News Release

The Church of Jesus Christ Gives Nearly US$1 Million to Florida Food Bank

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has given Second Harvest of the Big Bend (SHBB, a food bank in Tallahassee, Florida) nearly US$1 million to help the organization increase food distribution from 15 million to 25 million pounds a year, or an additional 8.2 million meals for those in need within the 16 counties in Florida’s Big Bend area.

The funding will also help create an Impact Center to advance community nutrition education and self-reliance training.

“One out of every three children in the Tallahassee region does not have consistent access to healthy, nutritious food,” said Monique Ellsworth, Second Harvest’s chief executive officer. “Food insecurity has been steadily increasing, and we need more organizations like The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to recognize the growing need and ask, ‘How can I help?’”

In 2022, Second Harvest distributed 14 million pounds of food. Second Harvest of Big Bend is a Feeding America food pantry and covers 16 counties throughout the region, including Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Jackson, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty, Madison, Taylor, Wakulla, Columbia, Dixie, Hamilton, Lafayette and Suwanee.

Elder Vern P. Stanfill, president of the North America Southeast Area for the Church of Jesus Christ, said Christ’s commandment to love our neighbor is the guiding star of the Church’s humanitarian efforts.

“We strive to answer that calling as we seek to join efforts with organizations like Second Harvest of Big Bend, who serve on the front lines of poverty blessing those in need,” Elder Stanfill said.

Florida is home to some 168,000 Latter-day Saints spread throughout more than 280 congregations.

Poverty, food insecurity, distance to markets and poor or nonexistent infrastructure are challenges facing the rural 16-county area serviced by Second Harvest. SHBB has received numerous food donations from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Most recently, they received four semitruck loads (181,609 pounds of food) from the Bishops’ Central Storehouse in Salt Lake City. This is enough food to feed 5,600 people for a week.

In September 2023, the Church sent more than 5,000 volunteers to the area to aid disaster relief efforts following Hurricane Idalia. The Church also gave $200,000 to Second Harvest of Big Bend to help support communities affected by the hurricane.

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, we were able to send 40,000 pounds of food to Second Harvest to assist their incredible work during that crisis,” said Stake President Ben Smith, a regional Church leader. “It is easy to see the good works that Second Harvest of the Big Bend accomplishes across North Florida daily. Their sensitive and giving approach to providing for others is admirable and inspiring and invites all to do good through similar unselfish deeds.

“The Savior Jesus Christ provides a similar example,” Smith added, “lifting the one so they can go about serving others. In this pattern, individuals, families and communities are better.”

Style Guide Note:When reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please use the complete name of the Church in the first reference. For more information on the use of the name of the Church, go to our online Style Guide.