Strengthening the Local Food Pantry Network

Second Harvest Food Bank (SHFB) recently hosted its Second Annual Partner Network Conference which included more than 200 partner agencies.  The event provided an opportunity for food pantries that are members of the SHFB partner network to learn, exchange ideas, get energized and be recognized for their dedication to alleviating hunger.  The conference included a variety of sessions on Health & Hunger, Collaboration, Volunteer Engagement, Pantry Best Practices, Building Community Partnerships, Healthy Cooking, Stewardship and Childhood Hunger.

SHFB Master Chef Terah provides nutrition education as part of a healthy cooking demonstration.

Comments from participant evaluations cited the most useful parts of the conference were:

  • Hearing from SHFB staff about legal news and current developments.
  • The variety of workshops.
  • Working together as a network not a single pantry.
  • Getting ideas for programs to implement like nutrition education and client choice vs push.

In addition to SHFB and partner agency staff, other organizations making presentations at the event included UCF School of Public Administration and Rollins Edyth Bush Institute for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership.

A presentation on Pantry Best Practices.

The conference was funded in part by a three-year Winter Park Health Foundation (WPHF) grant awarded to SHFB as a collaborative effort between the Foundation’s Community Health and Older Adults Work Groups.  With WPHF’s total investment of $200,000, SHFB is building the capacity of the partner agency network through ongoing education as well as the purchase of refrigeration and other equipment which has facilitated a significant increase in the distribution of healthy food in Orange County.  The grant concludes May 31, 2018.