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.

We are so grateful to be able to count on the support of the US Family Foundation. They recently presented the Community Food Bank (CFB) with a check for $26,000 to assist in ending hunger throughout our community. Thank you for all you do to support the CFB and the 60+ partner agencies we serve!

US Family Foundation, Inc. Continues to Fight Hunger

Pictured from left to right:

Foster Lamm, CFB Board Treasurer; Steve Ponticos, CFB Board President; Barbara Sprague CEO/Executive Director; Johnny Cash US Family Foundation.

The CFB Board of Directors has decided to postpone the Drive Fore Food tournament due to the Hurricane Idalia relief efforts we and many of our partner businesses and supporters are actively engaged in to assist those who have been affected. We know your prayers and thoughts are with us and our community as we work through the disaster. Thank you for your understanding and we look forward to swinging some clubs with you in the Spring!

Local Food Pantries Stocked and Helping People in Need

The Community Food Bank (CFB), in cooperation with Feeding Tampa Bay and FEMA, handed out MRE’s (meals ready to eat) and water yesterday to residents from Homosassa to Crystal River who live in flood zones and were affected by Hurricane Idalia.

The CFB is also stocking all of the 60+ food pantries, ministries, shelters, and soup kitchens they serve throughout Hernando, Sumter, and Citrus counties with additional supplies for residents to access. The CFB will continue to distribute MRE’s and meal boxes to partnering agencies in Citrus County.

“We are seeing unimaginable damage to homes along the coast and in flood zone areas,” says CFB CEO and Executive Director Barbara Sprague. “Many residents have suffered a total loss of contents of their homes, including kitchen appliances. Some have completely lost their homes.”

The CFB needs additional donations as they continue to meet the needs of the community.

“We provide meals to more than 70,000 individuals each month as part of our everyday operations,” explains Sprague. “That number is steadily rising as we mobilize to serve individuals and families who are just now assessing their devastating losses in the aftermath of Hurricane Idalia.”

Residents who need Hurricane Idalia relief can call 211 or visit click here to find the nearest food pantry.

Want to help with Hurricane Relief efforts? Please click here to donate.

Carrying a purse or handbag is a natural part of the everyday lives of many women, often becoming an extension of those who own them. Many women have multiple purses in different styles, colors, and sizes to suit every occasion. However, for women who are struggling to make ends meet, a purse is often considered a luxury.

Lauren Lindgren wanted to make sure that all women have an opportunity to gain the self-esteem and security that often comes with carrying a stylish handbag. So, Lindgren organized a purse drive to assist local women who are in transition and/or are homeless and soon donations came in from as far away as New York and California. She worked for months to collect handbags, toiletries, and personal care items that she and a group of friends packed into the handbags. They were then donated to the Community Food Bank for distribution to our partnering agencies who serve women in need.

“Collaboration between friends to benefit worthy causes can make a tremendous impact,” says Lindgren. “We all had fun with this project, and it was more meaningful for us knowing that what we were doing will put smiles on the faces of so many women who are struggling and facing tough times.”

“Sometimes the smallest gestures can make the greatest impact in touching the lives of those who are struggling,” says Barbara Sprague, CEO and Executive Director of the CFB. “We applaud Lauren for this effort and reps from our agency partners are excited to see the smiles on the faces of the ladies who receive these beautiful handbags!”

Special thanks to everyone who came out to celebrate our 10 years of service. An awesome time was had by all!! If you missed it, no worries. Here are some pics from the celebration:

The event was extra special thanks to our sponsors!

  • Daystar Life Center
  • CL22 Productions
  • Lowe’s in Inverness

Thank you to the Citrus County Chamber of Commerce for conducting our ribbon cutting ceremony and presenting us with a check for $500!

We look forward to continuing to serve our wonderful community for the next 10 years!

