Held at Northport Public Library, the picnic celebrated the reading achievements of children by awarding certificates and prizes to kids who spent the summer reading. FNS provided, cooked and served food to attendees. Additionally, All Faiths Food Bank’s Eat This Bus was there to share bags of kid-friendly food, free books for kids, and lend its famous bubble machine to add to the celebration.
While the Summer Food Program does not officially conclude until September, kids in Sarasota County return to school on August 22. Every person and organization that has played a role in the Summer Food Program is essential to its success. From the donors and investors in our Campaign Against Summer Hunger, to the county organizations, like FNS, County Libraries and SCAT, we know that it is truly a community-wide effort that makes it possible for vulnerable children to get the help they need.
We will have data on our Summer Food Program in a few weeks. As I look at the example of August 6, the strength of our community and the will to protect and nurture all of our children simply cannot be doubted.
With deepest gratitude, Sandra Frank, CEO All Faiths Food Bank
Photos by Savannah Lauren Photography
Summer Partners Nationally Recognized
Sarasota County Schools Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) plays a crucial role in feeding children during the summer by providing nutritionally balanced, served meals at numerous locations in both Sarasota and Desoto Counties. This free meal service is provided to children 18 and under at ‘Summer Breakspot’ locations, and can be found at schools, parks, YMCAs and other places where kids spend time over the summer. All Faiths supports FNS efforts by sharing equipment, marketing and promoting Summer Breakspots, and using its administrative, logistical and communication resources to support and expand the program. We congratulate FNS for being recognized as one of the best administrators of the USDA Summer Breakspot program, nationwide. Photo credit: Savannah Lauren.
Eat This Bus!
The Venice Yacht Club Charitable Foundation held a ribbon cutting ceremony in July to celebrate Eat This Bus, a new program that finds kids who can’t find food. Thanks to the Foundation’s generosity, this a colorful and memorable converted school bus will deliver bags filled with kid-friendly to children in South Sarasota and Desoto Counties. Beau Wilberding, Senior Director of Marketing at All Faiths Food Bank, Jim DeNiro, Yacht Club Commodore, Michael Nemser, Foundation Chair, introduced the new bus to an enthusiastic crowd of Venice Yacht Club members. The bus is another expansion of the fleet of vehicles that All Faiths Food Bank uses to deliver healthy solutions to end hunger in our community.
Because of the high level of community awareness of our Campaign Against Summer Hunger, we were selected to pilot an online summer food referral program to connect children and families in need to summer food programs in Sarasota and Desoto Counties. A member of the Feeding America network, we are one of eleven food banks participating in this pilot program nationally, and funded by the Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation. Feeding America developed a Google Adwords campaign designed to help online searches for finding food. During the summer, when children face hunger more than any other time of year, the food banks’ Google maps make it possible to find pantries, backpacks and meals.
Over the years, we have learned that the stories of our clients are valuable to us, our supporters, and our community. They inspire and motivate us to keep finding new ways to improve or expand our programs. Plus, we are reminded of the gratitude felt by the families we serve. Professional photographer Savannah Lauren has volunteered her time and talents this summer to take beautiful pictures of clients as we gathered their stories. We know that whenever people have an opportunity to hear a success story, or learn how critical our work is in the community, we garner support from those able to give, or someone who needs food learns that we are here to help them. Thank you Savannah. Check out her work at savannahlauren.com.
Thank You Junior League
The Junior League of Sarasota supports our work year round and recently presented us with a check for $4,550. This money will go toward purchasing food warming and storage carts, which will allow us to work more effectively with Sarasota County Schools Food & Nutrition Services to expand summer meal programs for children. Volunteers from the Junior League generously give of their time as well and regularly visit All Faiths Food Bank’s Food Distribution Center to sort donated food.
Welcome Sprout II Thanks to The Barancik Foundation
All Faiths Food Bank was awarded the largest grant in its 26-year history from the Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation. The three-year grant of $626,255 will develop a sustainable produce donation and distribution system and expand the Food Bank’s Sprout Mobile Farm Market program. With the success of the first Sprout Route in 2014, and thanks to this grant, a second Sprout was purchased and hits the streets in summer of 2016. We continue to build new ways to feed and nourish the families that need our help, and now we can provide more fresh produce than ever before. Pictured with the new truck are Kelly Hill and Ryan Beaman, who will be making sure Sprout reaches the neighborhoods of highest need.
Feeding America with ConAgra Foods Foundation support Summer School Pantries
All Faiths Food Bank was awarded a $40,000 grant from the national hunger relief organization Feeding America, in conjunction with the ConAgra Foods Foundation’s “Hunger-Free Summer” Program Grant. The funds support the summer school pantries at the new Eagle Academies at Emma E. Booker, Tuttle, and Gocio Elementaries and at Alta Vista Elementary. All Faiths Food Bank’s School Pantries allows parents and students to select food and grocery items from a pantry set up on the school grounds. Alta Vista Elementary is home to the nationally acclaimed Eagle Academy, a summer program that enriches a child’s education by focusing on social and emotional skills, as well as reading, language development, mathematics and art. It strengthens parenting skills and promotes successful student achievement through parent involvement and its Parent University. Following each class, families were invited to pick up food to take home.
