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Hunger Doesn’t Take a Break During the Holiday Season

You can share the joys of the season with those who have been impacted by economic challenges and Hurricane Ian.

Presented by All Faiths Food Bank October 12, 2022

Too many of our neighbors were already struggling to put food on the table when Hurricane Ian battered our region. We have all seen the heartbreaking video footage and photos of the catastrophic damage to South Sarasota County and Southwest Florida; closer to home, there was widespread damage, loss of power, and a temporary pause on some critical social services as recovery and relief efforts began.

As the holidays approach, most of us are eagerly anticipating the joys of the season, with gift exchanges and delicious meals shared with friends and loved ones. But for those who are struggling in the wake of economic and storm-related challenges, there is the likelihood that – instead of lavish feasts – they will be facing empty plates. 

Here are five things you should know about hunger as the holiday season approaches this year: 

1. The economy continues to present significant challenges for community members.

The past few years have been tough. The pandemic caused the most at-risk among us to fall further into poverty and saw new households struggling to put food on the table. Ongoing economic conditions – with soaring costs for essentials such as food, housing and gas, and runaway inflation – have exacerbated the problem.

2. Hurricane Ian recovery will stretch on for a long time.

All Faiths Food Bank has been proud to work with Feeding Florida and its sister food banks around the state to coordinate recovery efforts, stage product, and transport food to Florida communities affected by the storm. We have provided support to the recovery efforts not only in in South Sarasota County but also in Southwest Florida, to help address the devastating needs in Lee and Collier counties.

The Feeding Florida network will continue to work hard to get food and water to those who so desperately need it in the weeks and months to come – wherever in the state they may be. 

3. All Faiths is committed to attacking the root causes of hunger.

While many in the community understand the “right now” aspects of our work, we have expanded our focus to attacking the root causes of hunger in order to lift people from poverty and ensure that all have the opportunity to thrive.

The only way to sustainably end hunger is to attack the root of this complex and vast problem. All Faiths Food Bank works to increase financial stability by helping community members apply for various benefits programs as well as to receive free tax preparation assistance. We also work with healthcare providers and select nonprofit partners to screen families for hunger; those who screen positive are referred to All Faiths for nutritional and benefits assistance. 

All Faiths is working to meet people where they are to lower the barriers to receiving needed assistance and resources, including food.

4. All Faiths Food Bank has worked for decades to provide food for area community members in need during the holidays.

Since its founding in 1990, All Faiths Food Bank has provided food during the holidays, steadily expanding its efforts through the ThankFULL campaign. This is possible thanks to individual and corporate gifts as well as ongoing support from area foundations. 

This year, the organization’s goal is to distribute more than 13,000 turkeys and sides, and a total of 3.6 million holiday meals, through its own distributions as well as through its network of 200 partner agencies.

5. YOU can make a difference for area children, families, veterans and seniors.

With a gift to All Faiths Food Bank’s ThankFULL campaign, you will make it possible for your neighbors to enjoy a festive holiday celebration complete with a healthy, delicious meal. You can also host a virtual fundraiser as well as encourage your family, coworkers, friends and neighbors to share the joy of helping others.

Visit allfaithsfoodbank.org to learn how you can help All Faiths Food Bank turn empty plates into ThankFULL tummies and hearts this holiday season.