The majority of our team members either grew up along the beautiful Emerald Coast or have called the area home for the past several years, and we all love seeing the area grow. With the amount of growth Okaloosa and Walton counties have seen over the past two decades, there has been a tremendous amount of new families relocate to the area.
With growth come growing pains. One of the growing pains our area has experienced in recent years involves the economic hardships of raising a family in a resort area on a non-resort salary. While Okaloosa Island to Panama City Beach is well known for resorts, luxury shopping and more, there are more financial hardships for some locals than what meets the eye.
We are proud to be regularly involved with a young non-profit that has been supporting local families, specifically the children of local families, for over 5 years. Once a month, our team volunteers with Food for Thought, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization based in Santa Rosa Beach, FL that provides backpacks filled with healthy, easy to prepare food for students who are dependent on free or reduced school meals. The children take home a weekend’s worth of healthy meals to help fill the gap between Friday’s school lunch and Monday’s school breakfast.
Knowing that we are able to help provide our local children with regular worry-free meals, makes us feel better than words can say. To know that these children will have a better opportunity to focus on their education and physical health and not worry about where their next meal will come from means that they will grow up and be able to fulfill their potential, either within or outside of our community. Being able to help our community by supporting all of our children is a wonderful feeling.
Food For Thought has been working to fight child hunger since 2010, and currently serves 15 schools in Walton and Okaloosa Counties, providing backpacks for 770 students each week. Their mission is to remove the negative impacts of hunger, and empower a child to get the most out of their education and development by providing them weekly access to healthy, easy to prepare meals. For more information, such as donation locations, pantry items needed, and opportunities to volunteer, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo: Amanda and Nathan Abbott delivering bread for backpacks at Food for Thought.