Area food bank partnered with Morgan & Morgan to raise funds and awareness of hunger on the First Coast and beyond
Jacksonville, Fla. – Nov. 1, 2023 – Feeding Northeast Florida (FNEFL), along with its North Central Florida branch location, Bread of the Mighty, recently hosted the organization’s annual signature fundraising event, Empty Bowls, which was generously sponsored by Morgan & Morgan.
This annual event provides a platform to raise awareness about hunger and food insecurity, raise funds to support the food bank’s operations across 12 counties and foster a sense of community as people from diverse backgrounds come together to support a common goal. Proceeds provide nutritious meals, education and support services to neighbors facing hunger.
This year, the event was hosted twice, once in each of the primary markets: Jacksonville and Gainesville. “Head Ball Coach” Steve Spurrier served as the keynote speaker during the Bread of the Mighty event in Gainesville on September 7, alongside Executive Director Patrick Dodds; Susan King, President and CEO of FNEFL, spoke in Jacksonville on October 3.
Guests received a simple meal of bread and soup, provided by Grace Marketplace in Gainesville and the FSCJ Culinary Arts & Hospitality Program in Jacksonville respectively. Each guest also selected a handcrafted bowl, provided by Duval County Public Schools and Alachua County Public Schools art students, teachers and other local artisans to serve as a powerful reminder of all the empty bowls in our community.
The need for food assistance continues to rise throughout FNEFL’s service area and across the country. More than 250,000 people are affected by food insecurity throughout the 12 counties served — equating to approximately one in 10 adults and one in seven children. Currently, the food bank estimates it provides 85,000 meals per day, more than 25% to families who have never sought charity food previously. This year, more than 500 guests attended the events including community leaders, volunteers and friends of the food bank, breaking event records. The monies raised this year through both events will provide more than 1 million meals for our neighbors in need.
The success of this fundraiser comes on the heels of significant growth for the organization this year, including a strategic realignment to merge with Bread of the Mighty; major renovations on a Jacksonville facility that will serve as the food bank’s new headquarters; and expanded nutrition programming with the implementation of a SNAP education program.
“It has been a big year for our organization,” said Susan King, President & CEO of Feeding Northeast Florida. “We are thankful to celebrate the good work that has been accomplished with our partners and friends at Empty Bowls events in both Jacksonville and Gainesville. As we head into the busy holiday season, we are grateful for the support as we work toward a future where hunger is a thing of the past.”
The food bank is gearing up for its busiest time of the year. In addition to the standing distribution schedule, the organization will add holiday distributions throughout the month of November, as well as host its annual Harvest Helpings and Turkey Time with the Jaguars initiatives. For more information on upcoming distribution events, visit https://feedingnefl.org/find-food-now/.
Fundraising events like Empty Bowls help the food bank provide necessary food and other resources for those in our community facing hunger. For more information, to make a donation to the food bank or sign up to volunteer, visit feedingnefl.org. Each $1 donated helps provide six meals for those in need.
About Feeding Northeast Florida (FNEFL)
Feeding Northeast Florida (FNEFL) is the region’s largest nonprofit (501c3) food bank and hunger relief network. FNEFL provides nutritious foods and other essential goods to those in need and strives to improve the quality of life for people living in and around Northeast and North Central Florida by addressing food insecurity, poverty and poor health. Alongside our network of food distribution, agency and community partners, the Food Bank provides food resources and hope to help all people living in our 12-county service area (Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Clay, Duval, Flagler, Gilchrist, Levy, Nassau, Putnam, St. Johns and Union) who struggle to feed themselves and their families. Feeding Northeast Florida works daily to find solutions to address the issues of food insecurity and poverty through awareness, advocacy, education, and action in ways that promote dignity, respect and empowerment. For more information, visit feedingnefl.org.