Feeding Northeast Florida Hosts Vice President Kamala Harris for Roundtable Discussion on Food Insecurity 

Feeding Northeast Florida Hosts Vice President Kamala Harris for Roundtable Discussion on Food Insecurity 
Photo courtesy of The White House

Feeding Northeast Florida (FNEFL) hosted United States Vice President Kamala Harris at its headquarters for a roundtable discussion about food security, March 22.

The discussion was held during Harris’s visit to Jacksonville as part of the Help is Here tour, and focused on the theme of helping to put food on the table. Participants included Susan King, President and CEO of Feeding Northeast Florida; U.S. Representative Al Lawson (FL-05); Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried; Jacksonville City Councilwoman Joyce Morgan; Duval County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Diana L. Greene; and Jacksonville City Councilman Garrett Dennis. 

The group talked about how food insecurity has impacted Northeast Florida during the pandemic, ways that the American Rescue Plan (ARP) is helping to address the hunger crisis and strategies to ensure everyone can access fresh, healthy food.

“FNEFL is thankful for the support and leadership of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris to ensure the American Rescue Plan of 2021 included critical nutrition investments to help people facing hunger,” said King. “Our food bank has seen a 129% increase in people needing emergency food assistance since the start of the pandemic, and our struggle is reflected in every food bank nationwide. Nationally, the Feeding America network reports a 55% average increase in the need for emergency food assistance. We are honored to be given the opportunity to discuss food insecurity and the impact of COVID-19 on our community with Vice President Harris.”

FNEFL estimates that 326,000 individuals experience food insecurity on some level every day across its service area. In 2020, the food bank served 2.8 million people and distributed 30.8 million pounds of food — an 82% increase since 2019, equaling 84,500 meals per day. The organization expanded its operating partner agency network from 200 to 300, and increased its logistical capabilities to manage the volume. 

“The Feeding Florida food bank network is at the forefront of innovative distribution methods created in response to COVID-19. We appreciated the opportunity to share this work with the Vice President during her visit, and discuss how we’ve been able to provide consistent and reliable food support every day,” said Robin Safley, Feeding Florida Executive Director. “Our food banks will need the continued support from the administration to meet this increased demand.”

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