Members of the Orlando City Commission hear a presentation on Hunger Action Month during Monday’s meeting. (Photo by Michael Freeman).
ORLANDO – At a time when the state and national economy are still struggling to pick up steam, Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida plays a critical role in assisting families that have been hurt by the economic downturn, Greg Higgerson said.
And it’s a mission that’s become increasingly challenging for the private, nonprofit organization that collects, stores and distributes donated food to more than 450 nonprofit partner agencies in Central Florida, said Higgerson, the agency’s vice president of development.
“There’s an old saying in food banking,” he said, “that it takes more than just food to feed the hungry.”
And one clear way to be more effective, Higgerson said, is to encourage more residents of the six counties that Second Harvest services — Brevard, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Seminole and Volusia – to lend a helping hand whenever posisble, to their ongoing efforts.
To help raise awareness of the agency’s mission and the support they rely on from the community, Higgerson went to the Orlando City Commission meeting on Monday to ask for the city’s support in promoting the work that Second Harvest does.
Not surpisingly, Higgerson got a warm reception from Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, who had agreed to issue a proclamation declaring the city government’s support for Hunger Action Month – which helps to highlight the work that nonprofits like Second Harvest do in feeding local communities.
“The city of Orlando is committed to working with the Second Harvest Food Bank to bring awareness to this issue,” Dyer said. “We hereby declare the month of September 2012 as Hunger Action Month.”
Hunger Action Month, held every fall, is organized by Feeding America, a national nonprofit and the leading domestic hunger relief effort.
“Our mission is to feed America’s hungry through a nationwide network of member food banks and engage our country in the fight to end hunger,” the agency notes on its Web site.
It sponsors Hunger Action Month, the agency noted, because “Nearly 49 million people in America face hunger. That is one in six of the U.S. population – including more than one in five children. Don’t let their struggles go unheard.”
Locally, Higgerson said, Second Harvest is a part of the Feeding America network, and is now working to raise awareness of its mission.
“Engaging the community is such a key first step,” he said.
Second Harvest Food Bank now operates at 2008 Brengle Ave. in downtown Orlando, and can be reached by calling 407-295-1066 – although as Higgerson noted, the agency is now constructing a new, larger building at the corner of Old Winter Garden Road and Mercy Drive in Orlando.
“That will be completed in January, and we are so excited to be moving forward on this,” he said. “I’d like to thank the city of Orlando for many years of partnering with us.”
In order to fight hunger in Central Florida, Second Harvest works to provide access to food and other grocery products to families in need, promotes and supports the development of partner agencies’ ability to fulfill its missions, brings visibility to the problem of hunger and poverty, and develops solutions to hunger in Central Florida.

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