Stuff the Bus: A food drive against hunger
By Christina Hunter
Thousands of residents in Leon and surrounding counties have been able to restock their food shelves at least once each month at various distributions points, including churches and community centers.
Sometimes the cupboard goes bare, though. Second Harvest, the one source that many Tallahassee families depend on, wants to change that through its annual food drive to help curb hunger in the area.
The Stuff the Bus to Drive Away Hunger campaign has been ongoing this month and will continue until Feb. 28. Nonperishable items will be collected during the drive.
The number of families that rely on food sources like Second Harvest is staggering, although billions of pounds of food is wasted in the U.S. annually. One in seven people suffer from hunger, according to the Food Aid Foundation.
Hunger affects mostly children, seniors, young families and single moms, said Mary Dekle, Director of Development for Second Harvest.
“It’s hidden within plain sight,” Dekle said.
Clara Miller, who makes the once-a-month trip to Community Care Outreach in Havana, can relate.
“It’s very good because sometimes we run short on groceries,” said Miller. “It helps a lot to come here and get it and it’s free. I couldn’t tell you what could go on if it wasn’t here.”
During Second Harvest’s food drive, collection bins are available at business locations throughout the city. Donations can also be dropped off at locations in 10 other counties in North Florida, said Dekle.
Individual families aren’t the only beneficiaries of the food drive. Kearney Center, a shelter for the homeless, also receives food from Second Harvest.
The center serves about 700 meals daily to its 400 clients.
“We could not do it without Second Harvest,” said Jacob Reiter, Director at the center.
Some of the donations that go to the Center sometimes comes from New Leaf Market, an organic co-op grocery store in the Parkway Plaza. The store also is a collection center for donations to the drive.
“We pretty much give them everything that we can,” said Dawn Rowney from New Leaf Market.
The list of food items is pretty lengthy, she said.
“Everything in grocery; we had some departments in grocery, dairy product, packaged products,” she said. “Even feminine products, we give to them as well sometimes.”