Battle of the Big 10
Six of the Big 10 alumni clubs went head-to-head in a food sorting competition at All Faiths Food Bank for the second consecutive year. Cory Boff (pictured with Fran Talley) past-president and board member of Ohio State Alumni Club and Bill Tiffan, president of the University of Michigan’s club, began the friendly competition at last year. Now an annual event, this year, in addition to Michigan and Ohio, volunteers represented Purdue University, Michigan State, Indiana University, and the University of Wisconsin. Indiana University won the award for the team that sorted and packed the most food per person, and Ohio State accepted the award for bringing in the highest number of participants to help. In all, the teams packed an amazing 42,054 pounds of food equating to more than 35,000 meals, or enough to feed 390 children for one full month. Are you a Big-10 Alum? Contact Cory Boff at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn about joining the competition.
Goldie Feldman Academy Harvest for Sprout
As part of the project-based curriculum at Hershorin Schiff Community Day School (formerly Goldie Feldman Academy), students learn about agriculture and horticulture in a Sustainability Garden and Outdoor Classroom. Donated by Ed and Mimi Rosenthal, the garden provides a place for students to learn, explore and contribute to a cleaner and greener Sarasota. “Partnering with All Faiths Food Bank exemplifies GFA’s service based initiatives here at the school and demonstrates to our students how important it is to give back to the community,” said Robin Sweeting, K-8 Director at Goldie Feldman Academy. Students harvested fennel, carrots, kale and other veggies right from the garden and then loaded up our Sprout Mobile Farm Market truck which left for one of its regular fresh produce distributions.
Community Partnerships Make the Community Stronger
Each year the Suncoast Partnership to End Homelessness spends a weekend collecting information about Sarasota County’s homeless residents by talking to them. This means going to where ever they are then compiling the data that will be used to better address the issues and develop practical procedures to best serve them. All Faiths Food Bank provides snacks and nonperishable food to be packed in a goodie bag for each person that they find who may need help. Pictured are volunteers Michelle Rinaca and Andrea Andrews who spent a full day making up bags that also included toiletries and first aid products.
Publix Provides Year-Round Support
All Faiths Food Bank and nonprofits across the state welcomed more than 4,500 Publix staff members who gave of their time and talent to support local organizations that serve people in need as part of their second annual “Publix Serves Day” initiative. Publix staffers volunteered their time at more than 130 projects, all of which address either hunger or homelessness. In Sarasota County, close to 100 team members volunteered with All Faiths Food Bank. “Publix has been a great friend and supporter of All Faiths Food Bank for years,” said Food Bank CEO Sandra Frank. “They donate food, funds, and their time, and it means so much to us and to the families we serve.”
Kids Helping Kids
Children as young as three helped sort fresh fruit and vegetables at All Faiths Food Bank to be loaded onto the Sprout Mobile Farm Market truck. Today’s volunteers were families that are part of the Sarasota Manatee Village Learners, a collaborative of home schoolers who have been helping at the Food Bank for close to two years. The group of about 30, with more than half of them children, learned about helping others, working as a team, and that eating fruits and vegetables is important for everybody.
Gocio Elementary’s Annual Wax Museum raises funds for All Faiths
Guests who attended the annual Human Wax Museum at Gocio Elementary met such luminaries as Barack and Michelle Obama, Gus Grissom, Abe Lincoln, and Karl Benz. The annual event, put on by fifth-graders, raises funds for All Faiths Food Bank. More than 50 students selected a character to represent in history, created a “look,” and learned about their character’s lives in preparation for the fundraiser. As coins were dropped in their individual collection cups, they came to life and shared their stories. The funds will be used to support All Faiths Food Bank’s food assistance programs at the school.
Pine View School has high rankings and big hearts
Not only did Pine View School earn a place in the top 10 high schools in the nation from U.S. News and World Report, they donated $7,500 in gift cards to us by collecting Campbell’s labels. You helped too. We cut the labels off of donated food. Since Campbell’s is ending the program soon, we never collected enough for our new van, but we are so proud of our partners. Pictured: Box Top Committee Chair Phyllis Weitzner, our own Beau Wilberding and Pine View Principal Dr. Stephen Covert.
We did it! We’ve earned AIB membership.
AIB International has awarded the prestigious membership status to us having earned a score of 920 out of a possible 1,000. AIB is an industry leader in food safety standards and provides assistance with regulations, equipment, and product evaluations, as well as food safety and storage worldwide. Ronnie Coats and John Livingston led our team to victory and are pictured with AIB Inspector Peg Ray.
Out-of-Door Academy: Jelly wins!
More than 1,000 jars were collected for All Faiths Food Bank thanks to the 2016 Peanut Butter and Jelly Competition held by students at the Out-of-Door Academy. The food drive is part of the school’s participation in All Faiths Food Bank’s Campaign Against Summer Hunger and one of many annual Spirit Day activities of games and competition at its Lakewood Ranch campus. Last year the White Team (peanut butter) beat the Blue Team (jelly) in a surprising upset, so jelly fans were celebrating their most recent victory.
Kiwanis Foundation supports Campaign Against Summer Hunger
The Siesta Key Kiwanis Club’s Dan Lundy presented All Faiths Food Bank’s COO John Livingston with a donation of $10,000 for the Campaign Against Summer Hunger. We are so very fortunate to have such generous community support.
