No Hunger Game, The Bread Of The Mighty Food Bank
NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA - No Hunger Games, this is a four part series focusing on those who go to bed every night, with an empty stomach. Millions are facing food insecurities here in one of the richest countries in the world.
In our first installment of this series, we go inside of the "Bread of the Mighty Food Bank" andfind out how they are working to eliminate hunger in North Central Florida.
While this may look like a regular grocery store, To the left of the bread aisle there’s a deeper story. Because this is more than just a super market, it’s the Bread of the Mighty Food Bank. A place, Doug and Donnie Hummel know very well.
Everyday they'll get up early in the morning and sort through shelves. Not for themselves but for the families they feed. "To be able to bless people is a blessing to me. You go out with the intentions of blessing someone but you end up being the one blessed,” Bonnie said.
The Hummels have been together for 43 years and one thing they have in common is the gift of giving. "Sometimes I turn around in the middle of the road, and bonnie asks what are you doing? Do you see that guy standing in the corner? And we spin around and we'll have stuff in the car, we'll give them something like pop tarts or something," Doug said.
Their ministry, Feed My Sheep is a partner of the Mighty Food Bank. In their white van they make trips to different homes all over Gainesville. “I don't think there's a subdivision we haven't been to," Bonnie said. They deliver food to those in need Monday through Sunday, because they say hunger doesn't take a break.
Loretta Griffis the Assistant Development Coordinator for the Bread of the Mighty Food Bank said, "We are the bank and think of it as like you take your stuff and deposit it in the bank and people come in and draw it out that's what happens here. We have like 130 plus agencies that will come in and get food and they're the ones that take it out and get into the hands of the hungry."
Marcia Conwell the Executive Director of Bread of the Mighty says any little bit of help counts. "Some people think, well I can't really give you a lot of money and that is not true. For every dollar that is donated to the food bank we can provide up to 10 meals. We can get the food a whole lot cheaper with our connections than people can go and get," Conwell said. The food bank gets boxes from retailers like this one which may not be in best condition on the outside but perfectly fine inside at a discounted price.
Conwell says she's involved in this type of work because of the need all over North Central Florida. At about 30 percent, Putnam County, has one of the highest poverty rates in the state, according to the USDA. Dixie is at 25 percent and Alachua is almost at 24. "1 in 4 children are hungry in here in Alachua County and 1 in 5 seniors and then we've got the working poor 1 in 6, right here in our own counties. You wouldn't know who they are because what does hunger look like? You really can't put a face on hunger," Conwell said.
Griffis feels the same way. She began doing charity work alongside her husband. After losing his battle against cancer, she feels like there's a mission she has to finish-- for him. "I didn't realize what a roll of toilet paper would mean to someone, and we take it for granted. Tooth brush, toothpaste, we take it for granted but for those people, it's a luxury to them," Griffis said. A luxury, the Hummels hope they can keep providing-- with the help of the Bread of the Mighty Food Bank.
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