PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — Surplus food from Hurricane Irma arrived just in time to feed hungry Pinellas County children this summer.
Nearly a dozen nonprofits will be loading up pallets of food from a Bay Area warehouse and taking it to sites across Pinellas County where children and families can access this food free of charge.
"We became aware through our local legislative delegation that FEMA had surplus food available; pre-packaged meals with shelf dates that were about to expire," stated JWB Chief Executive Office Dr. Marcie Biddleman. "The timing couldn't have been better with children just out of school for the summer."
Since over half of Pinellas County School students rely on free and reduced-price school lunches, many children struggle to access healthy food when school is out.
In Pinellas County alone, 36,000 children are considered food insecure, and 7,000 chronically hungry. JWB oversees a childhood hunger collective initiative focused on filling food gaps for kids, especially over the summer.
"In total, our county received 26,400 shelf-stable meals," Biddleman said. "Each kit includes a ravioli pop-top, granola bar, veggie straws/chips, fruit cocktail, and juice. Food that may have otherwise gone unused in the wake of Hurricane Irma has now been redirected to Pinellas County, and we couldn't thank FEMA and Farmshare enough."