Cardinal Mooney & Dreams are Free
We welcomed high school students from Cardinal Mooney who teamed up with Bishop Nevins Academy Dreams are Free special needs middle school students for a day of volunteering to help feed the hungry. More than 70 students worked side-by-side and sorted enough food for more than 2,000 meals, and packed 1,800 bags of green beans. We are inspired by their teamwork and enthusiasm.
Walt Disney Company and Feeding America provide produce program support
We are so fortunate to have received a grant to help develop and execute our produce sourcing and distribution plans. We know how much poor diets can have a negative impact on health so we are committed to providing fresh produce to families in need. Our Mobile Pantry and Sprout Mobile Farm Market programs help make our community healthy and strong. Thank you Walt Disney and Feeding America.
We had such a great time with the talented dancers who volunteered all week long in our sorting rooms. They belong to the Jewish Federation of Sarasota Manatee’s Tel Mond Dancers. We even got a few of them to strike a pose in our sorting room. We are so grateful for the ongoing support of our friends at the Jewish Federation. Striking a pose are dancers Amit Farag, Lior Silberman and Noa Eliyahu.
The Mosaic Company has awarded All Faiths Food Bank a $65,000 grant as part of the company’s commitment to hunger relief in communities where they operate. The funds will be used to expand the Food Bank’s BackPack Program and increase capacity at Mobile Pantries, in order to provide food to more children and families in need in DeSoto County. We could not do this without the amazing generosity of The Mosaic Company.
Kudos to Heritage Oaks Golf & Country Club
Residents at Heritage Oaks, committed to All Faiths BackPack Kids program, challenged their friends and neighbors to donate, then also to ask three other people to donate, and so on. This initiative, combined with golf events, has made it possible to fund food for 112 students every weekend during the entire school year. In addition to fundraising, the “Heritage Oaks BackPack Program” team comes to All Faiths Food Bank regularly to fill bags with kid-friendly food that will keep students from going hungry over weekends and holidays. Each time the pack, they fill almost 2,000 bags. All Faiths Food Bank plans to provide more than 125,000 in 2016 and we deeply appreciate the support of this wonderful group.
Village Learners Volunteer
Children as young as three helped sort fresh fruit and vegetables at All Faiths Food Bank to be loaded onto the Sprout Mobile Farm Market truck. Today’s volunteers were families that are part of the Sarasota Manatee Village Learners, a collaborative of home schoolers who have been helping at the Food Bank for close to two years. Sisters Alyssa and Sienna Wagner (left and right) and sisters Lily and Isabel Dibble learned about helping others and working as a team. Bring your group – contact email@example.com to schedule.
Bank of America Client Foundation Supports Mobile Pantries
A $25,000 grant from the Bank of America Client Foundation, Virginia White Clark Fund, Bank of America, N.A., Trustee will be used to feed families in need in Sarasota and DeSoto Counties who visit our Mobile Pantry Program. The Mobile Pantry program has become one of the most effective and efficient ways to provide healthy solutions to hunger in its service area. Refrigerated trucks go from the Food Banks 20,000 square-foot warehouse directly to hungry clients, bringing fresh produce and meat along with standard nonperishable food staples. The Pantries can provide healthy eating choices to as many as 300 visitors in less than two hours and as the need for food increases, additional sites and routes are added to neighborhoods of highest risk of going hungry.
All Faiths Food Bank’s Cooking Matters class was held at Children First in North Port where kids learned how to make healthy yogurt cupcakes and other dishes for preparing their own snacks or meal. Cooking Matters is a hands-on cooking class that teaches students to prepare food with healthy ingredients and can be customized for groups of all ages and dietary restrictions. Pictured is Volodymyr Saryna from Children First learns how to make yummy yogurt cupcakes. To learn more about the class click here.
We are thrilled to have been awarded the largest grant in our 26-year history from the Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation. The three-year grant of $626,255 will develop a sustainable produce donation and distribution system and expand the Food Bank’s Sprout Mobile Farm Market program. Providing fresh produce is a priority and a challenge for us, due to the seasonal nature of the program. We are committed to providing healthy options to families in need and this grant award will help make our community stronger and healthier.
In another new community collaboration, Walgreens’ pharmacy technicians attended several of our Mobile Pantries to offer free flu shots. Held in five locations in Sarasota County and one in DeSoto County, this partnership will help make our community healthier. Our goals include continuing to build relationships with agencies that can help provide services for families who attend our food distributions. We are addressing the root cause of hunger, so that people who make desperate choices like buying medicine, paying for rent, or buying food, can work towards stability and independence. Jennifer Hiles and Walid Sleit from Walgreens helped out at our distribution in Arcadia.
Roberta Leventhal Sudakoff Foundation Grant Award
The Roberta Leventhal Sudakoff Foundation awarded us a grant of $36,000 to help support our Mobile Pantry Program. “We are so grateful to the Foundation,” said CEO Sandra Frank. “Our Mobile Pantries allow us to reach neighborhoods with the highest need and the least access to healthy options. Thanks to this grant, we will continue to provide the food to help stabilize families and give them a healthier future.” The Mobile Pantry Program utilizes refrigerated trucks that bring food directly from its warehouse to families in need, which allows for a greater – and more nutritious – distribution of food. Jenna Jones, Chuck McLinch and Daysha Spires are ready to help set up at Booker High Mobile Pantry.
