About The Campaign Against Summer Hunger
This annual Campaign, now in its 4th year, is a community-wide effort to feed children in Sarasota and DeSoto Counties who are at risk of hunger throughout the summer. The Campaign Against Summer Hunger raises money through generous investors who provide an opportunity for matched donations, bringing in more than $1.3 million, so that we can feed tens of thousands of children who might otherwise go hungry. In 2016, more than 31,000 children were fed a total of 2.2 million meals. This was an incredible accomplishment, but our work is not even close to being done. 21,000 Sarasota County students qualify for free and reduced meal programs at school, but what about their younger siblings and the children who face hunger in DeSoto County? As many as 40,000 children could be at risk of hunger this summer. The goal of the 2017 Campaign Against Summer Hunger is to make sure no child is hungry, and with your support, we can.
Excerpts from a 2016 editorial by Sandra Frank, CEO, All Faiths Food Bank
When school ends, hunger begins for those students who get meals at school, their younger siblings, and for other kids who simply aren’t on the radar of the agencies that gather data. Each year, thousands of children spend the summer without knowing where or when they will eat again. Very conservative estimates place the number of school children in our community who face daily hunger at 21,000. I believe that, when we factor in the ‘invisible children’ – the younger siblings of those school children and others who aren’t included in official counts – the number of hungry kids is closer to 40,000.
- Did you know you can drop off your nonperishable food donation for us at any Sarasota County Goodwill location? That helps us spend less on gas and more on food.
- Volunteer: Contact Heather Cline to learn more, email@example.com or 941-549-8156.
- Stay in touch: Sign up for our E-newsletter
- Host a Food and Fund Drive
The 2016 Campaign Against Summer Hunger was a huge success in that we surpassed our goals. We know that we must do better, and with the support of our generous community, we will. Learn more about how your support impacts children: Click for the full 2016 Summer Impact Report
The summer of 2016 by-the-number, thanks to you.
- 31,058 CHILDREN fed
- 2,237,000 MEALS provided
- 154 PARTNERS helped accomplish our goals
Your compassion and generosity funded the 2016 Summer Food Programs, and helped surpass our goals, nourishing more than 31,000 children in Sarasota and Desoto Counties this summer. The Summer Food Programs, made possible by your support, continue to feed more children in our community each year. This is being accomplished by broadening existing programs and developing new programs, and by deepening current community partnerships and creating new ones.
A community united in the Campaign Against Summer Hunger has made it possible for us to nourish more children with each passing year.
It’s All About Partnerships
The Campaign Against Summer Hunger has reached or surpassed its goals thanks to the generous community partners who engage in raising funds and food. Summer food assistance programs are more effective due to partnerships with the Sarasota County Schools Food and Nutrition Services, Sarasota County Libraries and Sarasota County Area Transit. These and other child-centric organizations play an important role in supporting, implementing and promoting the Summer Food Programs that feed hungry children. In 2016, 154 community partners – our largest group yet – played an instrumental role in feeding more than 31,000 children and their families.
Impact – Summer Stories
Lunchtime Leads to High School Diploma
Brandy Harrison, mother of three, ate lunch with 4-year-old Dakota, 5-year-old Cheyenne, and 8-year-old Micheal. They sat at a picnic table in the shade of an old oak tree at the DeSoto County Library enjoying chicken, apples, celery, a roll and milk served by volunteers from the Sarasota County School District’s Breakspots. As a partner of All Faiths Food Bank’s summer food assistance programs, the Breakspots provide hot breakfasts and lunches to children all summer long in Sarasota and DeSoto County. Micheal, who proudly boasts straight-A grades in school, also attended a Cooking Matters class, part of All Faiths Food Banks nutrition and education programs that teaches children to prepare healthy meals themselves. Over lunch he spoke about his cooking skills, “I make the best tacos now like we learned in class but my all-time favorite is my smoothie. I invented new ones and they are even better than the ones they taught us.”
His mom Brandy said, “These lunches are really good and help us so much during the summer when it is harder to feed them right. My kids love coming to the library now and I can’t believe how this has worked out for all of us. Miss Cindy, the librarian, helped me sign up to get my high school diploma here – free.” She proudly added, “When I’m done with high school, I am going to study so I can work in an office and make enough to take care of my family and help my husband start his own business. I am so happy that I can do this for me and my kids. They have food and books and I know school is going to be great for them and for me this year.”
Photo credit: Savannah Lauren
Student Gives Back
Genesis McDaniel is in eighth grade and volunteers at the library. She and her mom Toni heard about the Breakspot lunches served there through another of All Faiths Food Bank’s distribution partners who provide food year round. Though getting a healthy meal was the goal when they first attended in the lunches – prepared and served by the Sarasota County School District’s Food and Nutrition Services – Genesis learned that she could help out at the library. “I want to go to college and volunteering is important for your college application,” she said as she sat down for lunch with her mom. “I’ve been working here as a volunteer all summer now and it’s been great – I have had a lot of fun doing it too.”
Photo credit: Savannah Lauren
The Boys and Girls Club
James Leggett is a teacher at Venice High School but during the summers, he works at the Robert and Joan Lee Boys and Girls Club in Venice. He spoke to an All Faiths Food Bank staff person during a noisy cafeteria lunch served by the Sarasota County School District’s Food and Nutrition Services. “Too many parents can’t afford the food they need to feed their kids over the summer,” he said. “During the school year, I meet kids who don’t eat at all on weekends. Venice High now has a School Pantry, stocked by All Faiths Food Bank. These programs – and especially the summer programs – are phenomenal.”
Photo credit: Savannah Lauren
How it all began; a 2014 Campaign challenge
50% of the children in Sarasota County participate in the free and reduced cost school meal programs. In DeSoto, 100% of the children receive meals through the school district. These meals stop during the summer when school is out of session. Not surprisingly, summer is the time when a child in Sarasota and County is most likely to experience hunger. The summer months also present a severe challenge for All Faiths Food Bank as we struggle to ensure that thousands of children continue to receive healthy, nutritious meals. The problem is compounded by the precipitous decline in food and funds resulting from the departure of seasonal residents.
In fall of 2013, the City of Sarasota and Sarasota County contracted with Dr. Robert Marbut, Jr., a nationally renowned homeless expert, to develop a strategic action plan to evaluate and improve the efficiency and organization of homeless service providers throughout Sarasota County. The Marbut Report on homelessness recommended that a seasonally targeted program should be developed to address the seasonal shortages in food supplies within the All Faiths Food Bank. This effort should promote cash and food donations before seasonal residents move north for the summer. This “empty your shelves before you go north” program should be promoted through a comprehensive public service campaign.
Recoding Organizational DNA, an initiative created by The Patterson Foundation and Marbut Consulting, facilitated the transition of Sarasota’s service agencies working on behalf of those less fortunate into engaging, system-centric and outcome-measured organizations. Leaders and representatives of several local organizations participated in a series of six “labs”– workshop sessions – centered on leadership, communications, stakeholder engagement, funding and other essential aspects of organizational development. All Faiths Food Bank made the decision to develop and deliver a campaign that would raise the funds needed to address this extremely serious problem, and simultaneously deliver a series of summer food programs that could actually address the daily needs of thousands of children in our community.
“Dr. Marbut and the DNA series allowed All Faiths Food Bank to consider more than food-in and food-out service,” said CEO Sandra Frank. “Thanks to the generosity of The Patterson Foundation, we are working in new ways with partner agencies, building the framework to support these changes, and defining how together, we can make our entire community stronger – the best outcome.”