food rescue

Food Give-Away Recap for May and June

Through collaborative and exceptional opportunities presented by Feeding the Gulf Coast (FTGC), Destin Harvest (DH) and local organizers have distributed an additional 70k pounds of free foods into Okaloosa and Walton County. These food distributions are different from DH’s daily operation of connecting food surpluses from local grocers and food retailers to food programs in Okaloosa and Walton County. DH organizes teams of volunteers and community advocates at local sites for FTGC to deliver an 18-wheeler refrigerated truck loaded with free foods. These foods are palletized and dropped from the FTGC truck, and then staged by DH and volunteers to hand out to 300 – 400 participating vehicles. A DH truck stays on-site to store surplus pallets of refrigerated items until the pallets on the ground are exhausted. People receiving food from these events are returning home with fresh eggs, milk, yogurt, packages of chicken tenders, watermelon, peanut butter, jelly, boxes of assorted produce, bags of potatoes, and more.

On May 18th, DH’s team, volunteer teams from Beulah Baptist Church, Sylvania Heights, along with off-duty deputies from Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office, all worked together to distribute 35,000 pounds of food to over 300 vehicles at Northwest Florida Fairgrounds. It was a huge success in the face of inclement weather and serious logistical challenges. Below are some of the pictures from that food give-away.

The food distribution at Freeport Commons on June 15th had a tremendous turnout, with over 400 vehicles being served. Huge thank you to New Life Adventist Church and Walton County Sheriff’s Posse for helping plan and volunteering to make this event possible. Below are pictures from the food give-away at Freeport Commons. (Photo Credit – Micki Glenn)

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Thank You City Produce!

Team at Children in Crisis in Fort Walton Beach, FL receives Strawberry Milk donated to DH from City Produce

City Produce, local produce distributor in Fort Walton Beach, donated a pallet of strawberry milk to DH last week. Feeding programs were very excited to receive the refreshing treat. Our drivers never know what they will pick up and it’s tremendous feeling to find out what we will be handing off to grateful recipients each day. Without valuable donors like City Produce and local grocery stores, this simply would not be possible.

Thank you City Produce for giving back and putting smiles on the faces of volunteers and staff at local recipient charities that benefit from DH’s free deliveries.

Help DH connect more food to feeding programs in Northwest Florida by becoming a Harvest Advocate today!

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COVID-19 and its Impact on Local Hunger in NWFL

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.

Farm Share Food Drive at Morgans Sports Complex 4/11/2020

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.

COVID-19 Hunger Response Campaign

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