Future Philanthropist

CFB CEO/Executive Director Barbara Sprague took some of our good friends at United Way of Citrus County on a tour of the CFB warehouses and operations. Little Nolan accompanied Jen and Jess as they learned about how the CFB provides food assistance to more than 70,000 neighbors in need throughout Citrus, Hernando, and Sumter counties.

Hmmm….judging by the serious look on Nolan’s face, it sure looks like he could be contemplating a future as a philanthropist!

The Sugarmill Woods Women’s Club presented CFB CEO/Executive Director Barbara Sprague with a check for $1800 to help support food relief efforts throughout Citrus County. This generous donation will provide 18,000 meals to our neighbors in need. Thank you for your continued support, ladies!!

USDA’s New Summer Nutrition Initiative

Parents Facing Food Insecurity Are Encouraged to Take Advantage of Additional Summer Assistance

The Community Food Bank (CFB) applauds a new summer nutrition initiative being rolled out by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Summer is always a challenge for families facing food insecurity because of the unavailability of free and reduced school breakfast and lunch programs. The CFB works each summer to bridge that gap. This year, the USDA is taking a giant leap in helping struggling families through a new ‘SUN Programs: USDA’s Summer Nutrition Program for Kids” initiative.

According to a press release from the USDA:

“Through the suite of SUN programs, families now have more choices and convenient ways to get summer nutrition support for their children and teens with new SUN Bucks, SUN Meals, and previously launched SUN Meals To-Go. Collectively, these programs continue the work of the Biden-Harris Administration in promoting food and nutrition security.”

SUN Bucks, the new evidence-based Summer Electronic Benefits Transfer (Summer EBT) program, provides a grocery benefit of $120 per eligible school-aged child this summer.

SUN Meals and SUN Meals To-Go are both existing USDA summer programs that serve children 18 years of age and younger.

“The is great news for struggling families,” says Barbara Sprague, CEO/Executive Director of the CFB, “The USDA’s new SUN Bucks program provides families with funds to purchase groceries, the perfect complement to the food they receive at one of our 60+ food distribution agencies. We are extremely thankful and supportive of this new program. It’s a true win-win for our community.”

For more information on the USDA’s Summer Nutrition Program for Kids, please visit https://www.fns.usda.gov/summer.

Community Food Bank Trees of Life Program

The Community Food Bank (CFB) is excited to announce its new sustainable donation initiative, Trees of Life. This program gives donors an opportunity to purchase a fruit or vegetable tree that will be planted on the CFB property and harvested  for distribution to the CFB’s 60+ partner agencies throughout Citrus, Hernando, and Sumter Counties.

“Participating in the Trees of Life program allows donors to make an investment in something that will continue to bear fruit and feed thousands of people for years to come,” explains Barbara Sprague, CEO/Executive Director of the CFB.

Individuals, families, organizations, companies, etc. have the opportunity to purchase a tree or numerous trees either in their name or in the name of a person, a pet, or company they want to honor.  Various types of trees can be selected, including lemon, apple, pear, peach, and avocado. Additionally, entire sections of trees may be purchased and four founding Patrons will receive a large tree plaque permanently placed at the front of the garden.

For more information about Trees of Life, please visit https://feed352.org/trees/.

The Community Food Bank (CFB) is excited to announce its new sustainable donation initiative, Trees of Life. This program gives donors an opportunity to purchase a fruit or vegetable tree that will be planted on the CFB property and harvested  for distribution to the CFB’s 60+ partner agencies throughout Citrus, Hernando, and Sumter Counties.

“Participating in the Trees of Life program allows donors to make an investment in something that will continue to bear fruit and feed thousands of people for years to come,” explains Barbara Sprague, CEO/Executive Director of the CFB.

The CFB is housed on several acres of land that was donated for the purposes of providing food assistance. The two warehouses on the property serve as a receiving, holding, and shipping hub for the 60+ partner agencies who receive food from the CFB each week. According to Sprague, additional acreage around these warehouses will be  transformed into a Trees of Life garden.

Individuals, families, organizations, companies, etc. have the opportunity to purchase a tree or numerous trees either in their name or in the name of a person, a pet, or company they want to honor. The tree(s) will be planted, and a customized staked tree plaque will be placed in front of the tree denoting the name of who purchased the tree and who it is honoring. The person/entity the tree is being planted in honor of will receive a certificate and image of the tree/plaque.

“This is a great way to promote your company or organization, celebrate a special occasion, remember a loved one who has passed away, memorialize a pet, recognize and accomplishment, honor an injured or fallen hero, and more,” says Sprague.

Trees of Life donations start at $500. Various types of trees can be selected, including lemon, apple, pear, peach, and avocado. Additionally, entire sections of trees may be purchased and four founding Patrons will receive a large tree plaque permanently placed at the front of the garden.

For more information about Trees of Life, please visit https://feed352.org/trees/.

Mike Orlito

Longtime Community Food Bank (CFB) Board Member Mike Orlito was recognized by Congressman Gus Bilirakis for his contributions and leadership to help the CFB grow from providing 1.8 million meals in Citrus County to becoming a 5.1 million meal distribution hub for Citrus, Hernando, and Sumter counties.

