Feeding South Florida distributes food in Aventura

Feeding Florida
Feeding South Florida powers its distribution from donations after losing a federal contract.

Aventura might be known as the home of one of the area’s most swank malls, but a food distribution event for those in need was welcomed Thursday morning with a steady flow of cars.

Feeding South Florida teamed up with Sen. Jason Pizzo of Miami, the Aventura Turnberry Jewish Center, Aventura Cares, and Aventura Vice Mayor Rachel Saltzman Friedland to distribute 21,000 pounds of food to families, starting at 9 a.m.

“We are so grateful to have Feeding South Florida back in Aventura to help ensure that families in our community have access to nutritious meals,” Friedland said. “Thank you to Aventura Turnberry Jewish Center and Sen. Jason Pizzo for helping to make this happen.”

Although the flow of cars was steady Thursday, the scene was markedly different from the last food distribution at the Jewish center during the height of the lockdown and the pandemic, said city spokesperson Evan Ross.

The food was gone after being distributed to those cars lined up before the gates were opened for the event last year. Still, needs in the community remain, Ross said.

“A lot of people see Aventura and see only the wealthier parts of the city, but there are people in Aventura who need this kind of help,” Ross said.

Feeding South Florida, which has its main warehouse in Pembroke Park, reported seeing a 600% increase in the demand for hunger relief distribution as the lockdown took effect to stem the spread of COVID-19.

Earlier this year, the organization sought a hearing appealing the state Department of Agriculture & Consumer Service’s decision to award a food distribution contract to its rival, Farm Share. The appeal was denied.

Losing Emergency Food Assistance Program aid from the federal government did cut down on the organization’s ability to distribute food from one of the most verdant agricultural areas in the country, said Jodi Davidson, a consultant for Feeding South Florida. But donations are making it possible to continue having distribution events like Thursday’s, Davidson said.

“We have phenomenal relationships …,” Davidson said. “We’re out there every single day.”

Anne Geggis

Anne Geggis is a South Florida journalist who began her career in Vermont and has worked at the Sun-Sentinel, the Daytona Beach News-Journal and the Gainesville Sun covering government issues, health and education. She was a member of the Sun-Sentinel team that won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Parkland high school shooting. You can reach her on Twitter @AnneBoca or by emailing [email protected]

One comment

  • Sarah Welcome

    December 30, 2021 at 5:13 pm

    There is so much going on right now here in south Florida my home where I am born snd raised #64 years old went from nautilus to MB sr high to work raise 3 kids single worked 20 plus years at JMH Ryder Trauma now homeless sleeping in my car due to lay off and pandemic woes I never knew HELP

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