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Press Release: Statewide Food Banks Provide Critical Relief with Impact of Hurricane Michael

TALLASHASSEE, FL (October 9, 2018) – Feeding Florida’s statewide network of food banks have ramped up efforts to help families impacted by Hurricane Michael. When disaster strikes, the Feeding Florida network is on the ground and ready to deliver food and emergency supplies to help people cope in the
aftermath. The network continues to work closely with its state and federal partners to ensure each impacted individual receives the resources they require.

“We are constantly assessing community needs and preparing to provide assistance and basic supplies such as food, water, hygiene and paper products to those who might be affected,” said Robin Safley, Executive Director of the Feeding Florida. “Our statewide network of food banks is an essential part of emergency and disaster efforts as we support many of the front-line services aimed at providing essential items during response and recovery efforts. The network has already pre-placed 245,000 ready-to-eat meals and 192,000 water bottles in target impact areas.”

What We’re Doing
Feeding Florida remains in constant contact with our federal partners at the USDA and Feeding America who are conducting ongoing monitoring of the situation on-the-ground and coordinating efforts with disaster partners including the American Red Cross and FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency). Feeding Florida also serves as a core member of Florida’s Emergency Operations Center helping to coordinate Florida’s emergency food response and disaster supplies. Our most important goal is to facilitate the free flow of information among all humanitarian actors throughout the state. Our second goal is to educate the concerned public on the best ways to help without causing a “second disaster” of
uncoordinated donations and volunteers.

Our network is currently working with partner agencies to begin food distribution to critical areas via our networks mobile pantries.

What Our Food Banks Are Doing
Our 12-member food banks will work overtime over the coming days to support area refugee shelters, as well as staging food for entry into the disaster area(s). Please note, depending on the severity of the storms, some food banks may be directly impacted and may be open, but operating at a reduced capacity due to damaged facilities.

How You Can Help
Feeding Florida and our statewide network of food banks are humbled by the immediate response from communities wanting to help their neighbors in need.

At this point in the response, the best form of support is financial. When funds are donated to Feeding Florida or our member food banks, they can be immediately used to procure and distribute food, water, and cleaning / hygiene items for impacted families. Our food banks can also leverage these donations through bulk and planned buying, as well as avoid the costs associated with sorting and transporting mixed food donations.

To donate, please visit FeedingFlorida.org/donate or donate directly to one of our local member food
banks by visiting FeedingFlorida.org/florida-food-banks/directory.

Some donors are unable to give financially or prefer to organize physical food drives in their communities. We welcome all forms of support, and simply ask that organizers contact us or their local food bank to see whether their donation can be held until affected food banks are ready to receive it.
For these efforts, the items most requested by our food banks are:
• Hand-held snack items such as granola bars
• Pop-top, ready-to-eat items
• Shelf-stable pantry items such as peanut butter, tuna and soup
• Bottled water
• Cleaning supplies (bleach, non-bleach, paper towels, etc.)
• Personal hygiene items (toothbrushes, toothpaste, etc.)

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