Published: October 28, 2023
In South Florida, 1 in 8 people are food insecure and 1 in 5 children struggle with hunger. Food insecurity can be the result of a variety of causes including loss of a job or personal illness to struggling to keep up with cost of living increases. Regardless of the circumstances, without consistent, adequate food, the physical and emotional toll hunger has on families can be devastating.
The Harvest Drive is designed to support those in need. For more than three decades, Harvest Drive founder Renee Herman and her tireless swarm of worker bees have made it their mission to provide as many families as possible with food for the Thanksgiving holiday and beyond. A large number of helping hands stem from local Broward County public schools each year, where students serve as a driving force behind the cause.
Over the years, the drive has grown to include upwards of 13 different distribution sites and each year extends an open invitation to all Broward County Public Schools that would like to participate by collecting non-perishable goods and raising awareness. The theme is “Children Helping Children” and Herman has said that sometimes students who bring in donations unknowingly could be collecting for someone sitting right next to them.
The yearlong labor of love is a collective effort. Students, businesses, churches and temples conduct drives throughout the year to supply the Harvest Drive with non-perishable food and other necessities. Community businesses, corporations, civic organizations, Parent Teacher Associations, volunteer organizations, and individual donors also support the cause by providing money to purchase all perishable foods and gift cards. Hundreds of students and school personnel, as well as community volunteers, help sort, label and coordinate the distribution that takes place at each host school.
Ultimately, each family — referred by a social worker or social service agency — receives six to ten heaping grocery bags filled with all the fixings for a traditional Thanksgiving meal, and then some.
To learn how to volunteer or donate, visit http://www.harvestdriveflorida.com