Collecting cans is, at least for me, one of the easiest things I can do to help others. It doesn’t really take a lot of time, canned food is mostly cheap, and people are pretty good about handing over some extra cans they have cluttering up their pantry.
As part of the cub scouts, my family participates yearly in the Scouting for Food drive. Cub scouts canvas a neighborhood with plastic bags, and then a week later we head back out to pick them up. Over the years, we’ve been able to gather a pretty good collection. All the proceeds go to the Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida.
This year was a little different for us. At a scout meeting, one of the den leaders told a story of how she relied on Second Harvest to feed her family while she was unemployed. She told her story with such emotion, such pride, such empowerment at what an amazing organization it was. It was hard to sit there and not cry. I was touched and determined to help. And apparently, so was my nine-year old. That moment somehow got stuck in his little head and he pushed and pushed to collect more food.
Approximately 1 in 5 of our population—732,000 people—needed food assistance in Central Florida last year. That is a scary statistic. Even scarier, 47% of clients served are children.
We set up a bin in my office, hit neighborhoods near us we weren’t assigned and were able to collect a record amount of food.
The worst part of the experience, we missed the drop off times due to other commitments. My son was upset that he didn’t get a chance to drop it off and wow his friends with all the food he collected. Instead, we drove it downtown and dropped it off at the Second Harvest location.
I was blown away by the facility. It was a well-oiled machine of organization. Food comes in – food goes out.
Did you know…..last year Second Harvest distributed more than 33 million pounds of grocery product, the equivalent of more than 21 million meals!!!
While I was waiting to drop off my carload of food, at least four different people walked up to us and thanked us for collecting the food. My son just beamed with pride and I just tried my hardest not to cry.
It really makes you thankful for what you have in your life. We may not have the pool I want, we may not be able to do the kitchen renovation that would make our house nicer, but you know what – we have food. And so many do not.
My son didn’t say much that day, you could see the wheels turning in his head. He went home and started collecting cans again…and the collecting continues today. I imagine that soon we will be making another drop off to Second Harvest before school starts.
The question now becomes – how do you help? For starters, get collecting!
Go through your pantry, stock up during BOGO, hit Aldi and get some super cheap cans.
Second Harvest hosts a variety of collection drives throughout the year – but you don’t have to wait – you can deliver it yourself.
Donations can be dropped off at the Food Rescue Center located at 3533 Mercy Drive, Orlando, FL 32808 typically Tuesday through Friday between 8 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
There are a number of great Central Florida non-profit groups doing good. I’d love to hear your experience!