The Frugalista Life

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Feed the Need Florida donates meals to deserving Florida families

Families across the state are still dealing with the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic months after the state went into quarantine. In that time, the search for food became an ordeal when paychecks are scarce and not enough funds are coming in.

Feed the Need Florida is a program in partnership with various entities across the state that offers families a chance to get fresh meals to ease some of their daily stresses. I interviewed restauranteur John Rivers about his latest endeavor:

“As communities across the state face the reality of limited access to fresh food, restaurateur John Rivers, founder and CEO of the 4 Rivers Restaurant chain, created a program to provide fresh foods to students and families in their time of need.

Rivers founded and launched the Feed the Need Florida program shortly after the state went into quarantine. Feed the Need Florida is an extension of his 4Roots nonprofit foundation and partners with several restaurants, farmers, local organizations, public school systems, and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to supply families in need with donated meals.

“The initiative is being done to feed the needy, create jobs, and teach the people about agriculture to reduce produce waste across the state,” Rivers tells Creative Loafing Tampa Bay. 

COVID-19 halted any farm efforts, but Rivers saw an opportunity, starting with Orange County Public Schools (OCPS), to feed students who weren’t receiving the daily free meals. He partnered with OCPS first to make sure daily meals were passed out. The partnership quickly grew from two initial sites in Orange County to 46 sites throughout the state including Tampa Bay.

“We saw needs in the marketplace where students weren’t being reached in their free lunch program,” says Rivers.”

To learn more about Feed the Need Florida and what’s in store for the program, go here.


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