PEMBROKE PARK, FLA. (WSVN) - Feeding South Florida has provided sustenance to countless individuals across Miami-Dade, Broward, Monroe, and Palm Beach counties, and is now stepping up to support those affected by the aftermath of Hurricane Idalia. The organization has dispatched supplies and personnel to assist in relief efforts in the wake of the devastating storm.

Early Thursday morning in Pembroke Park, two sizeable 36-foot tractor-trailers were filled with essential provisions to embark on a journey toward Second Harvest of the Big Bend in Tallahassee. These trailers are carrying a crucial cargo of food and water, bound for families grappling with the aftermath of Hurricane Idalia.

Paco Velez, President & CEO of Feeding South Florida, said emphasized the importance of helping the community in times of crisis and disaster.

“So many families have lost their food or they’ve been inundated or flooded out,” he said. “This food is going to help a lot of families start to put their life back together. The cleaning supplies that are coming is going to help families with cleaning efforts in their home. With the food gone and families not being able to replenish, because it costs a lot of money to replenish food, this is one thing less to worry about for families.”

Each truck is equipped with 24 pallets, with each pallet containing 64 buckets of emergency food supplies capable of sustaining individuals for up to 15 days. To facilitate the distribution process, two members of the Feeding South Florida team are stationed at Second Harvest of the Big Bend, offering their assistance and support through Monday.

“Our drivers are going over today, they’re going to stay and they’re going to help transport food back and forth to places they need it in Tallahassee and the surrounding areas,” Velez said.

While already rendering immediate aid, Feeding South Florida remains on standby, ready to deploy further resources, including additional food, water, and essential supplies. The organization’s cutting-edge 5,000-square-foot community kitchen is fully operational and capable of producing up to 3,000 meals per day for families in need across the state.

The organization will assist families throughout North Florida.

“Whether it’s 1,000 people or 10 people, for those ten people it’s extremely devastating,” Velez said.

On Wednesday afternoon, Global Empowerment Mission volunteers packed up supplies in Doral to send to the affected areas. The organization also sent its own volunteers ahead of the storm to be in position for assistance.

Hurricane Idalia’s fury was unleashed on the Big Bend region of Florida, making landfall as a powerful Category 3 storm with predicted wind speeds reaching 125 mph. The National Weather Service in Tallahassee has characterized the storm as an “unprecedented event.”

The hurricane brought destructive storm surge and flooding to several areas along the Gulf Coast, coupled with ferocious winds. By Wednesday afternoon, the aftermath left over 275,000 Floridians without electricity, alongside an additional 123,000 households in Georgia.

The collective response of food banks and Feeding America has been swift and comprehensive. As local food banks reopen, they are collaborating with regional partners to assess the unique needs of their communities.

Emergency food distributions are set to begin in a matter of days, thanks to the preemptive efforts of Florida food banks, which have stockpiled 45 truckloads of shelf-stable meals and 15 truckloads of bottled water to support impacted shelters. Additionally, Feeding America has positioned 12 truckloads of disaster boxes for delivery within two days of landfall, with 15 truckloads of water readied across the Southeastern United States for immediate dispatch.

For those wishing to provide assistance in the aftermath of Hurricane Idalia, visit feedingsouthflorida.org to make a donation and find out more about the organization.

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