In 2009, we received a grant to begin a Pack-A-Sack program to initiate a community, church, and school connection. Our vision was to feed Broward County School children in need over the weekend when school meals were not accessible. We committed to do as much as we could, for as long as we could, and for as many as we could in love. Many years later, we have committed to serving over 10 schools and expanded our initiative to help families within our surrounding community.
Then, the COVID-19 pandemic made its waves globally and the world paused for a moment. Our connection to schools to help serve children became strained and eventually an impossible feat as stay-at-home and virtual learning mandates were put in effect. Reimagining how we could continue to serve those who are in need... our dreams became bigger and bolder. We began our Drive-Thru Distribution Program to feed families AND children. Each week, we open our doors on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 4PM-6PM at our Flamingo Location to serve our community. Student bags and family bags may consist of nonperishable items such as: peanut butter, ramen, granola, crackers, rice, canned vegetables, mac & cheese, and so forth. Families receiving food from our Drive Thru Distribution Program has access to additional items such as fresh protein (chicken, pork, etc.), fresh fruits and vegetables, and baked goods.
We hope to increase families access to healthy and nutritious foods and would appreciate any donations of such!
We are currently serving over 250 families and 400 school children on a weekly basis. Each bag given consists of nourishment for the tummy, love for the heart, and hope for the mind.
ProducePedia is a free resource that covers the types of fresh produce that can be delivered to food pantries. Each entry includes information on color, taste, and possible uses. People unfamiliar with the vegetable or fruit will learn how to use it, and those who are familiar with it still might learn a fun fact or two!
The Cooperative Extension sites have a wealth of information for any backyard gardener. Once you go to the site (each one if very different from the others) look for a link for “homes and gardens”, “landscape”, “consumer horticulture”, etc. to find information on improving your backyard garden. Neighboring state sites may offer information your own state’s site lacks.