MIAMI – Miami Dolphins defensive tackle Randy Starks and some of his teammates joined volunteers from UnitedHealthcare at Olinda Park in Miami Jan. 8 to staff a Feeding South Florida Mobile Food Pantry.
This project is part of UnitedHealthcare’s “Do Good. Live Well” employee volunteer initiative directed at preventing hunger and obesity, as well as inspiring service and encouraging volunteerism.
“I am excited to work with UnitedHealthcare as part of the Sack Hunger campaign,” Starks said in a statement. “My teammates and I have done work in the past with Feeding South Florida and understand the importance of the services it provides throughout South Florida.”
The Mobile Food Pantry is regarded as one of Feeding South Florida’s most innovative and effective ways to bring fresh produce into areas that have been deemed “food deserts.”
The term describes an area where a majority of residents have limited access to large retail stores with fresh food and grocery products. Through Feeding South Florida’s Mobile Food Pantry, individuals and families can gain access to fresh fruits, vegetables, dairy and breads that are so vital to maintaining a proper diet.
The pantry fed nearly 2,000 people at the park, 2101 NW 51 St. Feeding South Florida says it works through a network of about 350 nonprofit partner agencies to serve almost one million people in need, including 296,600 children, older adults and the working poor, in Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade and Monroe counties.
The organization is a member of Feeding America, the nation’s leading hunger relief charity with 202 food banks in the network. It is the Feeding America food bank in South Florida, and the largest in the state, distributing nearly 35 million pounds of food annually.
“As demand for our services continues to increase, Feeding South Florida is appreciative of UnitedHealthcare’s support,” Paco Velez, president/CEO of Feeding South Florida said in the statement. “We have seen an increase in the number of working families, children and older adults in need of food assistance, so this donation enables us to provide food items and fresh produce to the nearly 950,000 South Floridians struggling to put food on the table.”
Nicholas Zaffiris, CEO of UnitedHealthcare of South Florida, said his company is pleased to partner with the charity “to make a difference in the lives of Floridians and help ensure they have access to fresh, nutritious food.”
For more information on becoming involved with Feeding South Florida, call 954-518-1818, visit www.feedingsouthflorida.org or follow the organization at facebook.com/FeedingSFL or #twitter.com/FeedingSFL.