Public Invited to Open House and Celebratory Ribbon Cutting

The Community Food Bank (CFB) is excited to celebrate 10 years of providing food assistance throughout our community. An open house and celebratory ribbon cutting ceremony courtesy of the Citrus County Chamber of Commerce will be held to commemorate the CFB’s work over the past 10 years while looking ahead to the future:

Community Food Bank
10-Year Anniversary Open House and Ribbon Cutting
Tuesday, April 18th
(Ribbon Cutting Ceremony – 4:30pm)

CFB CEO and Executive Director Barbara Sprague will introduce the community to the agency’s Ending Hunger Campus, which includes vehicles, refrigerated trucks, forklifts, and two 7,000 sq. ft. warehouses equipped to receive, sort, store, and distribute food to the CFB’s 60+ partnering agencies. Attendees will have the opportunity to see first-hand the level of impact being rallied to meet the changing needs of those in crisis throughout our community.

“We share the blessing of this facility to provide for those facing hunger, and our impact with everyone who enjoys the Nature Coast and all of its sparkle,” says Sprague.

Since opening in 2013, the CFB has distributed 30,000,000 pounds of food (more than 30 million meals) throughout Citrus, Hernando, and Sumter counties. During its first year of operation, the CFB provided 953,008 meals to approximately 10,000 people. Today, the CFB feeds more than 70,000 people each month through 60+ partner agencies.

“We’ve continued to grow and respond to the need,” explains Sprague. “We are so fortunate to live in a community with individuals and businesses who are always willing to step up to the plate to help their neighbors in need.”

John Marmish, Johnny Cash, Debbie Lattin, JoAnne Boggus, Wayne Dupler, Steve Ponticos, and Phil Scarpelli were the founding members who served on the original Board of Directors in 2013. Ponticos (current BOD President), Marmish, and Boggus continue to serve on the CFB’s Board of Directors today, while Cash is a member of the CFB Advisory Board.

As the CFB looks into the future, their vision is quite clear.

“We want to continue to have the capacity and ability to meet the food insecurity needs of our community,” says Sprague. “As a community partner, we will work to educate, inspire, and impact those in need by supporting the resources, efforts, and programs by elevating individuals and families from poverty and homelessness to becoming active and productive members of our area workforce and local communities.”

Ending hunger together! Joe Weston, CFPÒ of Merrill Lynch Wealth Management / Barlow – Weston Group presents Community Food Bank CEO/Executive Director Barbara Sprague with a $5,000 check to provide 50,000 meals for individuals in need throughout our local area.

Special thank you to Merrill Lynch Wealth Management / Barlow – Weston Group for contributing a generous donation of $5000 to fight hunger. This equates to another 50,000 nutritious, wholesome meals distributed though our 60+ partner agencies, ministries, food pantries, senior centers, and community service organizations throughout Citrus, Hernando, and Sumter Counties.

Thanks for being a Hunger Hero. We couldn’t do what we do without you!

Citrus County Hospital Board Awards $30,000 to Help Fight Hunger

We’re so thankful to the Citrus County Hospital Board for awarding the Community Food Bank (CFB) with a grant for $30,000 to help fight hunger. The Trustees understand how valuable good and consistent nutrition is to our most at risk residents and stepped up to the plate to help us ensure no one in our community goes hungry.

Food insecurity is on the rise and has many faces. Among those seeking food assistance are senior citizens on fixed incomes, working families, and individuals who struggle to make ends meet, especially as the price of food continues to rise. Thanks to this grant, the CFB will be able to provide 300,000 meals which will be distributed through our 60+ partnering agencies.

Thank you for your generosity and continued support to help us end hunger and nourish hope!

Walmart Community Grants Team Selects CFB for $2000 Grant

We are super excited to have been selected by the Walmart Community Grants Team and Walmart store #1104 located at 2461 E Gulf to Lake Hwy in Inverness to receive a $2000 grant designated to fight hunger throughout our community. We will use these funds to provide 20,000 meals which will be distributed through our 60+ partner agencies. Special thank you to Walmart for supporting our efforts and for always making a difference in their local communities!