In a time of great financial uncertainty, food insecurity is a growing problem across the nation; and here in Hernando, where more and more people are seeking out the services of area food pantries and help agencies. Yet as the demand grows, so grows the capacity for helping and caring displayed by these organizations; as aided by the food donations supplied by Hernando residents.
“We distributed almost 20,000 lbs of food last month, so the need is definitely there!” said Amanda McCann, VP of Development & Recruitment, Jericho Road Ministries. “We are always accepting nonperishable food donations at our four thrift stores for our Food Barn and shelters. Here is a list of our four store locations: https://www.jericho-road.net/thrift-stores We have also moved to distributing food 2 days a week (Tuesdays and Fridays, 9-12).” For more information, visit the Jericho Road Website.
People Helping People in Hernando County also is increasing the frequency of its mobile food pantry distributions, conducted in conjunction with Feeding Tampa Bay. “In partnership with Feeding Tampa Bay, People Helping People in Hernando County is offering a monthly mobile food distribution, the last Wednesday of each month. If you are in need of food and live in Hernando County, come to pick up produce, meat, dairy, and non-perishable groceries free of charge. Items can vary.”
The next People Helping People mobile food pantry will take place on March 31. Distribution begins at 10:30 a.m. and ends when the food supply is depleted. The drive-through event takes place at People Helping People’s HELP Center, 1396 Kass Circle, Spring Hill. Those interested in attending, should arrive by car and line up along Kass Circle facing East.
Anyone interested in volunteering should call 352-686-4466 or email [email protected] ALL volunteers must wear closed-toe shoes and masks for safety and arrive at 9:30 am.
“We got an overwhelming response last month for our first event and decided that this is a much-needed program here in Hernando County,” said Becky Burton, Executive Director of People Helping People in Hernando County, Inc. “We saw approximately 150 cars drive through in January and would like to continue to help provide food for those in our community. With the support of Feeding Tampa Bay, we’ll continue the last Wednesday of the month as long as there is a need.” And the need is great, with more and more people also seeking the services of Joseph’s House Brooksville, a Christ-centered ministry.
“The need is getting greater,” said Cynthia Waddy, Joseph’s House. “We’re giving out tens of thousands of pounds of food per week.”
Joseph’s House offers outreaches at area apartment complexes, with staff members sometimes having to return to Joseph’s House to replenish their food supplies. And people who visit Joseph’s House for meals often come away with bags of groceries as well.
“We’re always accepting donations,” said Waddy. “We need jars of peanut butter in particular, tuna, canned goods, and especially cans with pop tops. Many of the homeless people we serve don’t have can openers.”
All donations can be delivered to 823 Josephine Street, Brooksville, or for more information call 352-600-8295 or Email [email protected] Donate online at http://jhbv.org/donations/.
The Salvation Army of Hernando County is about to see an expansion of its food pantry program. “We are always looking for food donations to help those in need. We usually see an increase in numbers of families as the weather warms up and especially through the summer,” said Lt. Julie Chamberlain, who oversees The Salvation Army of Brooksville/Hernando County with Lt. Mike Chamberlain. “As you know our food pantry never closed during the pandemic and so we did see a small increase in clients. We have adapted to a drive-through style distribution for the safety of our staff, volunteers, and clients. If someone would like to donate food items they can drop them off at our office at our location (15464 Cortez Blvd.) Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, or Friday 9-3 or if they need to make other arrangements, they can also call us at (352) 796-1228. We also accept monetary donations which can be earmarked for this service as well.”
The Salvation Army of Hernando County is expanding to meet the growing food needs of families in this county. “We are looking into expanding our pantry operation and are looking for community support for that project as well,” said Chamberlain.
Between mobile and on-site food pantries and full meals, the help agencies of Hernando are meeting hunger head-on; and, in the process, feeding and nourishing hungry families.