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HomeAt Home & BeyondJoin the Community Food Bank in participating in the Million Meals Challenge

Join the Community Food Bank in participating in the Million Meals Challenge

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At a time when food insecurity is a dominating and overriding concern in the lives of many families, one dedicated nonprofit agency is determined to put meals on the tables of people in need. One million of them, to be exact.

The Black Diamond Foundation has donated the sum of $50,000 to the Community Food Bank (CFB) to support their critical food relief efforts throughout the Tampa Bay area, including Hernando County, where CFB supports eight food pantries and nonprofit agencies. The Community Food Bank (CFB) serves more than 70,000 individuals each month by acquiring and distributing nutritious food, supplies, and resources to more than 60 pantries, soup kitchens, and shelters throughout Citrus, Hernando, and Sumter counties. Since its inception in 2013, the organization has provided more than 30 million meals to individuals, senior citizens, and working families struggling to pay for basic needs.

This donation promises to fund 500,000 meals. “But we’re not stopping there,” said Barbara Sprague, executive director of the CFB. “We aim to bring one million meals to this community.”

Now the community can help too! CFB is issuing a “Million Meals Challenge” to its service communities, aiming to raise an additional $50,000 so the agency can provide their more than 60 partner agencies with critical food and supplies, empowering CFB to continue feeding more than 70,000 people in need each month.

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“The need for food is overwhelming right now. The diversity of people needing food assistance is staggering,” explained Sprague. “The majority of people served by our partnering agencies are working individuals who are unable to make ends meet as the cost of food and living in general continues to rise.”

Sprague reports that CFB is seeing many more clients in these trying times, both old and new. “We are seeing new people, as well as those who have fallen back into the cracks,” she said. “They are young and old. They simply can’t make ends meet to put food on the table.”

The Black Diamond Foundation (BDF), an ongoing supporter of the CFB’s fight against hunger, stepped in to help. “In addition to making donations that help us to provide food, the BDF has helped us purchase transport vehicles which are essential for food pickups and transport,” stated Sprague. “We couldn’t do what we do without the generosity of the philanthropic men and women of the BDF who continue to come alongside us to support our mission to end hunger and nourish hope throughout our community.”

But more help is needed right here in the Hernando community. “Many of our community partners in Hernando are reporting increased need,” said Sprague. “People Helping People is seeing more homeless people. The Crown of Life Church food pantry is seeing double the need.”

At this time and throughout the month of April, community members are invited to be part of the Million Meals Challenge. There are three easy ways 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

“For the same amount of money that you spend on a restaurant meal, you can feed an entire family for a week,” said Sprague. “We make each dollar stretch in providing full, nutritious meals for these families.”

In addition, those who wish to offer additional support to CFB-affiliated Hernando agencies, can do so by dropping off donations at any of these agencies. For a complete list of these locations, visit https://feed352.org/food-agencies/.
“Every donation makes a difference,” said Sprague. “We hope to achieve our matching challenge goal of $50,000 by April 30.”

For more information about the CFB or to donate, volunteer, or find a food agency near you, please visit http://www.feed352.org/

In other CFB news, the Community Food Bank (CFB) celebrated ten years of providing food assistance throughout our community via an open house and celebratory ribbon cutting ceremony courtesy of the Citrus County Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday, April 18.

Sprague will introduce the community to the agency’s Ending Hunger Campus, which includes vehicles, refrigerated trucks, forklifts, and two 7,000 sq. ft. warehouses equipped to receive, sort, store, and distribute food to the CFB’s more than 60 partnering agencies.

“We share the blessing of this facility to provide for those facing hunger, and our impact with everyone who enjoys the Nature Coast and all of its sparkle,” said Sprague.
“We’ve continued to grow and respond to the need. We are so fortunate to live in a community with individuals and businesses who are always willing to step up to the plate to help their neighbors in need.”

John Marmish, Johnny Cash, Debbie Lattin, JoAnne Boggus, Wayne Dupler, Steve Ponticos and Phil Scarpelli were the founding members who served on the original Board of Directors in 2013. Ponticos (current BOD President), Marmish, and Boggus continue to serve on the CFB’s Board of Directors today, while Cash is a member of the CFB Advisory Board.

Now CFB looks to the future. “We want to continue to have the capacity and ability to meet the food insecurity needs of our community,” says Sprague. “As a community partner, we will work to educate, inspire, and impact those in need by supporting the resources, efforts, and programs by elevating individuals and families from poverty and homelessness to becoming active and productive members of our area workforce and local communities.”

For more information about the CFB or to donate, volunteer, or find a food agency near you, visit http://www.feed352.org/.

Megan Hussey
Megan Hussey
Megan Hussey is a features journalist and author who is the winner of Florida Press Association honors and a certificate of appreciation from LINCS (Family Support Domestic and Sexual Violence Prevention Task Force) and Sunrise Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Center for her newspaper coverage of these issues. She graduated cum laude from Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., with a journalism major and English/sociology minor, and previously wrote for publications that include the Pasco editions of The Tampa Tribune and Tampa Bay Times. A native of Indiana, she lives in Florida.
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