Destin Harvest has never experienced the need as great as it is right now. All throughout NWFL, hundreds of families that depend on seasonal work have lost their fulltime income, or are now working minimum hours at reduced wages, due to the devastating economic damages incurred by Coronavirus. These hardworking families and individuals rely on full-time seasonal work to carry them financially for eight months to a year and require additional part-time to full-time work just to have disposable income.
Local food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, churches, and similar efforts have been overwhelmed by food insecurity prior to COVID-19. Some agencies have reduced their services or closed altogether. The programs that continue to operate are on the front lines every day and cannot possibly meet the mounting need.
DH has been securing more food than ever by partnering with other responders, food banks, and reaching out to new resources to assist in this major crisis. An immediate relief has been Farm Share foods, a statewide program that warehouses top quality perishable and nonperishable foods and provide access for free to feeding programs throughout Florida. Through the assistance of groups such as PERT, Harbor Docks, Event Tents, and many others, DH began mobilizing an additional 50k pounds every week of fresh fruits, vegetables, drinks, eggs, meats, and nonperishable items.
DH has been distributing these foods out to recipient feeding programs and organizing mass drive through food box giveaways, jointly with other teams throughout Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, and Walton County. DH continues to make Farm Share runs to Quincy weekly and distributes it all out for free to local feeding programs throughout the week.
As Farm Share foods address the needs of local feeding programs, DH is now utilizing another resource to continue to provide for mass drive through food box giveaways. USDA launched a program in direct response to food insecurity nationwide called Farmers to Families Food Box program. USDA is buying up 3 billion in agricultural yield as farmers prepare hundreds of thousands of food boxes. Produce distributors throughout the country are securing the boxed fresh produce from the farmers and delivering directly to feeding sites.
DH is teaming up with United Way of Emerald Coast this Saturday, May 23rd, to distribute 1,200 boxes to cars at the NWFL Fairgrounds in Shalimar. Each box weighs 25 pounds and will be made up of fruits and veggies.
Combining daily food pickups from grocery stores (30k pounds a week), weekly Farm Share runs (20k – 40k pounds a week), and USDA’s FTFFB program (30k pounds a week), DH is currently mobilizing between 80k to 90k pounds of free food into Okaloosa and Walton County every week! These resources and combined efforts have been crucial to addressing the increasing local demand for food.
To learn how you can support our efforts, follow the link below.
Destin Harvest is a small hunger relief team that operates strictly by mobilizing large volumes of fresh and nonperishable foods for free to food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, churches, and similar efforts throughout Okaloosa and Walton County. DH distributes over 100k pounds of food for free to 38 feeding programs every month.