For Hometown News
TREASURE COAST -- Could you imagine going on a 22-day hunger strike to draw attention to the needs of hungry people in the United States and around the world? Or traveling to Ethiopia during the great famine in the mid-80s and witnessing hundreds of deaths due to hunger?
Three-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee and leading advocate for hunger relief programs, Ambassador Tony P. Hall, shared heartfelt stories from his 30-year fight against hunger with a crowd of more than 100 Treasure Coast Food Bank supporters during the organization's 25th anniversary celebration on Feb. 20. Mr. Hall served as United States Ambassador to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture from September 2002 to April 2005 and currently serves as executive director of the Alliance to End Hunger.
Ambassador Hall brought a worldwide perspective of the issue and discussed ways in which our community can come together to tackle hunger. "The work of the Treasure Coast Food Bank--and indeed the work of groups all across the country that have embraced the idea of creating Hunger Free Communities--is a perfect example of how individuals and organizations in a community can come together to tackle hunger in a holistic, systemic way," Hall said.
In addition to the keynote address by Hall, US Congressman Patrick Murphy provided opening remarks. Treasure Coast Food Bank CEO Judith Cruz and Board President Miguel Coty discussed the past, present and future plans for the food bank.
The celebratory event was held at The Treasure Coast Food Bank's new 35,000 square foot distribution center in Fort Pierce. Relocating to the new facility marked an important step in meeting the increased demand for services.
"During the past four years, the need for hunger relief services has risen by more than 185 percent. We've gone from serving 42,000 people each week to more than 100,000 each week," Ms. Cruz said.
The new facility is three times the size of the previous building and will enable TCFB to increase food distribution to more than 30 million pounds annually--especially the amounts of nutritious, highly perishable protein, fruits and produce. TCFB has made small improvements to the facility to allow for safe food storage and is now raising much needed funds for renovations that will improve overall efficiency. "As we prepare for the next 25 years, we have a vision of not only ending hunger in our community, but improving the health and well-being of the people we serve," Ms. Cruz said.
For more information about Treasure Coast Food Bank, call (772) 489-3034 or visit stophunger.org.