Public employees across Volusia County collect more than 64,000 pounds with ‘Feed the Need’ food drive

Photo for Headline Surfer / New Smyrna Beach municipal employees are shown with their collected items for the needy during the winter holiday season, by far the largest haul countywide.  
 
By HENRY FREDERICK
Headline Surfer

DELAND, Fla -- Public employees collected more than 64,000 pounds of food during the eighth annual countywide “Feed the Need” public employee food drive. That brings the total of the eight-year program to more than 782,000 pounds.

Participating organizations included Volusia County Government; Volusia County School Way Café; Florida Health Department in Volusia County; and the cities of Daytona Beach, DeBary, DeLand, Deltona, Edgewater, Holly Hill, New Smyrna Beach, Orange City, Ormond Beach, Pierson, Ponce Inlet, Port Orange and South Daytona. 

The food drive is coordinated by the county and was the brainchild of former County Manager Jim Dinneen. It continued under the leadership of Interim County Manager George Recktenwald and took place from Nov. 11 to 25 throughout Volusia County as a friendly competition among public employees. New Smyrna Beach "won" the competition this year, with the most pounds of food collected per full-time employee – 11,346 lbs in total which equals 45 pounds per full-time employee. 

A separate element of the food drive included “Food for Fines” in which library patrons with late fees received a $1 reduction of overdue fines up to $25 for each boxed or canned non-perishable food item they brought to the library. Food for Fines gathered 6,344 pounds of food.

According to Robert Thomas, branch manager of Second Harvest Food Bank of Volusia/Flagler, the 64,000 pounds of food will provide 54,000 meals and feed more than 2,600 families for a week. The food donation totals were announced during a presentation Dec. 18 to the Volusia County Council in DeLand. The city of New Smyrna Beach was the top collector among agencies, with the most pounds of food collected –   11,346 pounds – and the most food per full-time employee – 45 pounds.

According to Robert Thomas, branch manager of Second Harvest Food Bank of Volusia/Flagler, the 64,000 pounds of food will provide 54,000 meals and feed more than 2,600 families for a week. The food donation totals were announced during a presentation Dec. 18 to the Volusia County Council in DeLand. The city of New Smyrna Beach was the top collector among agencies, with the most pounds of food collected –   11,346 pounds – and the most food per full-time employee – 45 pounds.

The food and funds were distributed to local food pantries, soup kitchens, senior centers, churches and other nonprofit organizations that are working to fight hunger.

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Short Bio

Henry Frederick is publisher of Headline Surfer®, the award-winning 24/7 internet news outlet covering the Daytona Beach-Sanford-Orlando metro area via HeadlineSurfer.com since 2008. A longtime cops & courts reporter focused on breaking news & investigative reporting, Frederick is among the Sunshine State's most prolific daily news reporters, having amassed close to a hundred award-winning byline stories nearly evenly split in print and digital platforms. Frederick earned his Master of Arts in New Media Journalism with academic honors from Full Sail University in Winter Park in February 2019. He was a metro reporter with the Daytona Beach News-Journal for nearly a decade and then served as a city editor for the Taunton Daily Gazette in Taunton, Mass, while maintaining a residence in Central Florida. Prior to moving to Florida, Frederick was a metro reporter for the Rockland Journal-News in West Nyack, NY, for seven years. Headline Surfer was named the Sunshine State's top internet news site by the Florida Press Club in 2018.