food insecurity

Hungry Harvest

In Florida, 15 percent of families don’t know where they’re going to get their next meal. When you look at children alone, that number increases to almost a quarter who are food insecure, according to Feeding America, one of the largest networks of food banks in the country.

Wilson Sayre / WLRN

After people looking for food assistance waited in lines up to eight hours long, the state has announced extra days for sign up for the Disaster Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, or D-SNAP.

The state has processed about 937,000 D-SNAP applications so far. In addition to replacement assistance for people who already get food stamps, Florida has provided nearly $1.2 billion in food assistance.

David Santiago / El Nuevo Herald

Miami Dade County Public Schools will hand out thousands of free meals to families on Thursday.

“In the wake of Hurricane Irma, many in our community are struggling to meet basic needs,” the district wrote in a press release.

Nadege Green / WLRN

Days after Hurricane Irma battered South Florida, Rufus James walked through his Liberty City neighborhood in Miami looking for paid work to chop down trees and clean up yards.

Like many Floridians, James, 57, was going on day four with no electricity. At home, he had three grandchildren to feed. They’re eating “cornflakes and whatever we can come up with. I’m looking for some food,” he said.

Before the storm, James said he worked odd jobs — helping elderly neighbors mow their lawns or move heavy items. Post storm, no one was paying for help yet.

Holly Pretsky / WLRN

The Delray Beach City Commission voted Wednesday to end the Caring Kitchen's month-to-month lease next summer. They stipulated that the kitchen must stop serving in-house meals by October 31st of this year, although they can continue preparing food to be delivered elsewhere until August 1, 2018. 

The Caring Kitchen has served meals from its current location on NW 8th Avenue for about 20 years. The food is offered for free to all that come and organizers estimate that they served 122,560 individual meals in 2016. 

Julio Ochoa / WUSF

On a recent Tuesday, the weekly produce market co-op at the Woodbrook Estates mobile home community in Lakeland was bustling. 

Boxes of fresh tomatoes, strawberries, lettuce and other fruit and veggies sat atop rows of tables. Residents at the 55 and over community picked through the produce. They filled plastic bags before heading to the cashier. 

 

Until a year ago, a group called Elderpoint Ministries was giving out tons of free food to thousands of families in Polk County. But director Jane Hammond said it didn't work.

When Lanarion Norwood Jr. was 9 years old, he opened his family's refrigerator to find it almost empty. His grandmother, unemployed because of disability, had run out of food for the month. So Norwood did what many young children adamantly resist: He went to bed early. Sleeping, he reasoned, would help him suppress hunger, and he knew the next day he could eat at his Atlanta school.

Wilson Sayre / WLRN

For the past year, Lucy Perry and her longtime boyfriend William Royal have lived beneath a traffic sign on the sidewalk along Southwest Second Street under I-95. With about four dozen other homeless people, they wait for a church group to come by and hand out styrofoam containers of food.

 

Perry, Royal and many others out on the street are among the 350,000 people who lost their food stamps this year because of new state rules that adults without children who can work must work in order to get the monthly assistance.

 

Marva Hinton / WLRN

The fall term begins Monday at Miami Dade College, and students on one campus will be able to take advantage of a special program to make sure their basic needs are met before classes start.

The college's north campus is teaming up with Farm Share, a nonprofit in Homestead that provides food to the needy, to give students free produce. The school also has a food pantry on campus where students can pick up non-perishable food items.