At the beginning of the pandemic and subsequent shutdown, Destin Harvest had to secure new sources of food as grocery stores and local retailers were completely tapped out. Utilizing all it’s resources, DH and partners began moving Farm Share foods from Quincy into Okaloosa and Walton County to meet an immediate need. During that time, City Produce landed a contract with USDA to provide DH 15k – 30k additional pounds of fresh produce weekly.
Unfortunately the local economy still suffers as many small, locally-owned businesses have closed their doors for good. Feeding programs all over the panhandle are swamped with new clients. In addition to daily pick ups from local grocery stores, DH continues to distribute USDA Farmers to Families Meal Boxes to overwhelmed food pantries, churches, shelters, and soup kitchens.
The logistics of moving over 300k pounds of food each month since the pandemic has really put a strain on program operations. A lift gate completely broke off during a Farm Share run several months ago. The same truck just had repairs totaling over $4,000 just this month alone. Three refrigerator units quit working and cost DH an additional $2,300 to repair. We are in the process of having the lift gate welded back together, which will run about $1,000.
DH has more drivers on the road and is moving more food than ever. Each month, DH is at least doubling the volume of record previous months.
DH’s operation is working extra hard this summer to meet a growing need with limited resources.