Volunteers touch the future
This group comes in regularly and fills more than 2,000 bags with kid-friendly food so students will have something to eat over the weekend when they may otherwise go without. Thanks to them and a grant from Costco in partnership with Feeding America, kids will return to school ready to learn on Monday. In 2015, we gave out 103,000 bags of food to children and couldn’t have done it without such generosity of time and funds.
Walt Disney Company and Feeding America provide produce planning grant
We know that hunger is a health issue and are committed to providing fresh produce to families in need throughout Sarasota and DeSoto Counties. This requires planning, sourcing, and excellent timing so that our visitors can bring home fruit and veggies to prepare and share at home. We are grateful to Feeding America and Walt Disney Company for awarding us a Strategic Produce Planning grant. Our clients who visit our pantries and Sprout Mobile Farm Market share their gratitude with us at every stop. Together, we are providing healthy solutions and a healthier future for our community.
We celebrated our dedicated and hard-working volunteers at a luncheon held at Temple Emanu-el with a delicious meal provided by Mattison’s. Hunger Hero Awards were given for categories such as Mobile Pantry, Child Hunger, Corporate Outreach and Youth Group. More than 3,000 volunteers provided 35,000 hours of support in 2015 to help All Faiths Food Bank feed residents in Sarasota and DeSoto Counties. “Our volunteers are the heart of the Food Bank,” said Sandra Frank, CEO. “They are amazing and generous people who work tirelessly, and we are grateful for their efforts every day.” Deb Coleman and Leigh Wilcox accepted the award for SMH, Community Outreach Partners of the Year. To see the Facebook photo album of the event, please click here.
Joshua and Eunice Stone Foundation Programs Grant
Our goal is to feed hungry children, families, seniors and veterans who need our help, while ensuring that they have access to healthy, nutritious food. The Joshua and Eunice Stone Foundation awarded us a $90,000 grant for our Sprout Mobile Farm Market, Veteran’s Appreciation, and BackPack programs. Thanks to their generosity, we are able to increase the amount of fresh produce we provide, and continue to give our most vunerable students access to healthy food year round.
Tiny Hands Holiday Basket Brigade
We were so happy to provide turkey dinners with all the trimmings to visitors to the annual Holiday Basket Brigade at the Boys and Girls Club of Sarasota. This Tiny Hand’s Foundation event showcases the wonderful collaboration of community partners to help families in Sarasota County. The participating organizations included Mothers Helping Mothers, Guardian ad Litem, The Safe Children Coalition, Sarasota Family YMCA, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Sun Coast, Second Chance Last Opportunity and Hope Kids Community. What a way to make the holidays special for everyone involved.
941 Cares hosts Charity Bartending event
Dr. Dean Stringer was a celebrity bartender (here with event organizer Andrew Polin) at a wonderful evening at the White Buffalo Saloon in Sarasota. Dennis Zink, the chair of Manasota SCORE and Christine McLarty, reporter and anchor at SNN6 were also on hand to help support the Food Bank. Food and dancing were provided by the White Buffalo, and guests brought canned goods along with them. To see the coverage on SNN, check out the You Tube video: http://bit.ly/941CaresSNNevent. Special thanks to Andrew Polin for all his hard work!
School Pantries = Accessibility
We keep food stocked at schools where we know the students’ families struggle to make ends meet. On a regular basis, volunteers open the “store” and students and their families can come by and get food to take home. Thanks to the generosity of Libertore Fund for Children, an additional gift of $5,000 helped us offer frozen meat and fresh produce along with staples like soup, cereal, and our most requested items, peanut butter and jelly. We are grateful to the community that is helping us open as many as eight school pantries in the next school year.
Publix Supermarkets and super customers
We received more than 117,000 pounds of food from Publix! This incredible donation was made possible by you, when you checked out and said “yes, I’d like to help feed the hungry.” We are so grateful, that is almost 100,000 meals and will help so many families in our area. Publix has been a longtime supporter of our work in the community and we appreciate their efforts.
We are so grateful to the Rotary Club Foundation for their ongoing support of our BackPack Kids and School Pantry Programs. They purchased these custom shopping bags for students and families who visit their school pantry. It’s green and helps make it easier to carry their groceries. Jenna Jones, our director of nutrition education posed with the new bag.
Bowling for food with Coldwell Banker
Coldwell Banker makes giving fun. They hosted a bowling night benefit and raised over $8,000 for the Food Bank!!! Pictured is our own Aundria Castleberry and Coldwell Regional Manager Sue Wolverton.
All Faiths Food Bank welcomed the Robertson Reunion clan who stopped by to volunteer in our sorting rooms. With all the activities surrounding holidays and family time, typically the sorting rooms are quiet, but this year they were alive with action. “For 25 years our family gathers in Florida for a reunion,” said Judy Robertson Horner. “Together we choose an activity that helps the less fortunate in the community, and this year we are happy to be helping All Faiths feed families here.”
With the support of the community, and a $35,000 grant from the Kathleen K. Catlin Foundation of the Community Foundation of Sarasota County to provide turkeys and food for the upcoming holidays, All Faiths Food Bank distributed close to 7,000 Thanksgiving dinners to families in need in Sarasota and DeSoto Counties. “This again showcases what can be accomplished when a community unites against hunger,” said Food Bank CEO Sandra Frank. “Our generous friends at the Community Foundation of Sarasota County helped us bring the joy of Thanksgiving to so many. We do have much to be thankful for.” Pictured are All Faiths’ staffers Ronnie Coats and Nicole Double.
