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Stories of Hope and Courage

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1 in 6 in Central Florida

1 in 6 Central Floridians are struggling with the reality of hunger and food insecurity. Here are some of their stories.

Chef Shandra Petion

Veterans & Volunteers

Christina enlisted in the Air Force after high school. She remembers the sense of pride and accomplishment she felt after completing basic training. She went on to serve as a surgery tech in Desert Storm. After returning from war, she became sick and received a medical retirement. Retirement was a blessing because she was so ill, but also an unexpected disruption in her life.
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Chef Shandra Petion

Chef Susan Anderson

Susan Anderson always loved cooking. When her wages stagnated, she lost her car and then her home, Susan applied to Second Harvest Food Bank’s 14- week Culinary Training Program with the hope of a new beginning for her family. “I was working in retail management and food service but my career was stalled,” recalls Anderson.
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Chef Shandra Petion

Life Changing Experience

When Shandra started the Culinary Training Program at Second Harvest, she had no clue how much it was going to change her life for the better. She faced a lot of challenges heading in to the program, but along the way found the support and strength she needed to climb over those hurdles and flourish.
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Chef Kenneth Neal

Chef Kenneth Neal

Chef Kenneth reminds us what it’s all about, and what an impact your support makes. Chef Kenneth is a graduate of our Culinary Training Program.
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Story of Hope & Courage Barbara.jpg

Air Puddin'

Have you ever had to eat "air puddin'" because you didn't have enough to eat? Cordie does when there isn't enough food to go around for her and her three great grandkids. Learn how local partnerships are helping to make a difference in the lives of so many of our Central Florida seniors and families.
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Story of Hope & Courage Barbara.jpg

A Call From Barbara

During a Giving Tuesday telethon with Wesh 2 News, Development Officer Sasha Hausman got a call she wasn't expecting. Learn how a tearful exchange with a complete stranger lead to different departments and feeding partners quickly coming together to make a difference in the life of one of our vulnerable neighbors in need.
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Stories of Hope & Courage– James' Story

James' Story

When James was struck with cancer, all his life long savings were gone in an instant. Learn how the support of a local food pantry is helping James and his wife better meet life's basic needs they otherwise couldn't.
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Stories of Hope & Courage– Teddy's Story

Teddy's Story

Homeless and struggling, Theodore was looking for a second chance when he started in our 14-week Culinary Training Program. Now graduated, learn how he was able to turn his life around and find hope.
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Stories of Hope & Courage– Jeffrey's Story

Jeffrey's Story

Jeffrey is an eighth grade student in Orange County with big dreams to be a motorcycle mechanic one day. He is also a part of a growing percentage of public school students in Central Florida who are eligible for free or reduced meals because of their family's economic situation, and rely on the nutrition they get from school.
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Stories of Hope & Courage– Paula's Story

Paula's Story

For four months, 66-year old disabled widow Paula found herself with no electricity or running water in her apartment. Her $500 a month rent was past due, and with a fixed income of only $700, each month was a series of hard decisions. Until she met Delia, a Second Harvest Outreach Specialist.
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Stories of Hope & Courage– Hector's Story

Hector's Story

Hector worked in the civil service industry for over 25 years, until a back injury started to deteriorate his health. At home, he supported both his parents and siblings until his condition worsened.
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Stories of Hope & Courage– A Mother's Story

A Mother's Story

When Judie's husband Paul lost his job as a Civil Engineer during the Great Recession, all the air was let out of the family's financial balloon. Being homeless was beyond the family's wildest imagination, even just a year before when they had felt so secure.
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Stories of Hope & Courage– SNAP Success

SNAP Success

Fred is 78-years old, and 'recently retired.' Actually, he had made no plans to stop working, but was forced to do so when the company he worked for made some changes. Because he was mostly a lower-wage earner his entire life, Fred never managed to sock away huge sums for his later years.
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Stories of Hope & Courage– First Timers

First Timers

Sandra is a 55-year old grandmother, who is raising twin ten-year old grandchildren. She works part time at a local nonprofit organization, but her wages are not enough to cover rent, utilities, clothing, and other expenses for the small family.
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Hunger In Our Community
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1 in 6 Central Floridians are struggling with the reality of hunger. Here are some of their stories.
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