We Need Volunteers!

Want to be a Hunger Hero?  The Community Food Bank needs YOU. Have fun, build camaraderie with staff and other volunteers all while helping to end hunger and nourish hope throughout our local community.  We have several fun and fulfilling volunteer opportunities including:

  • Food Sorters
  • Forklift Drivers
  • Experienced Pallet Hack Handlers
    (Must be able to lift 30 lbs. / Mon-Fri 6am – 10am or 8am – noon)

If you are interested in becoming one of our Hunger Heroes, please call 352-628-3663.

Eagles Ladies Auxilary
Community Food Bank (CFB) Executive Director Barbara Sprague (far left) accepts a generous donation from the Crystal River Eagles Ladies Auxiliary. The funds will be used to help 50+ agencies that partner with the CFB provide much needed food assistance to families throughout our area.

The Community Food Bank (CFB) reports a 200% spike in the demand for food assistance compared to last year at this time.  According to Barbara Sprague, Executive Director of the CFB, this increased demand is primarily attributed to the conclusion of stimulus aid.

“When the COVID-19 pandemic struck last year, we thought we hit an all-time high in the need for food assistance,” explains Sprague. “However, our agencies have been experiencing tremendous increases in demand over the last few months which directly correlates to the end of additional unemployment compensation, SNAP benefits, and other monetary COVID-19 stimulus aid.”

Sprague reports that the CFB has already distributed 2,004,172 pounds of food in 2021.  Last year, the agency distributed a total of 2,143,040 pounds.

“We had a record distribution in 2020,” says Sprague. “We are on target to surpass this in 2021.”

The CFB has been able to keep up with the increased demand for food assistance thanks to the generosity of businesses and individuals throughout the community.  However, funds are being depleted by the increased demand and the agency needs additional donations.

“Every single donation – whether it is $25, $2500, or $25,000 – is put to good use and makes a difference,” explains Steve Ponticos, President of the CFB Board of Directors. “For every $100 donated, we provide 1000 meals. We are calling on the community to consider making a tax-deductible donation to help us get through this unexpected increase in demand for food assistance.”

The Crystal River Eagle’s Ladies Auxiliary has already stepped up to the plate by donating $1312.00.  Regions Bank has donated another $5000.00 as well.

“Our staff and volunteers continue to work overtime to meet the needs of the agencies we serve,” concludes Sprague. “We have a wonderful team and will do whatever it takes to ensure no one in our community goes hungry.”

Black Diamond Foundation

Black Diamond Foundation Donates $20,000; CFB Issues Matching Challenge

The Black Diamond Foundation recently donated $20,000 to the Community Food Bank (CFB) towards the purchase of an enclosed, climate controlled Ford Transit 250 cargo van.  The van further expands the CFBs reach and capacity for food relief, allowing for additional perishable food pickups and deliveries to partnering agencies for distribution to those in need. The CFB has issued a challenge match of an additional $20,000 to cover the full cost of the new vehicle.

“Local Dollar General stores are now providing us with perishable food, so we’ve added them to our growing list of pickup sites,” says Barbara Sprague, Executive Director of the CFB. “The agencies we partner with are providing food to more people than ever before.  As the need grows, so do we. The new cargo van allows us to make additional pickups and drop-offs to help ensure no one in our community goes hungry.”

The Black Diamond Foundation (BDF) has been an ongoing, loyal supporter of the CFB’s fight against hunger.  The foundation stepped up once again when the CFB identified the need for an additional climate controlled vehicle for food transport. 

“The BDF continues to go above and beyond in supporting our mission,” says Steve Ponticos, President of the CFB Board of Directors. “We could not do what we do without the generous, ongoing assistance of the BDF, its president, Roger Obenauf, and all of the philanthropic men and women of the BDF who are passionate about supporting the CFBs efforts to provide food assistance throughout our community.”

According to Sprague, the $20,000 matching challenge will help the CFB offset the full cost of the cargo van and also provide funding for fuel and regular maintenance.  There are three easy ways to donate:

  1. Visit www.feed352.org and click donate.
  2. Text DONATE to 352-280-3391
  3. Mail or drop off a donation to:
    Community Food Bank
    5259 W Cardinal Street
    Building B
    Homosassa, FL 34446

“Every donation makes a difference,” says Sprague.  “We hope to achieve our matching challenge goal of $20,000 by July 4th.”