Temple Emanu-El High Holidays benefit the Food Bank
Our friends at Temple Emanu-El hosted a High Holidays Food and Fund Drive collected more than $6,500 and 3,200 pounds of food! Their congregation is committed to social action and supports All Faiths’ year round, including bringing families together for a day of sorting and packing food at the Food Bank. Pictured is staffer Elaina Mand accepting a gift from Helen Rosenberg of Temple Emanu-El in Sarasota.
Junior League and SOLVE Maternity Homes team up
All Faiths Food Bank’s Cooking Matters classes were held at SOLVE Maternity Homes in Englewood to provide a series of hands-on cooking classes to teach students to make meals and shop with nutrition and budget in mind. Residents of SOLVE in Manatee County were car-pooled to Englewood to participate and the students agreed that their favorite class was the shopping excursion. On the last day of class, the Junior League of Sarasota presented slow-cookers to all of the students to help them continue to use their newly acquired skills in healthy and budget-minded meal preparation. Pictured is Junior Leaguer Beth Manley and student Shyla Clemons.
Rotary offers challenge & match!
Your company has been challenged! Rotary Club has challenged organizations to adopt an All Faiths Food Bank School Pantry and will match funds up to $20,000! The “Feed a Student, Fuel the Brain” initiative will help us expand our program that allows students and their families access to food and groceries at school. Rotary Foundation president Jim Henry announced the challenge at a recent Emma E. Booker school pantry. Pictured is Asst. Principal Holly Heim, Jim Henry, Foundation board member Joan Verizzo, Rotary club member Dick Rehmeyer, and Rotary Club of Sarasota President Vicente Medina. To make your dedicated gift, please refer to the Rotary Club Challenge in the comment section when you check out online, or call 941-379-6333. Learn more – PDF
Kates Foundation funds Cooking Matters classes for Eagle Academy
The Kates Foundation awarded All Faiths Food Bank a $5,000 grant to help fund its Cooking Matters class which provides fun, hands-on cooking and shopping classes to groups of students of all ages. The funds help buy the food that is prepared, and enough food for a meal for a family of four that is sent home with students every week. The Cooking Matters class was extended as part of the Food Bank’s summer food assistance program, geared especially to reach students and their families when school is out.
WPI goes orange!
World Precision Instruments (WPI) is a leading global provider of powerful, cutting-edge laboratory solutions for the life sciences and they happen to be right down the street from the Food Bank. We are grateful for their support year round, but love their enthusiasm when it comes to ‘going orange’ for Hunger Action Month.
Students from Out of Door Academy (ODA) on Siesta Key came in to help sort produce for our Sprout Mobile Farm Market. Pictured are second-grader Caitlin, fourth-grader Julia, and our youngest visitor of the day, Hannah, kindergarten student. ODA supports the food bank through events like “can-struction,” plus they host an annual “Peanut Butter and Jelly Jam Slam” to keep us stocked up on our most requested items.
We were honored to have the teens from Up with People, the international group of 100 musical entertainers from 20 countries that travel the world, doing good work wherever go. During their visit to Sarasota County, they stopped in for a few hours to help in All Faiths Food Bank’s sorting rooms. The volunteers inspected donated food, sorted it, and then boxed it up, ready to be loaded on one of All Faiths’ trucks for distribution. At the end of their visit they will perform two music and dance shows for audiences at the Venice Performing Arts Center.
Staff and attorneys of Boyer & Boyer, P.A. spent their afternoon inspecting, sorting non-perishables, and packing boxes of food for distribution to our neighbors in need. Before they starting working in our sorting rooms, they dropped off food from their food drive and a check to help support the work that we do. We are grateful for their dedication and generosity.
All Faiths Receives “excellent” From the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
The University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences at Sarasota Extension reported “excellent job” when siting work of All Faiths’ Director of Nutrition Education, Jenna Jones, and specifically our BackPack Kids program. The University of Florida, IFAS Extension Office along and the Family and Consumer Sciences Department and the Family Nutrition Program, have partnered with All Faith’s Food Bank on several projects for more than a decade including BackPack Kids and Growing Healthy Kids programs, School Pantries, Cooking Matters in the Community, and Summer Food Programs. Congratulations Jenna!
And the Winner is…
All Faiths Food Bank was named Best Nonprofit in Sarasota County by the online weekly publication, Macaroni Kids. A national newsletter that focuses on all things child and parent, the Sarasota Venice publication hosted a Golden Daisy contest for local businesses. Voting was open to the public and winning categories included Best Summer Camp (Circus Sarasota) and Best Ice Cream (Big Olaf’s Creamery). Thank you to everyone who voted for us! We are honored.
Sheriff Deputies Help Out at Booker High
We welcomed volunteers from the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office at a recent Mobile Pantry distribution at Booker High School. Visitors were helped with their selection of canned goods, frozen meat, bread and fresh produce by Deputy Mariah Piper (pictured) and Sergeant Jason Mruczek. The distribution, which served more than 200 families, was one of many new Mobile Pantry stops scheduled during the summer to help feed children and families when school is out. Thank you Deputies!
