Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto highlighting food bank education events this week

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State Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto is on a mission — to educate her colleagues on ways they can help end hunger in Florida.

The Fort Myers Republican will join the Florida Association of Food Banks and Second Harvest of the Big Bend to present a series of events informing legislators on the roles food banks and nutrition programs play in the health and future of Florida families, children and seniors.  

Benacquisto will host several educational activities in the Capitol Courtyard and Rotunda on Wednesday.

One of the customized programs offered through the Florida Association of Food Banks to be highlighted “backpack stuffing.” Backpacks are filled with food to help children get healthy and easy-to-prepare meals, usually for over the course of a weekend. The finished backpacks will be distributed to Tallahassee-area children.

State of Florida Chef Justin Timineri will be on hand to offer demonstrations and food samplings prepared using Fresh from Florida produce exclusively, the same foods distributed to needy citizens through the Association of Food Banks’ Farmers Feeding Florida program.

Specialty displays will also be in the Capitol Rotunda illustrating how food banks and their partners serve constituents. Each display will feature programs and solutions to ensure Florida’s most vulnerable citizens – children, the elderly, disabled, and the working poor – not only have both a full plate, and a full future.

Benacquisto will also call on lawmakers to wear orange in support of a Hunger Free Florida.

The schedule of events are:

  • 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.: Courtyard backpack stuffing and cooking demonstration
  • 1:45 p.m.: Sen. Benacquisto and Chef Timineri will be on hand to answer questions
  • 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.:  Second Floor Rotunda will feature member and partner displays

The Florida Association of Food Banks is a non-profit organization committed to ending hunger in Florida, as well as an affiliate of Feeding America, the nation’s leading hunger-relief organization. With14 regional food banks statewide, the Association provides food to 2,500 community and faith-based non-profits, feeding more than 3.6 million hungry people every year, including 1.1 million children.

In the last year, the Florida Food Bank system distributed 173 million pounds of food to needy families. 

America’s Second Harvest of the Big Bend collects and distributes over 6 million pounds of food each year for families in an 11 county area of the Big Bend Region, focusing on programs such as children’s backpacks, brown bags for seniors and mobile pantries. Second Harvest also serves 130 partner agencies daily throughout the area to feed between 44,000 and 50,000 homeless, children, seniors, and college students each month. 

For more information on Florida Association of Food Banks, call (855) 352-3663 or visit www.HungerFreeFlorida.org

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.