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 Left to right: Board member Teri Vitale, Volunteer Trina Creek, Volunteer Teresa Frazier and Driver Francisco Oliveira

Featured Article

All Faiths Food Bank Helps Feed Neighbors in Need

All Faiths Food Bank Represents the Very Best of Venice's Charitable and Giving Nature

Article by All Faiths Foodbank

Photography by All Faiths Foodbank

Originally published in Venice City Lifestyle

Since 1989, All Faiths Food Bank has been the only food bank serving Sarasota and DeSoto counties. Together with its partners, All Faiths Food Bank works to provide healthy solutions to end hunger in our community. The largest huger relief organization of any kind in Sarasota and DeSoto counties, All Faiths serves more than 82,000 neighbors in need through its programs and member network. The nonprofit organization’s number one priority has always been to serve the neediest and most vulnerable among us, including children, seniors, veterans and those in crisis. 

Last year, thanks to our community’s generosity, All Faiths Food Bank was able to expand its warehouse, doubling its size in order to provide better services and more fresh produce to our next-door neighbors in need. 

The scope of the problem might be surprising to many in our friendly, affluent community. According to the United Way’s "Asset-Limited, Income-Constrained, Employed"—or "ALICE"—report of 2016, 46% of households in Florida could not afford basic needs such as housing, childcare, food, health care and transportation. Right here in Sarasota County, 37% of households struggled to afford their basic needs, and in DeSoto County, the number was 60% of households.

All Faiths Food Bank receives food donations from the food and grocery industries, government agencies, food drives, local growers, individuals and other organizations. All Faiths inspects donated food, ensures safe storage and oversees reliable distribution to where it is needed most. Backpacks with nutritious food are provided to students for the weekends and over the holidays at 53 schools in the region. School pantries provide fresh produce, meats and groceries to families at 17 schools. Mobile Farm Markets distribute fresh produce at 23 locations, and Mobile Pantries distribute fresh produce, meats and groceries at 18 locations.

All Faiths Food Bank isn’t just about food distribution. It also provides nutrition education including its "Cooking Matters" classes, six-week courses that teach people how to shop for and prepare healthy, low-cost meals. Currently, 62 partner agencies provide food pantries and meals to the community. Some of these partners include human services organizations, schools, faith-based and secular organizations, and other service-oriented groups. 

All Faiths Food Bank could not achieve its goals without our community’s generous help. During the holiday season, we all look forward to gathering and sharing meals with friends and family. But for families and individuals facing financial challenges, the holidays can be a painful reminder of hunger. The ThankFULL Hearts campaign was created with the idea of turning empty plates into ThankFULL hearts by providing meals for our neighbors who struggle with hunger during the holidays. 

“The Venice community is incredibly generous and caring, and we are so grateful for the individuals, organizations and West Villages communities that support us," says Aundria Castleberry, director of donor relations. "We could not end hunger for our neighbors in need without them.”   

This holiday season, please consider supporting All Faiths Food Bank. In 2018, 48,678 volunteer hours helped carry All Faiths to its mission. People receiving food in 2018 totaled 82,000, and 172,000 backpacks of food were distributed to children. Last year, 8.75 million meals were distributed, including 10.5 million pounds of food. Of those numbers, 3.6 million pounds were of fresh produce. 

All Faiths Food Bank is a community treasure, supported and sustained by our community itself. As Christmas rolls around with joy and cheer, keep this venerable, local nonprofit in mind for your volunteerism hours and your charitable giving. All Faiths Food Bank is the very best of how Venice always gives back to its community!

8171 Blaikie Court, Sarasota | 941.379.6333 |

  • All Faiths Food Bank distributes fresh and locally grown food like these sweet potatoes
  •  Left to right: Board member Teri Vitale, Volunteer Trina Creek, Volunteer Teresa Frazier and Driver Francisco Oliveira
  • All Faiths Food Bank depends on volunteers and donations
  • All Faiths Food Bank distributes food
  • All Faiths Food Bank in Sarasota
  • All Faiths Food Bank's expanded warehouse