The Oaks Club staff provided for a very special Mobile Pantry distribution at Riverview High School when visitors to the Pantry were met by staffers ready to serve up a BBQ dinner spectacular from tables lined up with stainless steel chafing dishes. Residents who struggle with hunger had an opportunity to sit down and enjoy a traditional BBQ meal prepared by Executive Chef James Pampinella and his staff. The menu included summertime favorites such as pulled pork, barbecue chicken, baked beans, coleslaw and dessert. The Oaks Club staff planned the event, raised the funds for the food, grilled chicken and pork on-site, and then served it all with a smile. Pictured are Ethan and his mom Kathleen Halverson, who helped serve dinner.
We are proud to announce that our mid-summer food program numbers are already surpassing last summer’s totals. The summer BackPack Kids program alone provided 12,666 bags of food to children at 27 new sites by mid-July. New partnerships with the Sarasota County Public Libraries, Children First, Boys & Girls Clubs, Early Learning Coalition and others are working with All Faiths to ensure children have food all summer long. Handing out food to kids at Heron Creek Middle School are Morgan, Molly and Madison Purcell with Ansley Ryan (second from right).
Members of the Knights of Columbus from Our Lady of Lourdes in Venice dropped in to present a donation check and to help pack bags of food that will be given to local children. Children face hunger in summer more than any other time of year and All Faiths Food Bank’s summer BackPack Kids program has been implemented at several summer school sites and in partnership with the Sarasota County Libraries and School District. In two hours the team filled 2,400 bags with kid-friendly food. The Knights of Columbus help support All Faiths’ BackPack Kids program during the school year as well.
All Faiths Food Bank recognized the many contributions of The Mosaic Company at a community food distribution event when Heather Nedley of Mosaic was presented with a plaque from All Faiths CEO Sandra Frank. Mosaic’s volunteer team, Kaley Miller, Scott Mears and Bart Arrington helped out at the Food Bank’s regular food distribution serving more than 250 families. In addition to volunteering, The Mosaic’s generosity includes granting funds to support the Food Bank’s BackPack Kids and Mobile Pantry programs.
Vets won’t go hungry over the Fourth of July
All Faiths Food Bank scheduled an additional Veteran’s food distribution on June 30, so that local heroes wouldn’t go hungry on a day that means so much to them and the country they served. The distribution was dedicated to the memory of Carlos Suarez, a volunteer who helped out at the Veteran’s Appreciation Program for more than a year. Mr. Suarez was himself a veteran and a friend to many of the people served through the program. The Veteran’s Appreciation Program provides food to veterans to take home including fresh produce, canned goods, frozen meat and bread. Mayor Willie Shaw attended the distribution to greet the vets and thank them for their service. Pictured: CEO Sandra Frank with Mayor Shaw and the Food Banks COO, John Livingston.
All Faiths Food Bank welcomed youth from Brothers and Sisters Doing the Right Thing who gave up a summer afternoon to help sort food. Teens inspected donated food, sorted it by category, and then boxed it up, ready to be loaded on one of All Faiths’ trucks for distribution. Participants of the Brothers and Sisters program are challenged to find positive life goals and then through volunteering, tutoring, and other group activities, are empowered to work towards achieving those goals. Pictured: Jaquavyis Gordon and Winter Spikes from Brothers and Sisters Doing the Right Thing help sort food at All Faiths Food Bank.
We are so proud! Dr. Robert Marbut’s report card on the homelessness action plan:
“A+ for the Campaign Against Summer Hunger through herculean efforts of the All Faiths Food Bank, Gulf Coast Community Foundation and many others, it is such a success that it has become the national best practice in this area.” We couldn’t do this without the support of a wonderful community and we thank you. Pictured: Dr. Marbut and our CEO Sandra Frank at The Patterson Foundation’s Recoding DNA lab.
Team Capgemini breaks backpack packing record!
All Faiths Food Bank welcomed teams from Capgemini to sort and prepare donated food for distribution to families in need, and pack backpacks for the Food Bank’s summer BackPack Kids program. A global company, Cap Cares Day invites staffers to support their local communities through volunteering. In a new partnership with All Faiths, Sarasota County Libraries will provide backpacks of food to children 18 and under all summer long. The morning Cap Cares Day team broke a backpack packing record with more than 2800 bags filled with kid-friendly food, ready for delivery.
NEW Summer Partners – The Sarasota County Library System
Our new partnership with the libraries extends the Food Bank’s BackPack Kids summer program so children 18 and under can visit their library and take home a bag of kid friendly food. More than 100 bags were given to the students from the Newtown Estates Summer Camp. Participating public libraries include: Fruitville, Gulf Gate, North Sarasota, and Selby in Sarasota; Elsie Quirk in Englewood; North Port Public Library in North Port; and Jacaranda and Venice Public Library in Venice. Schedules and maps for all summer food assistance programs can be found on our Need Food? page.
Youth Bible School: Hunger Heroes in Hats
First Presbyterian Church Vacation Bible School joined us to sort food and we were thrilled to see it was also “hat day.” Thank you for helping us feed children this summer!
For the second year in a row, All Faiths Food Bank has earned a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator for its sound fiscal management practices and commitment to accountability and transparency. In the past year, All Faiths Food Bank has continued to fulfill the rigorous requirements necessary to receive this top distinction from Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent charity evaluator.
