Fall 2018 Newsletter

Mobile Food Pantries Meet Client Needs

When the food bank was first built in 2016 behind our 7north thrift store, it was created to serve as the only beaches food distribution center responsible for the collection, inspection and organization of food from our local grocery store partners. Once established, we were able to receive a steadily flow of goods for our two client-choice food pantries as well as provide food to neighboring agencies in a “business to business” approach.

With a small food bank staff of two and 44 weekly volunteers, we also added another our approach to meet the needs of our food insecure beaches community: mobile food pantry operations.

A mobile food pantry is a food distribution strategy that removes the barriers preventing access to under-served areas. It allows for the delivery of rescued food and grocery products including protein, produce and other goods to meet the needs of the public right where they are in a “business to consumer” approach.

Our current mobile food pantry sites include:

  • An average of 2,800 pounds of food to Mayport Market, a food distribution site in the cafeteria of Mayport Elementary School every Duval County Public School early release day. Our successful Mayport Market initiative is in partnership with Palms Presbyterian Church.

  • An average of 6,000 pounds a month of meat, bread and other items to St John the Baptist Catholic Church for their mobile food pantry on the third Saturday of every month. This poundage is in addition to the food we provide to them to help stock their food pantry.

  • An average of 1,800 pounds every other week to Pablo Hamlet, one of Jacksonville Beach’s subsidized senior living facilities. This gives us an opportunity to provide food to seniors who live independently, but who are not able to visit one of our brick and mortar pantries.

  • An average of 1,800 pounds every week to Pablo Towers, which has a similar demographic of Pablo Hamlet. These two senior living facility mobile food pantries are in partnership with Elderly Housing Management Corporation.

We would not be able to do this important work without the organizations behind the scenes that provide these food and grocery donations. Our admirable partners include Feeding Northeast Florida, Lucky’s Market, NS Mayport Commissary, Publix Super Markets, PVS Studios, Target, Walmart, and Winn-Dixie.

While we continue to operate our Jacksonville Beach and Mayport food pantries (including expanded weeknight and weekend hours), our mobile food pantry outreach has given us an opportunity to meet a different demographic—those who face transportation and/or time constraint hardships while providing for themselves and their families on a limited income.

Last year alone, we distributed more than 114,000 pounds of food through our mobile food pantry operations.

Blessing of the Fleet

In late September, we held an intimate event for our food bank donors and volunteers to celebrate the purchase of a new truck! With this addition, we are now able to better serve the supply needs of our Jacksonville Beach and Mayport pantries, our mobile food pantry sites and partner agencies.

We’d like to thank Ullmann Brown Wealth Advisors and the Ponte Vedra Women’s Civic Alliance for their generous investments to make this new truck possible. These donations for food operations capital improvements have a significant impact on our ability to combat food insecurity in our beaches area.

At the event, BEAM co-founder Father William Kelly led a “blessing of the fleet” and shared how far the organization has come since 1985 when BEAM was first formed.

In addition, we recognized our stellar volunteer Glenn Schneider for working tirelessly to make sure we purchased a truck that met our specific needs, and was within our budget.

Thank you to our food bank partners and supporters for your generosity!

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BEAM of Light Beach Ball 2018 Recap

At the end of August we held our annual fundraiser, the BEAM of Light Beach Ball, at TPC Sawgrass welcoming more than 210 attendees to celebrate the important work we are doing in the beaches area.

Our master of ceremonies was WJXT Channel 4 news anchor Jennifer Waugh who shared about the food insecurity challenges that face our community and how BEAM’s comprehensive basic needs services assist thousands of families every year. Senator Aaron Bean led a very entertaining live auction, and we enjoyed music from the RadioLove Band.

We also heard remarks from our current Board Chair Janice Kiernan who shared that because of generous donors and partners, we’ve been able to increase our footprint in the beaches area to reach more individuals and families in times of need.

At the end of the program, we were moved to hear personal testimony from a BEAM client who lost his job in the recession, forcing him and his daughter to lose their home. Through perseverance, and a hand up from BEAM, Dan was able to secure an apartment and his daughter is now in her freshman year at the University of Tampa on a full ride scholarship.

Dan’s story is just one example of the many lives impacted by the services we provide.

All money contributed through sponsorships, donations, ticket sales and auction earnings support BEAM’s work to provide emergency assistance and a path to economic stability. Thanks to generous community support, we raised more than $107,000 through this year’s BEAM of Light Beach Ball!

Back to School with BEAM 2018 Recap

We celebrated 25 years of Back to School with BEAM this year. On August 5th, we assisted more than 725 children and their families with clothing needs and school supplies in preparation for the next academic year. The book room in partnership with READUSA and the Beaches Community Fund continues to be a hit, and we were thrilled to welcome first-time Back to School volunteers Katie and Tommy Bohanon (#40), Megan and Josh Lambo (#4) from the Jacksonville Jaguars!

Providing Hope and Help

In September, our partners at 2-1-1 connected us with Stephen who was in need of financial assistance. Stephen is a beaches resident and has worked in the construction industry for more than 20 years, but because of a heart condition, he is no longer able to work. He is required to wear a LifeVest Defibrillator every day and at a recent checkup appointment, he found out he also has a tumor in his liver.

As you can imagine, this has been an incredibly stressful and emotional time for him. He lives by himself and has been working hard to keep up with his medical bills, but last month he needed assistance. BEAM was there to help relieve some of his financial stress by covering his rent and utility bills. In addition, he “shopped” with a volunteer in our Jacksonville Beach client-choice food pantry and she shared that he was the most gracious client she has worked with. We know that there is a slow road to recovery ahead for Stephen, but we are optimistic and continue to check in with him frequently to provide additional support.

Letter from the Executive Director (Fall 2018)

Dear Supporters,

This summer was a very busy time for us! We hosted both our 25th annual Back to School with BEAM and our BEAM of Light Beach Ball fundraiser in August. It was my first time attending both and I have to say, we have some incredible volunteers and supporters!

Last issue I shared with you we were expanding our pantry hours to include Thursday weeknights from 4- 7 pm. I’m pleased to say we have trained a group of dedicated volunteers to work this later shift, and we are now in the process of getting the word out about our extended hours to our partners and clients.

In addition, we have officially begun outreach to the local business community highlighting our “live-work” program where individuals who work in our six zip code service area can now schedule food pantry appointments. This service expansion is part of our 2016 strategic plan in an effort to help families supporting our local businesses who do not or can no longer afford to live east of the Intracoastal. We anticipate that once the word gets out, we will be able to provide food for many more hardworking families in need.

Your ongoing support is critical to the work we are doing to provide emergency assistance and a path to economic stability. Thank you for allowing us to continue to provide help and hope to those who need it most!

Gratefully,

Lori Richards
Lori@jaxbeam.org
904-241-7437 x1