‘They’re hungry’: How to help the 47K Seminole County children who are food-insecure

SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. — With the number of food-insecure families growing across our region, 9 Family Connection wants you to know about its summer donation drive.

You can help this year as we team up to help struggling families in Seminole County, where the need is greater than ever.

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The quest to reduce hunger never ends at Hearts, Hands and Hope in Sanford.

Packing vehicles for its food bag program literally means survival for thousands of food-insecure families across Seminole County.

Read: The Summer Donation Drive Is Going On Now!

“There are 47,000 children in Seminole County who are food-insecure and need food on a regular basis,” said Michelle Wilson, founder of Hearts, Hands and Hope. “These children go to bed at night and they’re hungry, so we help fill that gap.”

Wilson said the need has nearly quadrupled due to ongoing inflation and the pandemic.

“We went from distributing about 10 meals a year to 10,000 meals a week during COVID,” Wilson said. “So, we have distributed over a million meals since COVID hit, and that need is still out there. There are still families out of work and still children that need help.”

Canned and nonperishable food items are most needed.

Read: New program works to reduce 911 calls in Seminole County

9 Family Connection’s summer donation drive is ready to pitch in by teaming up with longtime partner Goodwill Industries of Central Florida.

“We’re able to help those people who might need to go to the food bank and receive those items, so it’s (a) one-stop for the customers and donors and helping people across the organization,” said Desi Pappas, a representative from Goodwill Industries of Central Florida.

For Hearts, Hands and Hope, it’s another step toward a solution where it matters most.

Read: Brevard County woman describes food insecurity during pandemic to Congress

“These children are just so excited when they see us come because they know they’re going to eat tonight and that’s why we do what we do,” Wilson said.

To help feed these families and find a Goodwill drop-off location near you, check out the list here.

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