Serving the Community During Disasters

Serving the Community During Disasters

Grant Year: 2017 | Focus Area: Health & Wellness | Grant Amount: $107,700 | Grant Status: Completed

Serving the Community During Disasters

Feeding the Gulf Coast, Inc.

Feeding the Gulf Coast was founded and incorporated in 1981 to provide nutritious food to meet the challenge of feeding people who are hungry as a result of personal crisis or disaster. In 1988, the food bank became a member of Feeding America, the nation's largest domestic hunger relief organization. Since its founding, the organization has distributed more than 200 million pounds of food to charitable feeding organizations across the 24 counties it serves - including seven counties across the panhandle of Florida, nine counties in lower Alabama, and eight counties in lower Mississippi. In 2016, the food bank distributed over 22 million pounds of food to more than 300,000 families through their network of over 400 partner agencies, consisting of church pantries, soup kitchens and other nonprofit organizations. Feeding the Gulf Coast also educates the public regarding domestic hunger, proper nutrition and other related issues. To assist in the mission to increase food access and provide educational opportunities, the food bank operates the Retail Store Level Pick-Up Program, the Mobile Pantry Program and produce drop program, Our Child Nutrition Programs, and the Summer Food Service and Backpack Programs to provide meals and snacks, after school, on weekends and during summer, to chronically hungry children.

Project Description

Feeding the Gulf Coast proposes to operate the food bank and distribute needed food and supplies to residents of Escambia and Santa Rosa counties during disasters by installing a generator at its facility in Milton. IMPACT 100 funds will be used to purchase a 250 kilowatt generator. The generator will be installed at the rear of the building and connected to the industrial freezer and cooler walk-in units. A fence will be installed around the generator to provide added security and protection. Remaining funds will be used to purchase supplies needed for disaster response, including boxes for emergency distribution, plastic totes for delivering to distribution sites, yard signs for notifying the public of distributions, gas cans, safety vests, walkie-talkies with weather alerts, freezer blankets for maintaining temperature during transport, canopies for covering food during distributions, and two portable generators.

Community Impact

To make sure that people have food and supplies as soon as possible after a disaster, Feeding the Gulf Coast must be prepared at all times. The proposed generator purchase will ensure that clients served will have the food they need so that they can focus on rebuilding their homes and community after a disaster. A disaster, such as a major hurricane, can mean a loss of property, electricity, or even a home. With loss of electricity comes the costly loss of food. Currently, the Milton facility holds almost 600,000 pounds of food, including over 204,000 pounds of refrigerated product and more than 76,000 pounds of frozen product. Should a catastrophic storm cause a loss of power for an extended period of time, all of that frozen and refrigerated food would have to be distributed immediately or risk going to waste. Recovery becomes a greater challenge when food is not available. Many of the organizations clients live paycheck to paycheck and may not have excess funds to replenish food supplies after a disaster. By providing food to them, Feeding the Gulf Coast is helping families focus on rebuilding their lives and health without having to worry about food. More specifically, they will not have to wait to get that help because Feeding the Gulf Coast is already in the community and will have food waiting for distribution. As long as a generator is in place to preserve the integrity of the food in the Milton facility, Feeding the Gulf Coast’s staff and network of volunteers and feeding programs can begin working right away to feed impacted communities. This will allow the overall community to recover after a disaster.