Food insecurity has been a local problem for a long time, and it’s getting worse as the pandemic rages on. Thousands of Central Floridians remain furloughed – many from jobs that were low-paying to begin with – and are struggling to pay bills, rent and buy food. To get a gut-punching idea of the situation, read Gabrielle Russon’s article in the Orlando Sentinel about a weekly food giveaway for people out of work with a line of cars that stretches two miles.
Breadlines have become motorized. And instead of the haggard faces of downtrodden men seen in Depression-era photographs, these lines are occupied by your neighbors.
Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida, which has been fighting the hunger fight for years, notes that the area is expecting a 49 percent increase in the number of people who will face food insecurity this year. One in six Central Floridians.
So Second Harvest has launched a monthlong campaign to Stock the Shelves as part of a national initiative called Hunger Action Month. The organization is encouraging those of us fortunate to have enough to take action to help others. This may include donating 30 nonperishable food items – one for every day of September; donating $30 for 30 days of hunger (or more if you’re able); donating half of your buy-one-get-one food purchase; or signing up to volunteer – those two-mile-long food lines don’t staff themselves.