We are blown away by the support shown to our organization at Stock The Pantry! Between 16 teams 226,000 food items were donated to kick start the 2018-2019 school year! We are grateful for every single person that joined us at the party and donated to help feed the kids. We couldn't do it without your support!
Thank you to Grayton Beer Company, Ben & Jerry's and The Village Door for providing drinks and food for the event!
It's that time of year again...Back to School! And we need YOU to help us Stock the Pantry! Join us on August 23rd at our Santa Rosa Beach Pantry for the most fun (and competitive) fundraiser of the year. Come cheer on your team, or just show up for the party. $5 cash donation or 5 food items gets you in the door, and refreshments will be provided by The Village Door, Grayton Beer Company and Ben & Jerry's! You don't want to miss this fun chance to help us Stock the Pantry!
Food For Thought and the participating teams have been hard at work getting ready for the 5th Annual Stock The Pantry on August 23rd!
Come cheer on your team, or just show up for the party. $5 cash donation or 5 food items gets you in the door, and refreshments will be provided by The Village Door, Grayton Beer Company and Ben & Jerry's! See you all there!
132 Market St, Santa Rosa Beach
August 23rd at 5:30 - 7:30p
July 21, 2016
Santa Rosa Beach, FL
SAVE THE DATE FOR 3RD ANNUAL STOCK THE PANTRY PARTY
Back-to-School Food Drive Kicks Off 2016-2017 School Year
The 3rd Annual Stock the Pantry Party will take place on Thursday, August 25th from 5:30pm to 7:30pm at the Food For Thought Santa Rosa Beach Pantry at 132 Market Street off Hwy 393 North. Food For Thought’s Stock the Pantry Party is a family-friendly event focused on raising funds and food items to fight local food insecurity. By joining the Stock the Pantry Party, guests are helping local students in need.
Food For Thought Outreach has rapidly grown over the last six years, growing from providing backpacks of healthy, easy to prepare food items to six students a week in 2010, to serving over 1,200 students during the 2015-2016 school year with over 1,000,000 food items distributed to children in need in both Okaloosa and Walton counties. This summer, Food For Thought distributed over 800 bags of food to local families in need, add in serving an anticipated 1,500 students a week this upcoming school year, and their pantry shelves will be bare all too soon.
With a growing number of students in need and a rapid increase in providing food over summer break, a nearly empty warehouse is all that is left before the beginning of the school year.
Tiffanie Nelson, founder and Executive Director, has found a way to restock her organization’s supplies in time for the fast approaching school year while bringing the community together in a family-friendly environment. The event was such a success in its first year that the organization has continued the annual fundraiser and loves the annual food drive competition.
This year 15 area schools, businesses, and churches will compete to collect the most food for Food For Thought Outreach services. Last year, Ohana Institute took first place by a landslide with over 11,300 items. Sandestin Real Estate and Wells Fargo had a tight race for second with Sandestin Real Estate ultimately taking second with 2,931 food items, and Wells Fargo with 2,372 food items.
There are three categories for donations. Food Drive Sponsors will be competing against one another to see who can collect the most food items. Food For Thought expects this year to be another spirited competition and awards will be given for First, Second, and Third place. For those businesses who may not be able to collect over 200 items to enter the Food Drive competition, Business Backpack Sponsorships will also be available. This year, Food For Thought is also adding a Personal Backpack Sponsorship category for individuals and families that would like to donate directly. A $500 donation is requested and the individual, group, or business will be recognized at the event.
Guests are asked to bring 5 food items (suggested items include plastic jars of peanut butter, plastic jars of jelly, granola bars, fruit cups, snack crackers, and/or breakfast bars) or $5 for entry into the event.
“Last year, the friendly competition from the Food Drive Sponsors and record breaking amount of Backpack Sponsors helped collect over 33,000 food items and $9,400 in sponsorships and donations to kick off the year. We expect to see all our Sponsors to continue to challenge themselves in their collection efforts.,” says Nelson. “We hope to collect enough food items and donations to serve students for at least 6 weeks which is about 90,000 food items. We know our community is up to the challenge!”
