By: Ardith Bronson and Keri Joseph
On Saturday, November 14, Miami-Dade FAWL members and supporters gathered together in the spirit of Thanksgiving at the Feeding South Florida (FSF) warehouse in Pembroke Park. Along with approximately 100 other volunteers, they inspected, sorted, and packed food, to be distributed to food insecure South Floridians. Rather than “hungry,” FSF uses the term “food insecure,” to describe the 785,040 South Floridians who are uncertain of where their next meal will come from.
Florida is ranked as the 12th highest state in terms of highest rate of childhood food insecurity in the nation. Approximately 871,900 South Floridians struggle with hunger. 1 in 4 children (287,650) in South Florida go to bed hungry, and 1 in 7 older adults (150,000) face the choice between paying rent, utilities, buying medication, or putting food on the table. 50 percent of the families served by FSF have at least one working adult in the household. In Miami-Dade County alone, approximately 384,400 people suffer from food insecurity.
Volunteers learned that FSF receives food and monetary donations from a variety of sources such as retail stores, farmers, government agencies, and individuals. Food donations are inspected to ensure safety. As it turns out, the expiration date listed on food does not always correspond with the date that the food is actually unsafe to eat and/or loses its nutritional value. For example, canned food is safe to eat 3 years past its expiration date! Using “cheat sheets” volunteers sorted through food donated to FSF for distribution through non-profit partner agencies such as soup kitchens, food pantries, homeless shelters, group homes, and other emergency food service programs.
Miami-Dade FAWL members Amber Kornreich, Freddi Mack, Kristin Drecktrah Paz, Trisha Widowfield, Liana Matthews, and Pro Bono Committee Co-Chairs Ardith Bronson and Keri Joseph worked in the “build” room for 3 hours. In total, the Miami-Dade FAWL team along with the other volunteers inspected, sorted, and packed 55,341 pounds of food, which will provide over 46,000 meals to food insecure South Floridians. In just a few short hours, working as a team, Miami-Dade FAWL volunteers were able to make a significant impact in our community.
If you are interested in volunteering for FSF, the organization welcomes volunteers Tuesday through Saturday during two time slots: 8:30-11:30 AM or 1:30-4:30 PM. More information is available here.