The Community Food Bank (CFB) serves more than 60,000 individuals each month by acquiring and distributing nutritious food to more than 50 pantries, soup kitchens, and shelters; including eight based in Hernando County. And thanks to a recent generous donation and with a little help from the community, their ‘drive’ to help others just got a lot smoother!
The Black Diamond Foundation recently donated $20,000 to the CFB towards the purchase of an enclosed, climate controlled Ford Transit 250 cargo van. The van further expands the CFB’s reach and capacity for food distribution, permitting for additional perishable food pickups and deliveries to partnering agencies for distribution to those in need.
Although the CFB was able to procure the van at a discount rate from Flammer Ford, funds are needed to complete the vehicle’s purchase. And now, the agency has issued a challenge match of an additional $20,000 to cover the full cost of the new vehicle. “The need has been so great,” said Barbara Sprague, Executive Director of the CFB. “It’s been quite a rollercoaster, with such a high level of need among our agencies, 200 percent above pre-COVID rates.”
Also aiding CFB to meet this need are consistent partner Feeding America, and Dollar General stores throughout Tampa Bay. “Local Dollar General stores are now providing us with perishable food, so we’ve added them to our growing list of pickup sites. The agencies we partner with are providing food to more people than ever before. As the need grows, so do we. The new cargo van allows us to make additional pickups and drop-offs to help ensure no one in our community goes hungry,” says Sprague.
With the purchase of the van and the new partnership with Dollar General, Sprague says that CFB, based in Citrus County, will be better able to extend its reach in service areas such as Hernando. “With all of the perishables we’re picking up, including fruits and vegetables, it’s so much better to have an air-conditioned, temperature-controlled van to transport it. The better the van, the better the food we have to bring you,” she said.
The Black Diamond Foundation (BDF) has been an ongoing, loyal supporter of the CFB’s fight against hunger. The foundation stepped up once again when the CFB identified the need for an additional climate controlled vehicle for food transport. “The BDF continues to go above and beyond in supporting our mission,” says Steve Ponticos, President of the CFB Board of Directors. “We could not do what we do without the generous, ongoing assistance of the BDF, its president, Roger Obenauf, and all of the philanthropic men and women of the BDF who are passionate about supporting the CFBs efforts to provide food assistance throughout our community.”
According to Barabara Sprague, it takes a community to feed a community. “The community is so generous, we help each other out,” she said.
Sprague says the funds procured through the $20,000 matching challenge will aid the CFB in offsetting the full cost of the cargo van, and also supplying funding for fuel and regular maintenance. To donate:
- Visit www.feed352.org and click donate.
- Text DONATE to 352-280-3391
- Mail or drop off a donation to:
Community Food Bank
5259 W Cardinal Street
Homosassa, FL 34446
“Every donation makes a difference. We hope to achieve our matching challenge goal of $20,000 by July 4th,” says Sprague.
To report your own good news, send all positive news items to Hernando Sun community reporter Megan Hussey at [email protected] Show Us Your Sunshine!