Volunteers pack 15,000 holiday meal boxes at Treasure Coast Food Bank’s Pack the House

Auction, turkey collection planned to help overcome season of shortages and high food costs 

MonaLisa Martinez at Pack the House
MonaLisa Martinez at Pack the House

Treasure Coast Food Bank kicked off the holiday season on Oct. 29 with the 7th Annual Pack the House. About 500 volunteers pitched in to pack 15,000 holiday meal boxes destined for people who don’t always have enough to eat.

The boxes began going out this week to Treasure Coast Food Bank’s partner agencies that will provide them to families in need of help for the holidays. Treasure Coast Food Bank also will be distributing them during upcoming drive-through mobile distributions in each of the four counties the Food Bank serves. If you or someone you know needs assistance with a holiday meal, visit stophunger.org/holidayhelp.

Crystal Jordan, Denise Smetana, Elisha Gohl and Judy Cruz

“I want to thank everyone who helped to make the 7th Annual Pack the House a success, especially our sponsors and volunteers,” said Judith Cruz, President and CEO of Treasure Coast Food Bank.  “With thousands of people facing lingering difficulties from the COVID-19 pandemic, including shortages and the high cost of food, we anticipate that the demand for food will be especially steep this holiday season. It’s because of your support that we are able to provide holiday meals to those in need throughout the Treasure Coast and Okeechobee.”

Treasure Coast Food Bank is planning several ways for people to get involved in helping their neighbors in need during the holidays. People who would like to provide a turkey or full holiday meal for a family may do so through a cash donation at www.stophunger.org. Each $30 donation provides a holiday meal box.

Angel Robertson at Pack the House

Treasure Coast Food Bank also will be collect donated frozen turkeys at its main headquarters, 401 Angle Road, Fort Pierce, between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. each day.

Treasure Coast Food Bank will host its Holiday Online Auction Dec. 3-13. Join Treasure Coast Food Bank in helping to plan the auction by signing up for the organizing committee. Treasure Coast Food Bank also seeks auction items and sponsors for the event.  Contact Alexandra Lord at alord@tcfoodbank.org or 772-446-1765 for more information.

“Our goal this holiday season and every year is to ensure that everybody on the Treasure Coast has the opportunity to share a holiday meal, no matter what they’re facing in their lives,” Cruz said. “In the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, we’ll use our Mobile Distributions to provide families with food they can use to prepare traditional holiday meals. We also encourage people who can’t make it to a distribution to use our Order Ahead option available through our website.”

Mark Satterlee, Judy Cruz, and Michelle Miller

Pack the House began on Friday, Oct 29, with breakfast and an opening ceremony to thank area officials and sponsors for supporting Treasure Coast Food Bank. The St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office Honor Guard presented the nation’s colors, and Pastor Wayne Hewlett of the First Seventh Day Adventist Church of Port St. Lucie gave an invocation.  Ceremonial sponsors were Walmart Supply Chain and Wells Fargo.  Supporting Sponsors were Cleveland Clinic Martin Health and iTHINK Financial, and the American Public Works Association was the kick-off sponsor.

The volunteers worked in three-hour shifts throughout the two-day event, made lively with themes, music and food. Shift Sponsors were Coastal Breeze Realty, Fort Pierce Utilities Authority, Healthy Harvest Catering, and Soundslinger. Food and beverages were provided by Dunkin’ Brands, Healthy Harvest Catering, Moonswiners Bar-B-Q, Natalie’s Orchid Island Juice Company, Pappy’s Pizza, Starbucks, and the Thirsty Turtle Seagrill.

For more information about ways to get involved or to receive assistance, visit stophunger.org.

ABOUT TREASURE COAST FOOD BANK
Treasure Coast Food Bank is the only food bank and largest hunger relief organization on Florida’s Treasure Coast, providing the community each year with millions of meals valued at more than $50 million through robust programs and in partnership with 400 charitable organizations in Indian River, St. Lucie, Martin, and Okeechobee counties. In addition to emergency food distribution, Treasure Coast Food Bank operates a full roster of direct service programs that not only solve the immediate problem of hunger, but help individuals and families gain long-term food security, better health outcomes, and self-sufficiency. Treasure Coast Food Bank is a member of Feeding America, the nationwide network of 200 food banks that leads the fight against hunger in the United States. For more information on Treasure Coast Food Bank, call 772.489.3034, log on to stophunger.org, visit our Facebook page at facebook.com/tcfoodbank, or follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/tcfoodbank.

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