COVID19, Press Release

WaWa Foundation Supports Harvest Food Pantry

The Harvest Food Pantry serves 400+ households each week.

The drive-thru food pantry distribution operates faithfully every week, rain or shine. By 10 am every Thursday, cars are lined up in twists and turns so the line doesn’t spill out onto busy 17th Street. The WaWa Foundation recently supported these local efforts to kick hunger to the curb with a generous $1000 grant. 

“Thankfully, we can pick up from Trader Joes almost every day,” says Eureka Webb, Harvest Food Pantry Manager since 1992. The pantry also receives regular donations from local stores such as Publix, Sprouts Farmers Market, Fresh Market, and 7-Eleven, and they partner with All Faiths Food Bank to purchase discounted food for distribution. “This means we’re able to distribute fresh, even organic produce along with other essentials such as grains, meats, dairy products, healthy snacks, and dried and canned goods. Every week is a little different, last week, we actually gave out toilet paper,” Eureka said. 

Some food pantry visitors don’t have vehicles to drive-up in, or homes with kitchens to prepare food in. Special bags are prepared for these individuals with pre-made foods and other non-perishable items. No one gets left out. “I look forward to coming here, not just for the food, but for the friendship, too,” a visitor said.

The Harvest Food Pantry is one essential arm of the local human services non-profit, Harvest House. “We never want to see people sacrificing other basic needs just to feed their family,” founders Jim and Peggy Minor said. Jim and Peggy moved to Sarasota in 1984 and began community outreach with the Harvest Food Pantry which later paved the way for Harvest House to be born.

Most people coming to the food pantry do not have the ability to work remotely, do not have paid time off, and do not have sufficient resources if they were to get sick today. “This food is essential. It’s keeping things going right now. It’s keeping me going,” one visitor said.

The $1000 grant from the WaWa Foundation will provide weekly groceries for at least 50 families. “This is especially helpful with the holidays coming up. Food costs are rising and there is so much uncertainty about the future. We just want to make sure that we’ll be able to still be here for our community,” Peggy said.

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The Harvest Food Pantry serves the public every Thursday from 10 am to noon at 3650 17th street, Sarasota, FL 34235.

About The Wawa Foundation

The Wawa Foundation is an extension of Wawa’s commitment to making the world a better place by fulfilling customers’ lives every day. The Wawa Foundation is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation founded by Wawa, Inc. to support the company’s charitable giving and philanthropic activities – and ultimately to help build happier stronger communities. The Wawa Foundation focuses its support on organizations committed to health, hunger, and everyday heroes through local, state, and national grants and in-kind donations. Since 2014, Wawa and The Wawa Foundation have donated more than $81 million to causes supporting health, hunger, and the heroes who serve our communities every day.

About Harvest House

Harvest House, a nonprofit organization, is dedicated to the premise that all people deserve safe, stable housing and the opportunity to renew their hope and dream again. As a pioneer in the transitional and permanent housing movement, they are the only organization in Sarasota,FL to participate in the development, preservation, and management of affordable, service-enriched housing. This model is becoming the standard for serving families and individuals who are working to rebuild their lives. 1000+ families, young adults, veterans, and individuals recovering from substance abuse were served in 2019 through supportive and affordable housing. Harvest House has 400+ beds across 9 campuses and 25 affordable rentals throughout Sarasota and Manatee counties.

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