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.

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!