Florida Blue Foundation Grant Awarded to Second Harvest of the Big Bend
Grant Supports Grocery Locker Installations in Madison, Gulf and Liberty Counties
Tallahassee, FL – Jan. 25, 2022–Second Harvest of the Big Bend has received a Florida Blue Foundation Food Security Grant to purchase and install commercial-grade grocery lockers in Madison, Gulf and Liberty counties to help ensure greater access to nutritious food within these communities.
“Access to nutritious food is essential for good health, development and overall well-being.The Florida Blue Foundation is focused on supporting organizations like Second Harvest of the Big Bend that are developing innovative solutions to make a lasting impact on food security in our communities,” said Susan Towler, Florida Blue Foundation executive director. “We value their efforts to provide fresh produce and healthy food to families and seniors in rural communities who need assistance, and we are eager to help this program expand in the coming years.”
Madison, Gulf and Liberty counties experience among the highest rates of food insecurity in the Big Bend. They are currently served by Second Harvest food bank through mobile food pantries, food distribution partnerships with 13 partner agencies, and the Commodity Supplemental Food Program for seniors. With the addition of 20-unit, temperature controlled grocery lockers, Second Harvest will diversify distribution and deepen their impact in these underserved rural areas.
“Our goal with this program is to help ensure greater access to nutritious food, and we are confident that food lockers will provide a convenient, accessible and sustainable food delivery option to support rural, low-income families and seniors,” said James McGowan, Second Harvest’s Chief Development Officer.
Annual grant distributions will support one new grocery locker installation per year, beginning in Madison County. In 2022, the program is anticipated to serve 260 Madison County households, providing 800 30-lb. grocery boxes (each providing up to 25 meals). Clients will be able to choose from at least three grocery box menu options which meet Healthy Eating Research Nutrition Guidelines, and boxes will include educational materials detailing proper nutrition and supportive services.
Grocery locker installations are planned for Gulf County in 2023, and for Liberty County in 2024. Additionally, each county’s program will expand in the second year to include distribution of non-food necessities including diapers, hygiene kits and cleaning supplies.