Newly Opened Second Harvest’s Mercy Kitchen Helps Meet the Food Assistance Demand during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Due to the heightened and sustained need for food assistance, Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida outgrew its existing production kitchen and needed to find an additional location. Thanks to CARES Act funding through Orange County Government and financial support from the community, the food bank has expanded into a new 20,000-square-foot facility, two miles from its main warehouse.
Volunteers and staff at this new location, called Mercy Kitchen, support hunger relief efforts by producing more than 115,000 meals a week, including:
- 7-Day Breakfast and Lunch Boxes
- Chef-inspired Family Meal Boxes
- Kids’ meals for the Kids Café Program and Summer Food Service Program
Additionally, Mercy Kitchen is home to Second Harvest’s social entrepreneurial endeavors, which have allowed the food bank to diversify its funding stream and continue providing necessary resources to help sustain hunger relief efforts.
To ensure residents in need have adequate access to healthy food during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Orange County Board of County Commission and Second Harvest implemented long-term support initiatives for the community.
“Last year, the County Commission allocated $8 million to Second Harvest through the CARES Act funding to assist with their hunger relief and food distribution programs,” said Mayor Demings. “Through the CARES funding, Second Harvest was able to utilize $650,000 to construct this new kitchen.”
Before the pandemic, Second Harvest was preparing/delivering 7,200 meals per day. Now the need is 23,000 meals per day.
To learn more about Second Harvest and the work it does in the community and how you can help it mission, visit www.feedhopenow.org.
Watch Orange TV’s spotlight on the opening of Second Harvest’s Mercy Kitchen:
Photo cutline: [L-R] Chief Development Officer at Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida Greg Higgerson; District 6 Commissioner Victoria P. Siplin; Orange County Mayor Jerry L. Demings; and Director of Philanthropy at Second Harvest Dan Samuels celebrate the opening of Mercy Kitchen.