- April 3, 2014
A day before the kick off for the Campaign Against Summer Hunger, All Faiths Food Bank CEO Sandra Frank received a startling reminder why the fundraiser is so pivotal.
Before sitting down for a meeting, Frank was informed that all of the volunteers were sent home for the day because there wasn't any more food for them to sort or pack to be distributed.
“There wasn’t any donated food,” Frank said. “Which shocked me that there isn’t any donated food.We have to remember that when the snowbirds go home, food disappears and funds dry up.We as a food bank just bottom out. It’s the perfect storm. Kids are the hungriest and have the greatest need in the summer.”
Now in the third year of the campaign, the announcement Frank questioned whether the food bank has lost sight of that underlying problem. In 2015 the campaign fed 27,000 children a total of 2 million meals, but Frank wants the community to remember that there are also younger siblings of these children who aren't being counted because they aren't enrolled in school yet.
Her response is to challenge the Campaign Against Summer Hunger to feed 10% more children this year which is roughly 30,000 children in Sarasota and Desoto during the time of year when funds and resources are at the lowest for the food bank.
“The fact that there wasn’t any donated food, was the wake up call that brought us back to ground zero and reality,” Frank said. “That’s why the campaign was even ever created because the food and the funds disappear starting now.”
The 40-day campaign kicked off on Tuesday, March 29 with the goal to collect more than the previous years $1.2 million total. All Faiths Food Bank partnered again with the Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee and the Gulf Coast Community Foundation and plans to use partnerships with the Sarasota County Library System and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Sarasota County to better reach children in need of meals.
Gulf Coast Community Foundation Senior Vice President for Philanthropy Veronica Brady explained some of the ways community members can keep the campaign on their minds including the orange wristbands.
“I’m keeping mine on for the next 40 days,” Brady said.
Brady delivered the news that already $600,000 have been contributed to the campaign from investors and went on to challenge the community to go beyond the goal and feed 40,000 children.
She describes the campaign as a “cash and cans campaign” that relies on food and money donations.
“Now is when the real work starts,” Brady said. “We make this campaign a 40-day campaign. We set parameters and we can’t wait any longer than that. We need to get food donated as our friends head back up north.”