The bell is ringing, signaling the end of the school day, and the classroom is suddenly bustling with the excitement of the weekend. Your classmates are quickly stuffing their belongings into their backpacks, eager for the weekend to start, looking forward to plans with family, trips to the beach, Sunday dinners with grandparents. You pack your backpack slowly, pressing your textbook into your stomach to try to quiet the familiar growl of hunger that seems to last from Friday afternoon through Monday morning each week, even appearing now each evening at home during the weekdays. Your classmates hug or high-five each other, eager for fun plans ahead, happy to have a few days out of school, looking forward to every moment of freedom the weekend affords. But for you, the weekend is a time to be dreaded, the bell ringing on Friday signals to you only the fact that there is nothing for you to eat until you’re back at school on Monday for the free or reduced breakfast and lunch you know will be waiting. How are you going to make it until then? How can you concentrate on the big test happening Monday morning when you won’t have anything to eat on Saturday, or Sunday? How are you expected to hold to the same standards in school as your classmates when the same standards for basic needs just aren’t the same between your home and theirs? How are you supposed to have the same chance at success?
There are more than 3,300 children in your community that felt this way, each and every week. There are more than 3,300 children that, without Food for Thought, do not have enough to eat. It’s hard to think that this is happening in a vacation destination, where beachfront mansions line the beautiful emerald waters here, where thousands of people spend their summer and spring breaks, where we eat dinners out at seafood restaurants on the sand. It’s hard to imagine that there are this many children that need our services, but what’s even harder to believe is that there are hundreds, maybe thousands more, that are waiting for their turn to join our program. This year, in Walton and Okaloosa counties, we delivered 46,000 backpacks, with 460,000 food items, and in an effort to continue expanding how we can help, we planted two gardens, offered 4 months of snack programs, and instructed 22 classes in our Emeril Lagasse Full Circle Kitchen. With your help, we are doing everything we can to change these kids’ lives, to offer them the chance at success that they deserve, to make sure that each and every child in our community has food to eat, to create sustainability in our programs that will let us grow and one day say that no child in our community suffers from food insecurity.
This year, we’ll be delivering 72,000 backpacks with 720,000 food items to purchase and pack. There will be 5 more months of snack services, 36 more kitchen classes, and 2 more garden harvests and plantings.
We need you now, more than ever before.
No child should be without an equal chance for success, and that starts at the very foundation of our existence: food. No child should ever be hungry, and you can play a large part in helping us achieve that goal. Please join us in creating a stronger community, in fostering stronger, more confident, healthier children that have the strength of mind and body to conquer the world. Please, please consider our cause when making final gifts this year.
We need your support.
The little girl who lives next door, the boy who sits next to your son in class, the sisters who play soccer with your daughter, the teenager who delivers your newspaper. You would never imagine that they don't have enough to eat. But once you realize it, it's hard to imagine not doing something to help.
Thank you for your support. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you.
3,198: the number of stockings donated during our Stock the Stocking drive! Thank you to everyone who contributed to this successful effort; thank you for caring about your community and its children. We are so appreciative of this support!
FFT has been hard at work delivering holiday services to more than 600 families. It is now time for the FFT team to take a short break before we gear up for the new year! We hope each and everyone of you have a very Merry Christmas!
We are so grateful for everyone who helped make our holiday services possible. In order to provide a Christmas meal for 600 families in our community, there are a lot of moving parts, and we needed all hands on deck. And when we asked, our amazing community answered the call. A HUGE thank-you to our Christmas sponsor, Bay Baits who provided a $10,000 donation and Grocery Outlets who was our food purchasing partner. Rent Gear Here, thank you for sending volunteers and lending vans for delivery, and Hilary & Reverie, Courtyard by Marriott Sandetin at Grand Blvd, Alys Beach, Mercantile- Seaside, FL, Beau Interiors and Gateway Academy for volunteering to make it all possible! We couldn't have done it without you, and we are so grateful for each and every one of you. Thank you for helping others this holiday season!
It has been very busy around the FFT pantries. We have had the most wonderful people show up dedicated to help feed the kids and families in our program. We couldn't do it without our volunteers, sponsors, donors and kind people that share our mission. Thank you all!