Frequently Asked Questions

Feeding Florida works in partnership with 14 Feeding America affiliated Food Banks (regional distribution centers) to create a hunger free Florida. Our members focus on serving and developing resources in their local community, while Feeding Florida works statewide to leverage resources, both funds and food, to our regional food banks.

Our fresh produce program, “Farmers Feeding Florida,” partners with the agriculture industry to rescue millions of pounds of fresh produce each year.

Feeding Florida unites the voices of the largest hunger relief network in Florida for advocacy in Tallahassee and Washington D.C

Food Banks are non-profit organizations that collect, purchase and rescue donated food in order to feed food insecure individuals through their community partners. The Food Bank is a warehouse where the food is gathered, sorted, inspected for safety and then made available to the community partners or Food Pantries. Food Pantries are the partner agencies and churches that distribute food directly to their communities.

Food comes from many sources including donations, purchase and USDA commodities:

Donations

  • Grocery items are donated from food drives, major retailer stores and distribution centers, manufacturers, farms and packing houses.

Purchase

  • To supplement donations and to provide specific food for a program or to help partner agencies save money on food they may not receive through donations, Food Banks leverage our national network and relationships to purchase food at the lowest possible price, often saving our partners up to 60% on food they would normally purchase at a wholesale warehouse-shopping club.

USDA Commodities

  • Commodities are foods that are purchased by the US Department of Agriculture and provided to food banks for distribution to qualified community and non-profit organizations. These products range from canned and boxed, shelf stable foods to fresh produce and frozen meats.

After food has been received, sorted and inspected at the food bank warehouse (regional distribution center), it’s ready for distribution to community partners. There are three main methods of food distribution: Agencies may pick-up the food at the warehouse, the food bank may deliver the food to the community organization or pantry, or the Food Bank may conduct a Mobile Pantry or direct distribution. Mobile Pantries or direct distributions are an innovative way of partnering with partner agencies to increase the quality and quantity of food they can distribute. Many agencies cannot afford adequate coolers to safely distribute products that require freezing or refrigeration. To help build community capacity, the food bank will use its refrigerated trucks to distribute perishable foods alongside the partner agency. By using our trucks we help them to provide greater amounts of nutritious to the people they serve. Some areas have pockets of need, but no agencies to help. In those cases, the Food Bank may operate a Mobile Pantry to provide direct distribution to people in need.

Most food banks don’t distribute directly to the public. Instead, we work through community-based organizations and churches to help identify people with the greatest need. In Florida, we work through more than 2,500 agencies. To find an agency near you, simply dial 211 from any phone and you will be connected to the United Way Help Line. You can also contact your regional food bank and ask about local food distributions. Find your regional food bank here.

Yes, food provided to people in need is really free. There is no fee to individuals or service required for receiving food from our network. We raise the money from individual donors, foundations, organizations, businesses and government partnerships to share the operating cost of our network with all our partners. Our community partners may share a very small part of the cost (pennies on the pound) for some of the food they receive to distribute in their communities. This cost sharing alleviates any group being overburdened and instead allows our entire network to be successful as a team. We believe that only together we can solve hunger.

Like our members, we take great pride in our affiliation with Feeding America because it means we have met the highest levels of operational excellence, transparency and ethics. The father of food banking, John van Hengel, originally founded Feeding America as Second Harvest in 1976 after successfully developing the first food bank in 1967. That concept has been a model for the world and the  concept that he originated is now the Feeding America and Global Food Banking Network’s legacy. Feeding America is the nation’s leading hunger-relief organization with more than 200 member Food Banks that serve every county and parish in every state of the nation.

Food Stamps, known as SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program)  were designed to supplement a low-income family’s ability to purchase groceries. Many families fall into a category of working poor - they earn too much for SNAP but don’t earn enough to afford adequate meals. Elderly or disabled people on fixed incomes sometimes have to choose between paying for essentials and buying nutritious food. Food banks can help. Supplemental food from the food bank means a person can  reallocate a portion of their grocery money towards rent, utilities, medicine or transportation.

Individuals are not the only ones that benefit from food banks. Many charities that feed seniors, children and families offer other services alongside their feeding program. These charitable organizations can partner with food banks to lower their food costs so they can spend money on other programs like hiring tutors, counselors or other essential staff.

Don’t let your food go to waste, donate it! Donated food is always welcome; however money goes much further. Leveraging the power of our network, we can turn $1 into $7 worth of food. Receiving your donated funds also allows us to purchase food that fills the nutritional gap of donated foods.

“Food Insecurity” refers to the lack of access to enough nutritious food to fully meet basic needs because of a lack of financial resources.

  • Florida’s Overall Food Insecurity rate is: 17.9% or 3,448,220 individuals.
  • Florida’s Child Food Insecurity rate is: 27.6% or 1,103,850 children.

Visit Map the Meal Gap for more information. 

Donate Today

Your dollars make the difference. For every $1 we can provide $7 worth of food.

Find a Food Bank

Our statewide network unites 14 member food banks to feed every community, every day.

Our Programs

Programs can vary by Food Bank or individual community. Find out more about Hunger Relief in your community.