Months after the disaster, more than 50,000 refugees have fled from hurricane ravaged Puerto Rico to Florida. Local emergency food providers have struggled to keep up with the expanded need for food. At the same time thousands of pounds of food are thrown out by nearby restaurants and farms. MEANS aims to strengthen our proven food recovery platform in Florida, and support these refugees.
Over 50,000 refugees have fled from Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands to Florida in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. The vast majority left with little more than the clothes on their backs, and very few have been able to access the government social services they are legally entitled to as U.S. citizens. They are relying on emergency food providers who are struggling to meet the greater need. This project will provide Florida charities with more food and resources to help their new neighbors.
30% of food in the United States is thrown out before it reaches someone's table. Florida has 48,000 farms spread across 9.5 million acres and a thriving restaurant scene. Miami alone has 3,615 restaurants. Redirecting that unsold food could feed all the refugees in Florida and more. Expanding MEANS network in Florida will allow food producers to use their smartphone, tablet, or computer to post their unsold food and instantly notify nearby emergency food providers via email or text message.
Establishing MEANS in Florida will equip the area to deal with the aftermath of future climate-related disasters. In addition to emergency relief, the MEANS network will make everyday food donations much easier in Florida, both reducing food waste and providing food to those in need for years to come. Over 8 million households in Florida are food insecure. By investing in expansion of MEANS, not only will the refugees from Puerto Rico be helped, but everyone who is food insecure in the state.