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March to a Million Meals: Rescued food makes your donations go further

As we ask for your help in our March to a Million Meals, we want you to know exactly where your money goes. If you look at the donation page, $42 feeds a family for a week, and one of the Harry Chapin Food Bank’s goals is to make sure that food is fresh and healthy.

Healthy and nutritious fruits and veggies aren’t always pretty, but even ugly produce can still feed a hungry mouth. And the fruits and veggies grown in our area will go to those hungry families in need: About 80% of the food handed out through Harry Chapin is donated or rescued food.

Rescued foods are those fruits and veggies that wouldn’t sell fast at the supermarket, or are too large to be sold in the store. They also help your donated dollar go much father.
Right now, the Harry Chapin Food Bank is spending about $1 million a month on top of the items that are being donated.

“We are so grateful for the support; we do get all of these donors who donate food to us and they don’t have to do that,” said Richard Leber, CEO of the Harry Chapin Food Bank. “But they do that out of the goodness of their hearts. And they do that because, you know, they put a lot of time and effort and heart into growing these products and they hate to see them go to waste, even if they can’t get paid for it.”

The Florida government also helps make sure this food doesn’t go to waste.

“The Florida Department of Agriculture, for a number of years, has maintained a budget to buy products from Florida farmers, especially surplus product that can’t be sold, and to make it available for food banks,” Leber said. “And we’re very grateful for that. That’s a significant program for us. That’s probably 5% of our total food for the year in that one program alone.”

WINK News is trying to donate 1 million meals, but we need the community’s help: $400,000 would equal 1 million meals for Harry Chapin to distribute.

Reporter:Gail Levy
Writer:Joey Pellegrino
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