Approximately one in seven adults across Central Florida could experience food insecurity in 2021 due to the ongoing economic fallout from COVID-19. Neighbors in our community are struggling to put food on the table – many facing this difficult reality for the first time in their lives.

The food bank has been distributing enough food for 300,000 meals a day for the past year – that’s double pre-pandemic hunger relief efforts.

Due to the heightened and sustained need for food assistance caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Second Harvest outgrew its existing kitchen and needed to find an additional location. As a result of CARES Act funding through Orange County and financial support from the community, the food bank expanded into the new 20,000-square-foot facility, two miles from its main warehouse.

Mercy Kitchen includes an expanded production kitchen, a cooler and freezer area, dry storage, and six receiving and distribution bay doors to support Second Harvest’s operations.

Mercy Kitchen

Volunteers and staff at this location support hunger relief efforts by producing more than 115,000 meals a week, including:

  • 7-Day Breakfast and Lunch Boxes
  • Chef-inspired Family Meal Boxes
  • Kids meals for the Kids Café Program and Summer Food Service Program

Additionally, Mercy Kitchen is home to Second Harvest’s social entrepreneurial endeavors, such as providing contracted meals for private schools and its signature product line, A Spoon Full of Hope. These programs, along with Drop and Go Catering, and Catering for Good services, have allowed Second Harvest to diversify its funding stream and continue providing necessary resources to help sustain hunger relief efforts in Central Florida.

Fight Hunger. Spark Change. campaign. 

Walmart and Sam’s Club are supporting the Feeding America® nationwide network of food banks, including Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida through the Fight Hunger. Spark Change. campaign.  Now in its eighth year, the campaign has been a way for Walmart and Sam’s Club to partner with suppliers, customers and members to help provide food to people in need.

The Fight Hunger. Spark Change. campaign will run in store and online from April 5 – May 3, 2021. There are three easy ways for customers and members to participate:

  • Donate at check-out in stores and clubs, or at either www.FeedingAmerica.org/Walmart or www.FeedingAmerica.org/SamsClub.
  • Round-up at check-out on Walmart.com and the Walmart app.
  • For every participating product purchased in store or online at Walmart.com or SamsClub.com, the supplier will donate the monetary equivalent of at least one meal ($0.10) on behalf of a Feeding America member food bank at Walmart and five meals ($0.50) at Sam’s Club, up to applicable limits. See specially marked packages for full details.

“Central Florida has faced a number of challenges this past year and we have worked hard to serve our neighbors in their time of need. Walmart and Sam’s Club have been a true partner in this effort,” said Dave Krepcho, president and CEO. “Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida is grateful for Walmart, Sam’s Club and their suppliers, members and customers for their generous support because it will allow us to continue operating at levels we have not seen for as long as we have been.”

Since March 2020, Second Harvest has been distributing enough food for 300,000 meals a day – double the amount from before the pandemic. In that time, the food bank has provided 96 million meals across Orange, Osceola, Lake, Seminole, Volusia and Brevard counties.

“Fighting hunger means more than just feeding people. It means helping them on a path to fulfill their potential, because nutritious food is the foundation for good health and wellbeing,” said Kathleen McLaughlin, executive vice president and chief sustainability officer for Walmart. “Central to our mission at Walmart is helping people live better and that includes ensuring they have access to nutritious food. In its eighth year, Fight Hunger. Spark Change. continues to provide communities a way to support local food banks alongside their neighbors, trusted brands and their local Walmart and Sam’s Club.”

Each Walmart and Sam’s Club will partner with at least one local Feeding America food bank, and the 27 participating suppliers include: Abbott, Bodyarmor, Bush Brothers & Company, Campbell Soup Company, Clif Bar & Company, Ferrera Candy Company, General Mills, Great Value, Iovate Health Sciences, J.M. Smucker, Kellogg’s, Keurig/Mott’s, Kitu Coffee, Kraft Heinz, Materne North America, Mighty Spark, Monster Energy, PEPSICO, Post Consumer Brands, Purina, Simply Good Foods, Strong Roots, The Coca-Cola Company, The Clorox Company, This Saves Lives, Unilever and United States Nutrition.

To learn more about the campaign visit www.FeedHopeNow.org.