The event will feature the Mellow Mushroom Bake Bus, treats from Pop Stop, drinks from Grayton Beer Company, new Food For Thought t-shirts, a raffle with great prizes, and fun activities for the entire family!
Contact Tiffanie Nelson at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in one of the remaining sponsorship opportunities for the 3rd Annual Stock the Pantry Party or visit www.fftfl.org for more information.
July 13, 2016
Santa Rosa Beach, FL
By: Jessica Roberts
HOW TO FEED 1,500 STUDENTS A WEEK
The Food For Thought Outreach Approach to Fighting Local Food Insecurity
As Food For Thought Outreach continues to expand - both by adding to the number of children receiving services each year, and by the growing number of different services provided - it is important to share how this nonprofit operates in the community.
Food For Thought provides weekly backpacks filled with healthy, easy to prepare food for students who are dependent on free or reduced school meals. The organization does not use glass containers as the food items must be portable and not too heavy for our young students to carry home. Children have access to proteins, grains, fruits and vegetables weekly and adjustments are made for allergies. Food For Thought is diligent to act as a good steward of their donated dollars, and they go to great lengths to secure the highest quality food with the best price and never serve expired foods
The local nonprofit has been fortunate to work with generous community partners and has been the recipient of countless food item donations. Townsend Catering Company has been a loyal donor providing produce every year for six years. Mellow Mushroom Destin, Destin Harvest, Panera Bread, 30A Cottages & Concierge, and The Sonder Project have all contributed to the organization over the years.
Food For Thought could not continue to operate without all the families, organizations and businesses who donate year after year. Along with the signature Food For Thought event, Stock the Pantry which will be held on August 25th, St. Peter Roman Catholic Parish, Edge Elementary School, St. Joe Club & Resort, Ohana Institute, Fort Walton Beach High School, Good News United Methodist Church, Walmart, and more have held food drives.
“We love to hear stories about selfless children who donate money or food they collected during their birthday parties, families who pick up extras for us during their normal grocery shopping, and we routinely receive messages asking how businesses can start a food drive at their office or storefront.,” says Tiffanie Nelson, Founder and Executive Director of Food For Thought.
However, the work does not end there. The Food For Thought Team works with several local food providers to purchase the bulk of the food items distributed each week. These partners, which include Walmart Supercenter in Santa Rosa Beach, Publix Super Market at South Walton, Sam's Club Ft. Walton Beach, Sysco, and Flowers Baking Co., work with Food For Thought for bulk purchasing, assist in using sale and BOGO item pricing when available, but the nonprofit does not receive any other special pricing.
This can be a very costly process, but this approach ensures the best quality food and provides a level of consistency these students can rely on. Food For Thought spends an average of $300,000 per year of donated funds to ensure they can provide the same amount of nutritious food to students in the program every week of the year through all four of their food programs.
With sustainability top of mind, Food For Thought has created and is in the early stages of their new Garden Initiative (as seen at their new Destin Pantry) and coming in 2017, a new Pantry Kitchen will provide new programs, education, skills, and funding to the community.
During the 2015-2016 school year and summer break, Food For Thought distributed 42,000 backpacks, provided 9,120 meals over the Thanksgiving Holiday and Winter Break, and 800 bags of food in June, July, and August through summer programs.
60,000 food items are included in backpacks each month. Between all the holiday programs, weekly backpacks, and snack programs over 1,000,000 food items passed through the two Food For Thought pantries before being packed and distributed to local students and families in need.
“The most direct way anyone can help those in need is to join the new Food For Thought Membership Program. We have a $90 annual option and a $7.50 monthly option. These funds go directly toward purchasing food and ensure that these kids don’t have to worry where their next meal will come from,” adds Nelson.