All Faiths Food Bank Receives Support From American Red Cross For Disaster Response Operations

The Giving Coast

Pictured: The team at All Faiths Food Bank provides MREs and bottled water to be distributed throughout our community in response to emergencies.

As hurricane season approaches, taking action before, during and after the storm is essential. As the only food bank and largest hunger relief organization in Sarasota County, All Faiths Food Bank (AFFB) remains ready and able to help by providing food and water to neighbors in need.

Ryan Beaman, senior director of operations for AFFB, has been with the organization for over 10 years and along with the other staff members, has expertise in logistics, management and emergency food distribution. “We are a major part of the long-term recovery after a disaster,” he explains. “Many people seem to focus on the days, weeks, and months after a storm passes, but AFFB, along with our many local partner agencies, are here to help residents get back on their feet for years after a major impact. Many relief organizations help during the immediate post-impact recovery phase, or until their supplies run out, but we continue to support our community’s recovery efforts long-term.”

In partnership with Feeding Florida, AFFB supplies meals, ready-to-eat (MREs) and bottled water to those in need. “We have MREs and water in our inventory on reserve throughout the year so it doesn't matter where the storm is coming from and what part of the state is hit, we can easily get supplies to that food bank in a hurry,” says Beaman. “First, we drop off enough to get folks through the storm. Our fleet comes in as soon as the winds die down below 45 miles-per-hour and we get the all clear that the roads are safe. Then we start sending replenishments to each emergency shelter and we deliver water and MREs to first responders if they need it. Post storm, we check in immediately with every one of our agencies and partners in the area and find out what their conditions are, if they are able to open up, do they have power, volunteers and enough manpower, and depending on where the hardest hit areas are, we designate distribution points for disaster supplies.”

Recently, AFFB has received significant support from the American Red Cross (ARC) designated toward the purchase of equipment that will improve AFFB's ability to respond during a disaster, increase critical capacity, and pursue its mission of providing healthy solutions to end hunger. These funds were allocated through the ARC Community Adaptation Program.

AFFB’s Chief Logistics Officer, Bill Haley explains that the work AFFB does every day and the capabilities and resources that they have available to carry out daily activities and assist neighbors, is what positions them to be able to be so helpful in times of disaster. “The things we do 360 days out of the year are the things that actually enable us to be so helpful those five to ten days out of the year when we're really supporting disaster and recovery,” he says. “The Red Cross is really helping us to carry out our daily mission every single day and we're so thankful to them.”

To learn more about All Faiths Food Bank’s disaster relief operations, visit allfaithsfoodbank.org/hurricane-and-disaster-relief or call 941-379-6333.

Pictured: The team at All Faiths Food Bank provides MREs and bottled water to be distributed throughout our community in response to emergencies.

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