JWB teams up with FEMA, Farmshare and local partners to bring nourishing meals to Pinellas County

One of the charities, The Kind Mouse, brought teen volunteers to help with the food pick-up

 

PINELLAS COUNTY – It was still dark outside when two tractor trailers loaded with surplus food arrived at a warehouse operated by the St. Petersburg Free Clinic. Working in partnership with the Juvenile Welfare Board (JWB), staff unloaded 43 pallets of pre-boxed, shelf-stable meals. This surplus food had been staged by FEMA in South Florida during Hurricane Irma but was about to expire.

“We became aware through our local legislative delegation that FEMA had surplus food available; pre-packaged meals with shelf dates that were about to expire,” stated JWB Chief Executive Office Dr. Marcie Biddleman. “The timing couldn’t have been better with children just out of school for the summer.”

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Since over half of Pinellas County School students rely on free and reduced-price school lunches, many children struggle to access healthy food when school is out. In Pinellas County alone, 36,000 children are considered food insecure, and 7,000 chronically hungry. JWB oversees a childhood hunger collective initiative focused on filling food gaps for kids, especially over the summer. One way is through the federally-funded Summer BreakSpot program. But more meals are needed to nourish hungry children.

“In total, our county received 26,400 shelf-stable meals. Each kit includes a ravioli pop-top, granola bar, veggie straws/chips, fruit cocktail, and juice. Food that may have otherwise gone unused in the wake of Hurricane Irma has now been redirected to Pinellas County, and we couldn’t thank FEMA, Farmshare, and our partners enough,” added Biddleman.

For more information about the Juvenile Welfare Board’s childhood hunger collective initiative, visit www.jwbpinellas.org. For help finding free summer meals for children in your area, text “FoodFL” to 877-877 or visit www.summerfoodflorida.org

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