John P. Dugan, Founder and Chairman of the Board of Charity Navigator wrote: “A consecutive 4-star rating means that All Faiths Food Bank outperforms most (81%) other charities in America. This “exceptional” designation from Charity Navigator differentiates All Faiths Food Bank from its peers and demonstrates to the public it is worthy of their trust.”
Photo Credit Evan Sigmund
All Faiths Food Bank’s staff welcomed senior executives from Feeding America’s Chicago headquarters to its Sarasota distribution center for a tour and discussion about the growth of the Food Bank’s operations in recent years and the Campaign Against Summer Hunger. Keith Monda, a member of the board of directors for both All Faiths Food Bank and Feeding America, invited CEO Bob Aiken, President Matt Knott, and VP of Development Dan Nisbet to sit down with All Faiths CEO Sandra Frank and members of its executive team. “We’ve been aware of the incredible growth and leadership here in Sarasota and wanted to see for ourselves,” said Feeding America CEO Bob Aiken. “From its vision of a broader mission statement, to the culture All Faiths embodies and the impact it is making, they bring excellence and passion to their work.”
Director of Nutrition Education Jenna Jones with Feeding America CEO Bob Aiken.
Recently the hardworking Girl Scouts of troop 207 came to the food bank to sort food and pack fresh produce for our Sprout Mobile Farm Market. They also brought in Girl Scout cookies for distribution and a check for more than $400 that they raised for the Food Bank’s Campaign Against Summer Hunger.
Thank you Isabel Stern, Miranda Yax and (in back) Lynzee Miller
Baseball fans fight hunger!
The Baltimore Orioles generously dedicated one of the highest profile games of the Spring Training season to All Faiths Food Bank. Throwing the first pitch at Ed Smith Stadium, was All Faiths’ Chief Operating Officer John Livingston, here with Orioles pitcher Derrick Bleeker. Volunteers and staff collected close to 500 pounds of food and over $800 in donations from fans that attended the Orioles vs. Rays. The game helped All Faiths Food Bank kick-off their Campaign Against Summer Hunger which runs through May 9, 2015. The food and funds raised will help the Food Bank feed the 21,000 Sarasota County school children that face hunger when school ends. To learn more about the Campaign click here.
Feeding America with ConAgra Foods Foundation support Summer Program staffing
The national hunger relief organization Feeding America, in conjunction with the ConAgra Foods Foundation’s Hunger-Free Summer “Classic” Program Grant awarded funds to support summer feeding programs for children throughout the Feeding America network. Their generosity had been used to staff the year round position of Summer Food Program Coordinator. Erica Enmeier will be helping us feed more children, more often this summer.
Meet Millie Beldon the longest and oldest volunteer who comes in weekly to sort food. At 91, Millie has been helping out at the Food Bank since it opened its doors, 26 years ago. She is part of the “Monday Team” of sorters who work diligently to go through all the donated food to prepare it for distribution throughout the community. If you would like to volunteer at the Food Bank, for our mobile pantry distributions in the community, or as a team building exercize for your company please click here and fill out the form for our volunteer coordinator.
All Faiths Food Bank received an ESO (Engaging – System Centric – Outcomes) Award, a one-time gift from The Patterson Foundation. The award was presented for outstanding participation in The Patterson Foundation’s Recoding Organizational DNA initiative for working toward the goals outlined in the Dr. Robert Marbut action plan to address the local homelessness issue. L-R: Peter Arroyo, Catholic Charities; Sandra Frank, All Faiths Food Bank; Erin Minor, Harvest House; and Michael Corley of the Patterson Foundation.
Tampa Bay Lightning opened the hockey season playing the Boston Bruins (taking a 5-3 win) in partnership with The Mosaic Company. Benefiting All Faiths Food Bank and other local food bank partners, Mosaic donated $105,000 with $7,500 going to support All Faiths. In a continued effort with Tampa Bay Lightning, for every goal scored by the Lightning during home games, Mosaic will donate $500 and for every hat trick, $5,000. Go Lightning! Pictured L-R: Mark Kaplan of Mosaic, All Faiths Food Bank’s John Livingston, and Karen Swager and Heather Nedley also from Mosaic.
Roberta Leventhal Sudakoff Foundation Grant Award
All Faiths Food Bank was the recipient of a $35,000 grant awarded by the Roberta Leventhal Sudakoff Foundation. Though the funds were not designated for a specific program, All Faiths used the grant to help support its BackPack Kids program. Last year more than 100,000 backpacks were given to students to take home on Fridays so they would have something to eat on weekends.
More than $1200 was raised for All Faiths Food Bank thanks to a 60’s Rock and Roll party and benefit at Old School Bar and Grill in Sarasota. Guests donned their favorite hippie duds and danced to live music from Rockin’ Robin and the Roadrunners. Band members donated their time and talents and featured Robin Faiola-Smith, Jim Ochiltree, Ken Seropian, Roy Jacobson, and Dan Dembicki. DJ Stephen of WestFlorida DJ kept the action going, and owner of Old School Bar and Grill Karl Raffurty donated complimentary appetizers and the venue. Thanks to the generosity of all involved, 100% of the ticket sales were donated to All Faiths Food Bank. Courtesy photo: Lead vocalist Robin Faiola-Smith with Laura Coyle of All Faiths.
