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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.

Shandra's story of hope and courage

Shandra update

Shandra went from a full-time job down to part-time in order to complete the program. She had to take a step back in order to move forward, and it has been worth it. Her dream to cook is now providing a better life for Shandra, her husband, James, and their four children. Read story

Story of Hope and Courage: Michel'le

Meet Michel'le

Michel’le Snell grew up with her grandmother and the two spent many days in the kitchen making family recipes. But when her grandmother’s house was foreclosed, Michel’le and her three daughters had to find a new place to live. With no job and no car, she spent her income tax return on two month’s rent.
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Soline's Story of Hope and Courage

Meet Soline

Solinee Dulcio was recognized at the Top Student at last fall’s Culinary Training Program graduation. Originally from Haiti, Soline struggled with depression and unemployment before applying to the program. Today she is employed full-time at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort as a prep cook.
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Anna's story of hope and courage

Meet Anna

Anna and her son are one of many working families struggling to find good paying jobs, keep up with bills and have enough food on their table. Anna has worked 40 hours per week in retail for many years but recently her hours were reduced. Read story

Story of Hope and Courage: Anita

Meet Anita

For many seniors today a relaxing retirement is an unattainable dream. According to Generations United, about 2.5 million grandparents are responsible for their grandchildren’s needs, like Anita. She is a resident in Orlando’s Washington Park neighborhood and cares for four grandchildren, ages 5, 8, 9 and 11.
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Katherine's Story of Hope and Courage

Meet Katherine

Katherine is just weeks away from completing Second Harvest’s Culinary Training Program as part of the first Spanish-language class. In the past she has worked at a bakery, but steady work has been a challenge. Then, last fall, Hurricane Maria devastated her town in Puerto Rico.
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Stories of Hope & Courage– Faces of Hunger

Puerto Rican Evacuees Culinary Training Journey

Miguel lost everything when Hurricane Maria devasted Puerto Rico in Fall of 2017. His story is 1 in over 140,000 Puerto Ricans who have arrived in Central Florida since the storm, but with the help of Second Harvest's Culinary Training Program, he is working toward rebuilding his life for him and his daughter.
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Stories of Hope & Courage– Faces of Hunger

Faces of Hunger

Hunger can be a disaster year round. Add to that the disruption and devastation caused by Hurricanes Irma and Maria and this holiday season could be a recipe for disaster for thousands of Central Florida families and displaced Puerto Ricans. Here are some of their stories:
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Stories of Hope & Courage– Veterans and Volunteers

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. Within two weeks, she lost her job, her income and her personal identity.
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Stories of Hope & Courage– Story of Chef Susan Anderson

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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Stories of Hope & Courage– Meet Teddy

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. Read and be inspired by Shandra's amazing story, and how she has been since leaving the program.
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Stories of Hope & Courage– Chef Kenneth Neal

Chef Kenneth Neal

Chef Kenneth Neil is a graduate of Second Harvest's Culinary Training Program. This program provides qualified, at-risk and economically disadvantaged adults with the culinary and life skills training needed to pursue a sustainable career in the food industry.
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Stories of Hope & Courage– Air Puddin'

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. Watch Cordie's story to learn how Second Harvest feeding partners like The Woodbury Church are helping to make a difference in the lives of so many of our Central Florida seniors and families.
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Stories of Hope & Courage– Meet Teddy

Meet Teddy

Homeless and struggling, Theodore was looking for a second chance when he started in our 14-week Culinary Training Program. Now graduated, he has been able to turn his life around and find hope.
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Stories of Hope & Courage– SNAP Success: Meet Fred

SNAP Success: Meet Fred

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. He had saved a reasonable amount for emergencies, but that went pretty quickly in the months following his job loss. His unemployment benefits ran out as well.
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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– The Tuna Turkey

The Tuna Turkey

James and Melanie are both young, college-educated adults with two young children. Recently, Melanie learned that her company was down-sizing and lost her job. They cut back in all the ways they could think of, and sacrificed many of their 'comforts.' Melanie began looking for work immediately, but was not successful. When James learned just one month later that his job, too, was going to disappear, the family faced a true calamity.
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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
Read Stories of Hope and Courage Click to read stories of hope and courage
1 in 6 Central Floridians are struggling with the reality of hunger. Here are some of their stories.
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