Congratulations on this well-deserved honor! Mike, we are so fortunate and honored that you have chosen to become such an integral and important part of helping us End Hunger and Nourish Hope throughout the Nature Coast!

Hello, Hernando!

Community Food Bank (CFB) Board Member John Mitten (left) recently spoke at the Greater Hernando Chamber of Commerce breakfast about the CFB’s impact and support of citizens in need throughout the county. Currently, the CFB provides Hernando County with two million meals which are distributed through 10 partnering food agencies. The CFB’s expansion into Hernando County and proposed satellite location with a collaborative center of support for ease and accessibility to the local food pantries and local clients was well received.

Community Food Bank Selected for Target Circle Campaign

The Community Food Bank (CFB) is honored and excited to announce that we have been chosen to participate in a special charitable giving campaign, sponsored and funded by Target. Each time you shop at Target, you have a chance to help direct a portion of Target’s donation to the CFB.

It’s easy to participate. Now through June 30th, vote for the Community Food Bank through the Target Circle program to help determine how Target’s donation will be divvied up.

We’re asking our supporters to help us make the most of this incredible opportunity. Every vote counts to help us receive a portion of the available Target funds as we continue our mission to End Hunger and Nourish Hope.

“This is a great way to support the CFB every time you shop at Target,” explains Barbara Sprague, Executive Director/CEO of the Community Food Bank. “It costs you nothing except a few minutes to vote. Essentially, the more votes we get, the more money we receive from Target.”

For more information about Target Circle, please visit: https://www.target.com/circle.

The Community Food Bank (CFB) received a $20,000 grant from Suncoast Credit Union to help the organization feed children throughout Citrus and Hernando counties (ages 0-18) nutritious meals outside of school settings. According to Barbara Sprague, CEO/Executive Director of the CFB, the grant will provide 200,000 kid-friendly, nutritious meals that will be distributed to the CFB’s 60+ partner agencies.

“Each of our agencies is supplied with food relief and resources to connect families and individuals to the help they need to overcome their crisis and become independent again. Children are at the heart of our efforts as they often suffer from the plight of their parents and have no voice in their situation,” explains Sprague. “These young victims are often underweight, obese, score low scholastically, lag in reading scores, and become the next cycle in generational poverty. Our movement works to end hunger, nourish hope, promote awareness, and inspire others to be our partners in the fight against food insecurity.”

“Suncoast Credit Union understands that childhood hunger can impact everything from a child’s physical and mental well-being to their academic experiences,” says Kourtney Berry, Executive Director, Suncoast Credit Union Foundation. “We believe that everyone deserves access to nutritious meals, and this donation to the Community Food Bank will help make that basic human need a reality.”

While children on reduced and free school meal programs are fed when school is in session, there is a significant gap during the evenings, weekends, holidays, and summer.

“For many children, the only food they have access to is the free meals offered at school,” says Sprague. “We are so grateful for organizations such as Suncoast Credit Union who can step in and help us fill the gap!”

For more information about Suncoast Credit Union, please visit  https://www.suncoastcreditunion.com/.

The Community Food Bank (CFB) wants to bring awareness to a difficult issue on the rise – food insecurity among senior citizens. The CFB and its 60+ partnering agencies have seen a steady increase in the number of seniors who rely on food assistance.

“The Nature Coast is one of the most popular areas to retire but unfortunately, it’s not all roses and sunsets for everyone,” explains Barbara Sprague, CEO and Executive Director of the CFB. “Seniors in our area have been hit hard by inflation. Additionally, the high cost of housing has forced many senior citizens to either delay their retirement or follow the new national trend of ‘unretirement’ and go back into the workforce.”

The CFB is seeing a significant number of working seniors finding it difficult to make ends meet. The organization is tackling this issue head on by raising awareness and stepping up to the plate to ensure our area senior citizens have access to the nutritious food they need to sustain their aging bodies.

“We’re currently feeding more than 70,000 neighbors in need each month,” says Sprague. “Five years ago, that number was 30,000. The need has more than doubled.  Today, approximately 43% of those served are senior citizens.”

According to Sprague, the CFB is gearing up to help ensure anyone in need is also able to enjoy a Thanksgiving meal next week, Christmas meal in December, and a New Year’s meal in January. This is in addition to the food already being provided to the 60+ agencies the CFB serves.

“Holidays can be extremely difficult, especially for seniors,” says Sprague. “Our mission is to End Hunger and Nourish Hope – we often find that the seniors we serve are among those in most need of hope.”

The CFB continues to seek donations and volunteers to help ensure no one goes hungry. Any donation helps, and CFB makes every dollar received go a long way. Every $10 contributed to the CFB provides 100 meals to families right here in our community.

“We invite anyone in a position to help to become a Hunger Hero, offering a lifeline to families in need through your generous donation. Whether it’s $10 or $10,000, every dollar carries the power to transform an empty belly into a full one,” concludes Sprague.