The first-ever Suwannee Valley Food Fight benefitting the Florida Gateway Food Bank was a huge success.
11 community-focused organizations came together for a friendly competition to earn the most points awarded based on dollars and pounds of food donated. First, second and third place went to Suwannee Valley Electric Cooperative, Cheek & Scott Pharmacy, and the Florida Peanut Federation, respectively.
The other participating organizations were First Federal Bank, Gamble & Associates Construction, Pregnancy Care Center of Live Oak, Radiant Credit Union, RIVEROAK Technical College, Rotary Club of Live Oak, The Front Porch Café, and the Youth Ranches Thrift Store.
During the 4 weeks of the Food Fight, $1,150 and 3,470 pounds of food were collected. The money alone can be leveraged by the food bank to provide approximately 13,800 nutritious meals to local people in need.
“We are very grateful to all the organizations that stepped up to pioneer what we hope will become a much larger annual event,” said Suwannee Valley Electric Cooperative Director of Communications, Jon Little. “The Food Fight is a wonderful example of what can be achieved when members of the community unite for a common purpose.”
According to data from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), 1 in 7 residents of the Suwannee Valley are food insecure. Food insecurity refers to the USDA’s measure of lack of access to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members. Food-insecure households are not necessarily food insecure all the time, but may face trade-offs between important basic needs, such as housing or medical bills, and purchasing nutritionally adequate foods.
“I really want to thank all the participants in the Food Fight,” said Catholic Charities Regional Director, Suzanne Edwards. “September is National Hunger month, and the Food Fight helps bring to light a subject – hunger – that is not often talked about. Many people don’t always know where their next meal is going to come from. That’s not right anywhere, and certainly not here in America or in our rural communities where we always take care of each other.”
About Florida Gateway Food Bank
The Florida Gateway Food Bank is operated by the Catholic Charities Bureau, Lake City Regional Office. The food bank supplies food pantries throughout the Suwannee Valley. For more information about the food bank, please call Catholic Charities Regional Director, Suzanne Edwards, at (386) 754-9180.