Groups glean produce every Monday morning at Jessica’s Organic Farm for the Food Bank. In just two months, the gleaners, led by Transition Sarasota, have donated almost 12,000 pounds of produce, bringing the total number of pounds donated since October 2014, to 23,049! Waldorf Sarasota School is one of the groups that help glean. Pictured is Luke Adams (sister Kate in the background) learning something about agriculture and feeding people in need. Photo courtesy of Erin Cunningham.
We proudly recognize the support of The Mosaic Company. Their ongoing contributions have allowed the Food Bank to distribute more than 600,000 meals to our neighbors in need in DeSoto County. Their generosity also made it possible to fill a backpack full of food for 130+ students every Friday so they could eat on weekends and over holiday breaks. With the support of the Mosaic Company, the Food Bank’s BackPack Kids program reaches more students and their families than ever before.
Fifth-Graders CAN DO!
Fifth-graders at Out-of-Door Academy used 700 cans of food to participate in a can-struction event to celebrate the school’s 90th anniversary. Director of Community Service Angela Giorgianni-Mejicanos, came up with the idea to encourage creativity and teamwork. The students, with the help of the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) department planned, built and, once the festivities come to a close, will donate the cans to All Faiths Food Bank.
All Faiths Food Bank announced today a grant award of $10,000 from the Johnston Family Fund of the Manatee Community Foundation. The funds will be used to feed families in need in Sarasota and DeSoto Counties. All Faiths Food Bank distributes food to more than 51,000 residents each week through partner agencies like Salvation Army, Boys & Girls Clubs and Free Indeed; its own mobile pantry program; schools, churches, and community centers; and programs including its BackPack Kids and Sprout Mobile Farm Market.
Dart Foundation Grant, Jan 2015
All Faiths Food Bank announced a grant award of $3,500 from the Dart Foundation. The funds will be used to feed families in need in Sarasota and DeSoto Counties. All Faiths Food Bank distributes food to more than 51,000 residents each week through 195 partner agencies and programs including soup kitchens, pantries, schools, churches, and community centers.
Bank of America: Friends of the Food Bank
Special thanks to volunteers from Bank of America who helped pack food for our BackPack Kids program, and to Bank of America Charitable Foundation for a grant award of $20,000. The funds will be used to feed families in need, but that’s not all – The Bank of America Client Foundation is help to extend our Sprout Mobile Farm Market programming, and also awarded a grant of $20,000 to help bring garden-fresh produce directly to our clients.
Forks & Corks
The annual food and wine festival’s Grand Tasting wine auction raised more than $15,000 for All Faiths Food Bank. The auction featured wine from 80+ vineyards. Guests at the sold-out event bid on the wine, and all proceeds from the winning bids were donated to All Faiths Food Bank. Pictured: CEO Sandra Frank.
Foundations Support Sprout Route Expansion
The Harry Sudakoff Foundation awarded All Faiths Food Bank a grant of $25,000 to help support and expand its Sprout Mobile Farm Market program that brings fresh produce to neighborhood of highest need. A grant of $20,000 was also awarded to the Food Bank from the Bank of America Client Foundation, Virginia White Clark Fund, Bank of America, N.A., Trustee. “We are so grateful to the Sudakoff Foundation and Bank of America for the grant awards, and to our very generous community,” said Sandra Frank, All Faiths CEO. “We are committed to providing nutritious food to the families we serve and we couldn’t do it without their help and others who care deeply about our community.”
Sarasota Sky Pilots Ice Bowl
This year’s disc golf tournament brought in over $5,000 and 440+ pounds of food. It was a beautiful day at North Watertower Park for their 19th annual event that included a chili competition and picnic, silent auction, raffles and awards. Pictured: Steve Lake and David Rambo.
Good Deeds & Good News in 2014
As a member of Feeding America, we are grateful to BI-LO Holdings, parent company of BI-LO, Harvey’s and Winn-Dixie stores, and the Western Union Foundation for their generous support of member food banks. Their commitment of $200,000 to Kids Cafe programs in BI-LO Holdings communities awarded All Faiths more than $12,000 to help provide nutritious food to children in need.
Hyatt Regency Sarasota
All Faiths Food Bank was awarded $20,000 from Hyatt Regency Sarasota as part of Hyatt Community Grants, a philanthropic program that empowers Hyatt colleagues to guide charitable giving. The funds will help support the Sprout Mobile Farm Market. Pictured: Stephanie Murphy of the Hyatt helps at a Sprout Route stop.
Thanksgiving Distribution, Nov 2014
With the support of the community, and a $35,000 grant from the Kathleen K. Catlin Foundation of the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, the Food Bank provided 7,000 Thanksgiving dinners to families in need in Sarasota and DeSoto Counties. Pictured: Commissioner Carolyn Mason and our Director of Agency Relations, Nicole Double (left).
The Mosaic Company awarded All Faiths a $65,000 grant as part of the company’s commitment to hunger relief in communities where they operate. The funds will be used to provide food to families in need in DeSoto County where more residents face hunger and poverty than any other county in the state of Florida.
Welcome corporate partners and sponsors! If you would like to support our programs and feed children and families in our community, please contact Denise Cotler: firstname.lastname@example.org, or 941-315-7671.