Community Comes Together to Fight Hunger

This year’s Empty Bowls to benefit the Community Food Bank (CFB) brought together local restaurants and businesses who joined forces to help fight hunger. The following raised a total of $9813.61 by donating a portion of their gross sales as part of the Empty Bowls event:

  • Amy’s on the Avenue
  • Cattle Dog Coffee Roasters
  • Katch 22
  • Manatee Maven
  • Tim’s Barber Room
  • Wallace’s Greenhouse Bistro

“Like many non-profit organizations, we had to pivot our event model because of COVID-19,” explains Barbara Sprague, Executive Director of the CFB. “We are very pleased with the results of this year’s Empty Bowls and look forward to hopefully returning to an in-person event in 2022.”

A number of local businesses and individuals lent their financial support, including Lowman Law Firm, Crystal Automotive, Dr. Bob’s Compassion Clinic, Avant-Garde Consulting and Professional Services, Citrus 95.3/Fox 96.7/Naturecoast Country, Drummond Bank, Kanes/Lollygaggers/The Loft, Kim DeVane and Mike Orlito, JoAnne and Zell Boggus, Armantes, Breakfast Station and Saltwater Cowboy’s Bar & Grill.

“The Community Food Bank is fortunate to have the ongoing support of so many individuals, businesses and sponsors during the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Steve Ponticos, President of the CFB Board of Directors. “We could not have ramped up efforts and met the increased need for food assistance without the generous support of our local community.

Special Thanks to Our Empty Bowls Radio Sponsor Citrus 95.3.

Catch Us on the Radio!

Barbara Sprague interview with Laura Vaughn:

Special Thanks to Our Empty Bowls Radio Sponsor Nature Coast Country

Catch Us on the Radio!

Barbara Sprague interview with Heather Jennings

Catch Us on the Radio!

Barbara Sprague interview with Bo Hamilton:

Barbara Sprague interview with Kelly Wright:

Community Food Bank Featured on Bay News 9

Special thank you to Katya Guillaume and Bay News 9 for helping bring awareness of food insecurity throughout our area and getting the word out about our Empty Bowls event April 11-17th!

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Empty Bowls 4th Annual

4th Annual Empty Bowls Event Benefits the Community Food Bank

This year’s Citrus Empty Bowls event to benefit the Community Food Bank brings together local restaurants and businesses who are joining forces to help fight hunger. During the week of April 11th – 17th, select restaurants will donate a portion of their sales when dining in or taking out. A local barber shop has even joined in on the fun and is donating a portion of the proceeds from each haircut to the CFB. 

What:

When:


Where:

Empty Bowls

April 2nd (Tim’s Barber Room)
April 11th – 17th (Local Restaurants)

Visit http://www.feed352.org/ for a full list of participating restaurants and businesses and to view applicable specials.

To date, Amy’s on the Ave., Cattle Dog Coffee Roasters, Katch 22, Manatee Maven, Wallace’s Greenhouse Bistro and Tim’s Barber Room have all committed and are offering specials at various times throughout the campaign. The website will be updated as additional businesses commit their participation.

“We had to re-create the Empty Bowls event this year because of COVID-19,” explains Barbara Sprague, Executive Director of the CFB. “We are so grateful to the local businesses who have stepped up to the plate to make this happen.  We could not do this without their support.”

“We are encouraging folks to consider one of the sponsoring restaurants when dining in or ordering takeout during the week of April 11th – 17th,” says Mike Orlito, Board Chair of the CFB. “If you go out to lunch or dinner a few times a week, you can make a big impact by patronizing these restaurants.”

According to Sprague, the CFB hopes to raise $10,000 through the Empty Bowls campaign.

“It’s an ambitious goal, especially since we are not having an ‘in-person’ event, but I know how dedicated and passionate our community is about helping their neighbors in need ,” says Sprague.

Empty Bowls event sponsors include Lowman Law Firm, Crystal Automotive, Dr. Bob’s Compassion Clinic, Avant-Garde Consulting and Professional Services, Citrus 95.3/Fox 96.7/Naturecoast Country, Drummond Bank, Kanes/Lollygaggers/The Loft, Kim DeVane and Mike Orlito, JoAnne and Zell Boggus, Armantes, Breakfast Station and Saltwater Cowboy’s Bar & Grill