NON-PROFIT BECOMES DESTIN COMMUNITY’S NEWEST NEIGHBOR
Food For Thought Outreach Helps to Revitalize and Repurpose Neighborhood
The City of Destin, Florida has agreed to lease a long-standing vacant property to local nonprofit, Food For Thought Outreach. Food For Thought Outreach provides backpacks full of healthy, kid-friendly food items home with children over the weekend who receive free and reduced lunches during the week. Many of these children may otherwise not have a full meal from when they leave school on Friday until they return to school on Monday, and Food For Thought steps in to make sure these students receive the assistance they need.
Food For Thought Outreach has grown exponentially since its start in 2010. Tiffanie Nelson, Founder and Executive Director, started with six children at one Walton County school. By 2013, word had spread and schools in Okaloosa County began reaching out for help. Food For Thought began serving Destin Middle and Destin Elementary Schools and soon added Edge Elementary in Niceville. This year, the organization has spread further into Fort Walton Beach and currently helps feed over 600 students in 8 schools within the K-12 range across Okaloosa County.
With this expansion, Food For Thought Outreach quickly outgrew their work space, and then again, and again. The nonprofit has found a permanent headquarters in Santa Rosa Beach and now this new Destin Pantry will be home for at least the next three years.
“The added stability of a space we can grow with is priceless,” says Nelson. “We will be sending out over 600 backpacks from this location alone. We estimate that over the course of the year, we will send out over 1,000,000 food items across all of our programs. To have a safe, secure home base to do that from is amazing. We’re very grateful to the City for this opportunity.”
Several partners have stepped up already, including the Rotary Club of Destin, and the Project Team will continue to grow as more assistance is needed. The Rotary Club of Destin has agreed to make certain appropriations for expenses and capital improvements before the organization moves in March. Jon Kazek, co-owner of Dixon Kazek Morrison Custom Homes, will be donating his time and services to spearhead the project renovations. Some of the improvements will include new flooring, new A/C units, and several cosmetic changes in and around the property. Other leaders from across a variety of businesses are quickly coming together to join the team and help improve the building and their community.
“In keeping with The Rotary Club of Destin’s mission to eradicate hunger in our community, our club has maintained a long-standing annual commitment to support Crop Drop, Harvest House and Food For Thought. It was only a natural decision for Destin Rotarians to embrace the Food For Thought Destin project with both a financial commitment and a commitment to help lead the renovation efforts occurring over the next few months,” stated Jeanne Dailey, President, Rotary Club of Destin. “We challenge our fellow community organizations, businesses and citizens to rally behind this humanitarian effort. Rotary International’s motto this year is “Be a Gift to the World” and we continue to uphold that motto within our own neighborhood.”
About Food For Thought Outreach
Food For Thought is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization based in Santa Rosa Beach, FL that provides backpacks filled with healthy, easy to prepare food for students who are dependent on free or reduced school meals. Our goal is to support a child’s development and educational experience by bridging the gap between school meals during weekends and holiday breaks. Food For Thought has been working to fight child hunger since 2010, and currently serves 15 schools in Walton and Okaloosa Counties, providing backpacks for 1,200 students each week. For more information, such as donation locations, pantry items needed, and opportunities to volunteer, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About The City of Destin, FL
Our mission is to enhance the health, safety, welfare and quality of life of our residents, businesses, and visitors, preserve our heritage and environment for future generations, and provide service excellence.