Wawa Pledges $1 Million to Second Harvest to Feed More Children & Families

Courtesy of Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida

( ENSPIRE Community Spotlight ) A Pilot Program to Aid Food Insecure in Central Florida

ENSPIRE Contributor: Petra Wolf

Wawa has partnered with the Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida to fund their “Fly Beyond” pilot program. SHFBCF secures and distributes food and grocery products to over 625 local nonprofit feeding partners throughout Central Florida. The $1 million grant from Wawa aims to increase the amount of fresh produce the nonprofit can distribute to kids who are experiencing food insecurity in the area. Their programs go beyond students, SHFBCF provides meals to childcare centers, children’s after-school programs, group homes, senior feeding programs, and private and charter schools. They set the first part of the Fly Beyond program to start in June 2023.   

Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida doesn’t just distribute food. They also invest in job training programs and advocate for access to nutritious foods leaning into the root causes of hunger in Central Florida. They seek to inspire the Central Florida community to participate in the process which can involve volunteering, cooking, delivering, or advocating for their programs. All the ways to help out are listed here on their website.  

Courtesy of Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida 

The goal of Wawa and Second Harvest is to reach over 53,000 households over 12 months. This is through two of the food bank’s childhood hunger prevention initiatives: the School Partnerships and Summer Food Service programs. The Summer Food Service program starts in June and will provide home bags filled with fresh produce each week. This will also include the Wawa Foundation’s Community Care Vehicle distributing free hot coffee and refreshments. These provide not just energy but nutritious meals to local families. 

In the School Partnerships Program, which starts in Fall 2023, they will transform the previous Kids Pack into the Family Weekend Meal Bag that will contain nutritious foods equal to 10 meals per household. These bags will be reusable and insulated tote bags and available for both programs. The program adds 10 new Fresh Market sites at local schools. Along with that will come new customized display carts at 35 Fresh Market schools making it easier for students to grab fresh produce as they head home. 

“Through this first-of-its-kind investment, Wawa is ensuring children in Central Florida have access to the nutritious, wholesome food they need to thrive,” said Derrick Chubbs, President and CEO of Second Harvest. “Inflation is causing more families to make difficult decisions about what they can afford, and this partnership can help lessen worries about food costs.”

Throughout the year, Wawa’s culinary team will create recipes that feature many of the food items being distributed. Those recipes can be found online on the “Fly Beyond” landing page. 

Courtesy of Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida 

Wawa and Second Harvest intend to use the “Fly Beyond” pilot program and result as a road map for collaborations with other food banks or for others to implement similar programs. Robert Yeatts, Sr. Director of Florida Operations for Wawa said, “Fueling up takes on a whole new meaning with ‘Fly Beyond.’ We hope this new pilot program inspires goodness by making fresh, healthy foods conveniently available to families to create nutritious meals at home without worrying about how to afford them. Having greater access to fresh produce will improve the ability of kids in our communities to learn, lead and succeed.” 

For more information about how to support hunger relief efforts across Central Florida, visit www.FeedHopeNow.org.

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