Stock the Pantry Party builds friendly competition
Food For Thought Outreach expects to serve over 1,200 students each week through its backpack program during the 2015-2016 school year which is a significant 56 percent increase from last school year’s 770 students enrolled in the program. Every month, Food For Thought sends over 50,000 food items out to help battle food insecurity in Okaloosa and Walton counties. Add the year-to-year growth to the increased demand for assistance from Food For Thought’s summer outreach programs, and that can empty a warehouse very quickly.
Tiffanie Nelson, founder and executive director, needed a new way to restock her organization’s supplies in time for the fast approaching school year.
“The inaugural Stock the Pantry Party was such a resounding success last year, we decided to bring it back as a recurring fundraiser this year," she said. "Several of the sponsors and loyal volunteer groups developed a friendly level of competition which really sent donations over the top with the Ohana Institute collecting over 10,000 individual food items." Businesses, churches, schools, and individuals made the event a huge success last year, collecting over $30,000 in monetary and food donations.
The Second Annual Food For Thought Stock the Pantry Party will take place Thursday, Aug. 20 at the Santa Rosa Beach Pantry, 132 Market Street off Hwy. 393 North. This year, there will be two categories for donations and Food Drive Sponsors will be competing to see who can collect the most food items.
For those businesses who may not be able to collect over 200 items to enter the Food Drive competition, Backpack Sponsorships will also be available. A $500 donation is requested and the group or business will be recognized at the event. Food For Thought expects this year to be another spirited competition and awards will be given for First, Second, and Third place.
Guests are asked to bring 5 food items (suggested items include plastic jars of peanut butter, plastic jars of jelly, granola bars, fruit cups, snack crackers, and/or breakfast bars) or $5 for entry into the event. The event will feature food provided by Pizza By the Sea and Pop Stop, drinks, a raffle with great prizes, fun for the whole family, including face painting by Abrakadoodle, and opportunities to learn more about Food For Thought.
“This event goes straight to the heart of our mission,” said Nelson. “We’re excited to continue to grow our organization by involving so many different community organizations and individuals and build our reach even further to help more children in our community.”