Second Harvest of the Big Bend (Tallahassee, FL)

4446 Entrepot Blvd., Tallahassee, FL 32310

Second Harvest of the Big Bend was founded in 1982 and first focused on collecting and distributing perishable food. An affiliate of the nationwide Feeding America food bank network. Second Harvest’s service area consists of an expansive, sixteen-county region in the central Florida Panhandle. Last year, SHBB distributed a record 13.8 million pounds of food donated by national manufacturers, food wholesalers and distributors, other regional food banks, local food retailers, regional farmers, local food drives and individual donors. SHBB also routinely purchases some foods at a wholesale rate and distributes U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Commodities through The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP). In 2022 SHBB served over 120,000 individuals, 59.4% of whom were members of ethnic or racial minorities.

SHBB has developed several programs tailored to its clients, many of whom live in remote rural areas (51.5% of all clients). Twelve mobile pantries, known as “Just in Time” distribution vehicles, are often located in church or nonprofit parking lots in a farmers’ market-style distribution, while the Senior Grocery Program provides low-income seniors with supplemental nutrition at the end of the month, when seniors’ financial resources are often depleted. (Over a quarter of those SHBB serves are seniors.)

Despite last year’s record level of food distribution, the end of pandemic-era assistance programs has triggered an explosion in demand, and SHBB estimates that a near-doubling of its annual capacity, to 25 million pounds, is required to adequately serve those struggling with food insecurity.

In March of 2024, in partnership with Hampton Roads Ventures, CCG Community Partners, and Truist Bank, Crescent closed on a $13.0M Federal NMTC financing to upgrade and expand its existing facilities, technology, programs and staff. An $11 million facility expansion will fund:

  • Volunteer Hub – a dedicated food-loading workspace to separate volunteers from forklift operators and improve safety;
  • Community Training Center – a space for training food safety and nutrition education specialists;
  • Community Wellness and Education Center – a demonstration kitchen to educate food-insecure persons in gardening, nutrition, food preparation and cooking – resulting in self-sufficiency and better nutrition;
  • Agricultural Education Center – a new, outdoor education area for demonstrations and workshops, to include a greenhouse, room for additional gardens, raised beds and row crops, plus a composter to generate soil and reduce landfill waste.

Eight new full-time staffers will be leveraged to supervise the planned aggressive expansion in output, new equipment will ease the difficulties SHBB encounters in serving its rural clients, and new technology will support both better internal performance and improve cooperation with the 135 nonprofit partners SHBB collaborates with to serve its highly-disadvantaged, “majority-minority”, mostly rural client base within its sixteen-county service area. SHBB’s significantly improved capability in its designated role as the North Florida Disaster Hub will also greatly benefit its clientele, whose poverty renders them especially vulnerable to climate change-induced extreme weather events.