All Faiths Food Bank Thankful for Record-Breaking Giving Challenge Results

The Giving Coast

SRQ DAILY FRESHLY SQUEEZED CONTENT EVERY MORNING THURSDAY APR 30, 2020

Thanks to generous donors throughout the region, All Faiths Food Bank - the only food bank and largest hunger relief organization in Sarasota and DeSoto counties - ended up atop the Leaderboard, raising a record-breaking total of $621,261 during the 2020 Giving Challenge. These fundraising results speak to the caring and incredible generosity of the community, particularly as the COVID-19 crisis impacts area families and the economy.

The influx of funding couldn't come at a better time: The coronavirus has caused an unprecedented spike in need for food assistance - the Food Bank has seen a 100% increase in distribution and a 40% increase in new clients at mobile pantry distributions, and has increased produce distribution by 78%. Simultaneously, costs have skyrocketed due to the loss of consumer food donations, the loss of its significant volunteer force under the stay-at-home order, and changes to food distribution, including a need for individual packaging and the move to a drive-thru/no touch model.

Food Bank CEO Sandra Frank estimates the proceeds from the Giving Challenge will cover the cost of purchased food for one month, under current conditions and at the current increased level of need. She hopes that community members who may not be accustomed to financial challenges - such as those who have recently been furloughed or laid off, or whose businesses have been shut down – will not hesitate to reach out to the Food Bank if they have a need.

"There is an entirely new group of people in our community who have lost their livelihoods, practically overnight. They're not accustomed to seeking support but we are here for them,” Frank said. "We are so honored and humbled that the community has shown just how valuable a service we provide and how trusted our organization is. We are especially grateful to the Community Foundation of Sarasota County for presenting this incredible opportunity, and to The Patterson Foundation for its generosity in offering matching funds and prizes."

The organization is planning to offer two mass food distributions in May, at the Atlanta Braves Spring Training facility in North Port (May 9) and Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota (May 16). All Faiths expects to serve as many as 4,600 community members at each location and hopes that these events will attract people who may be experiencing new challenges due to COVID-19 and may not be accustomed to using the Food Bank's services.

For more about All Faiths Food Bank.

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