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Church donates nearly $1 million to Florida food bank

‘We need more organizations like The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to recognize the growing need and ask, “How can I help?”’

A nearly $1 million donation from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will help Second Harvest of the Big Bend provide an additional 8.2 million meals for those in need.

The food bank serves 16 counties in Florida’s Big Bend area.

The donation is expected to help the organization increase food distribution from 15 million to 25 million pounds a year, and create an Impact Center for community nutrition education and self-reliance training, explained a news release on ChurchofJesusChrist.org.

Elder Vern P. Stanfill presents a check of nearly $1 million to Second Harvest of the Big Bend in Tallahassee, Florida.
Elder Vern P. Stanfill, General Authority Seventy and president of the Church’s North America Southeast Area, presents a check of nearly $1 million to Second Harvest of the Big Bend CEO Monique Ellsworth in Tallahassee, Florida, Monday, Oct. 23, 2023. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Elder Vern P. Stanfill, General Authority Seventy and president of the Church’s North America Southeast Area, said the Church strives to follow the two great commandments in its humanitarian efforts.

“We strive to answer that calling as we seek to join efforts with organizations like Second Harvest of Big Bend, who serve on the front lines of poverty blessing those in need,” Elder Stanfill said.

The Church has given numerous food donations to the food bank, most recently sending four semitruck loads — 181,609 pounds of food — from the Bishops’ Central Storehouse in Salt Lake City, enough food to feed 5,600 people for a week.

Last month, the Church gave $200,000 to Second Harvest to help after Hurricane Idalia. And more than 5,000 volunteers from the Church went to the area to help clean up.

Second Harvest’s chief executive officer, Monique Ellsworth, expressed gratitude for the Church’s aid, pointing out how one out of every three children in the Tallahassee region does not have consistent access to nutritious food.

“Food insecurity has been steadily increasing, and we need more organizations like The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to recognize the growing need and ask, ‘How can I help?’” she said.

A group from the Church tours Second Harvest of the Big Bend in Tallahassee, Florida, Monday, Oct. 23, 2023.
Second Harvest of the Big Bend CEO Monique Ellsworth, right, guides representatives from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and others through her organization’s headquarters in Tallahassee, Florida, Monday, Oct. 23, 2023. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
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