An attorney by profession, All Faiths Food Bank CEO Sandra Frank says she discovered long ago where her true passion lay.
“I knew probably 20 years ago,” she says. “I went into a law firm, and within a few years, I discovered that it wasn’t motivating for me. I’m absolutely passionate about children, so since then, I’ve spent a career making sure kids are well-fed and cherished — as they should be.”
Frank worked in various positions in the nonprofit sector before arriving at All Faiths two years ago, where she says she quickly learned the importance of the organization. Founded 25 years ago as a way for several faith-based organizations to combine their efforts, All Faiths is now considered the main food-distribution hub in Sarasota and DeSoto counties, serving 41,000 people per year with approximately 7 million pounds of food.
“There are so many things I enjoy about the job,” says Frank. “I never truly appreciated the magnitude of the work. It has such an important role and does such important work, and I think the community knows and values that.”
One of the nonprofit organization’s biggest challenges lies in meeting the growing demand for food, and it has recently undergone several expansions to keep pace.
Another concern is the seasonal nature of its donations. According to Frank, both food and financial donations taper off when spring and summer arrive. In Sarasota County, where 50% of children qualify for free or reduced lunch at school, this issue is especially alarming as school — and its provided meals — end for the summer.
Starting April 1, All Faiths will launch its Summer Hunger campaign, designed to counteract this trend. It will collect food and financial donations, and Frank says one of the easiest ways to contribute is for seasonal residents to empty their shelves and donate extra food before heading back north.
“I know that I grew up in very fortunate circumstances,” says Frank. “I’m very blessed, and I know it. You can’t help but see the suffering and hunger and shortages that surround us, so it’s important for all of us to do whatever we can to make sure everyone is well-fed and to make sure that children survive and thrive.”
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