Hendry County among top producers of food; has high food insecurity among families

Published: February 9, 2022 4:47 PM EST
Updated: February 10, 2022 7:47 AM EST

Food is growing everywhere but people are hungry in Hendry County.

Hendry County is one of the most food-insecure counties in the state.

Known for its orange and sugarcane fields, Hendry County struggles to feed its population.

It’s the top third producer of vegetables and fifth in beef cattle, but more than 15 percent of families don’t know where their next meal is coming from.

The Harry Chapin Food Bank sees the irony, which is why it holds regular food distributions in LaBelle.

“I’m here because they provide something that we all need. Because I’m not very low-income, but I’m struggling as well. And it’s an opportunity, I’m so grateful, you don’t understand,” said Adela Vargas, of LaBelle.

Vargas is a regular. So is Barbara Farner, who gets boxes for herself and for her neighbors who can’t get to the distribution center during the day.

“I mean, like the onions, I might keep those because I need onions, but the canned goods I open them, look and I take them right across the street,” Farner said. 

Marisa Chairez volunteers for the food bank. She said the need is so great, people typically line up three hours before distribution begins.

HOW TO HELP

To donate to the Harry Chapin Food Bank, click on the link or the banner below.