Due to the heightened and sustained need for food assistance caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Second Harvest outgrew its existing kitchen and needed to find an additional location. As a result of CARES Act funding through Orange County and financial support from the community, the food bank expanded into the new 20,000-square-foot facility, two miles from its main warehouse.
Mercy Kitchen includes an expanded production kitchen, a cooler and freezer area, dry storage, and six receiving and distribution bay doors to support Second Harvest's operations.
Volunteers and staff at this location support hunger relief efforts by packing meals for kids, seniors and veterans.
In addition to providing meals for childhood hunger relief programs, Mercy Kitchen is also home to social entrepreneurial endeavors, such as contracted meals for private schools. These meals, along with Catering for Good and A Spoon Full of Hope, allow Second Harvest to diversify its funding stream and continue providing necessary resources to help sustain hunger relief efforts in Central Florida.
For more information, view the Frequently Asked Questions section below.
3702 Mercy Star Ct.
Building 3 Suite 130
Orlando, FL 32808
Who do the meals at Mercy Kitchen feed?
Children, Seniors, Families, and Veterans.
How many meals are produced each day at Mercy Kitchen?
How big is Mercy Kitchen in comparison to the previous production kitchen?
The previous production space at Second Harvest’s main warehouse was 1,500 square feet. Mercy Kitchen as a whole is 20,000 square feet, 3,500 of which is a production kitchen suitable for preparing perishable goods. Part of the remaining warehouse space is used to put together nonperishable food items.
Where does the funding for the programs at Mercy Kitchen come from?
There are a variety of funding sources for programs operating out of Mercy Kitchen. Mission-Focused Efforts are funded through government grants and generous support from the community. These programs include Kids Café, Summer Feeding, 7 Day Boxes, and Family Meal Boxes. Funding for Social Entrepreneurial Efforts comes from a combination of contracts, purchases made by individuals, and purchases made by companies/organizations. These programs include vendor contracted kids meals, medically tailored meals, Catering For Good, Drop and Go Catering, and A Spoon Full of Hope.
What type of boxes are being packaged at Mercy Kitchen, and where do they go?
There are two types of boxes prepared at Mercy Kitchen. 1. 7-day boxes, which include breakfast and lunch for an individual. These boxes go to children who may not be able to access the free in-school meals, seniors & veterans who are medically at risk due to COVID, and mobile home parks in more rural communities. 2. Family meal boxes, which consist of fully cooked breakfasts and dinners for a family of 4 for a week. Both types of boxes are distributed in Orange, Lake, Osceola and Seminole Counties.
What type of nutritional guidelines do the meals at Mercy Kitchen follow?
99.5% of food that leaves Mercy Kitchen falls under SHFB’s Foods to Encourage and meets the low sodium and nutrition content that health officials recommend for our senior community and is required by our school partners.
How many boxes are distributed daily or weekly?
Weekly 5,500 seven-day boxes (77,000 meals) and 450 family meal boxes (9,900 meals).
Will Culinary Students work at Mercy Kitchen? If so, what will they be doing?
Yes, SHFB has hired some of our Culinary Training Program graduates as full-time employees. Some students currently in the program will have an opportunity to have their internship at Mercy Kitchen.
How large is Mercy Kitchen?
Total space: 20,000 square feet. The cooler is 1,200 square feet, and the freezer is 1,000 square feet.
Does Mercy Kitchen have a back-up for power in case of a hurricane or power outage?
Yes, Mercy Kitchen has a 225KW full facility generator with a 48-hour fuel tank.
What are the goals for Mercy Kitchen moving forward?
To continue to help fight food insecurity in our community.
To explore and implement medically tailored meals contracts.
To expand our Summer Food Service Program and Kids Café Supper Programs.
To acquire more contracts to serve the children and seniors in our community.
To provide delicious chef-inspired catering to the community.
Does Mercy Kitchen accept food donations on site?
No, donors will be referred to the main facility on Mercy Drive, just a few minutes down the street from Mercy Kitchen.
How do people sign up to volunteer at Mercy Kitchen?
Click here and look for "Mercy Kitchen Production" at 3702 Mercy Star Court, Orlando, FL 32805.