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Second Harvest to establish more distribution sites in 'food deserts'

Posted at 6:42 PM, Aug 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-13 18:50:41-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Second Harvest of the Big Bend may be breaking records but with the pandemic, food insecurity is still a serious issue.

That's why Leon County has activated federal dollars, through the CARES act, and now food will be coming to Big Bend neighborhoods with the most need.

"Food insecurity is on the rise as unemployment and poverty creeps upwards, so we're preparing and ensuring our communities that we're going to be there," said Monique Van Pelt, the CEO of Second Harvest of the Big Bend.

They're not done yet.

The nonprofit says, 30,000 kids were food insecure in 2018. With the pandemic, research shows just over 44,000 kids are going hungry, not counting their families.

It's why Second Harvest will now be increasing their distribution sites from three to nine per week.

"What we're doing is shifting the focus to make sure we can serve the whole family," Van Pelt said.

The hope is to set up distribution sites where people are suffering most.

They're targeting different areas like Providence, Fort Braden, Griffin Heights, Greater Bond, and Frenchtown. They're considered "food deserts," low-income areas where access to a grocery store is more than a mile away.

"The only place you can buy anything around here basically is at the dollar stores or at one of the time savers," said Jim Bellamy with the Frenchtown Neighborhood Improvement Association

That's why Bellamy says it would be ideal for everybody living here.

"This would be good in Frenchtown because right now we don't have anywhere where people pick up food on a regular basis," Bellamy said. "I think the last thing we had was up here in the church and they closed theirs down."

Second Harvest says people have been so grateful they've seen an increased number in volunteers, but they can always use more help.

You can find information on how to become a volunteer and food distribution site locations by clicking here.