Just days before Thanksgiving, hundreds of thousands of families in our area are struggling to put food on the table.
Preparations are underway across our area to make sure no one goes without a warm Thanksgiving meal.
St. Lucie County firefighters are among the local groups working overtime to serve their community as part of the St. Lucie County Big Heart Brigade.
They’ll be cooking more than 400 donated turkeys, to create about 2,000 meals.
"It's almost exclusively firefighters and their families,” said Interim Fire Chief Nate Spera.
For the first time, the St. Lucie County Big Heart Brigade will also be delivering turkey dinners to hotels, where they anticipate families are still living after being displaced by Hurricane Irma.
“This is the little bit extra they do to give back to the community,” Spera said.
The Treasure Coast Food Bank says efforts like this are needed now more than in previous years.
“Over the last few years, the need and the food insecurity levels have gone up,” said Krista Garofalo, Chief Strategy and Advocacy Officer for the Treasure Coast Food Bank.
For the couple weeks surrounding Thanksgiving, she anticipates the Treasure Coast Food Bank will help disperse nearly 250,000 meals on the Treasure Coast.
That’s up nearly 50,000 meals from last year.
They do so by also supplying food to local food pantries and shelters.
“There are a lot of different reasons why that’s happening. For instance, this year, a lot of it is due to Hurricane Irma,” Garofalo said.
St. Lucie County leads our area in food insecurity at 16% of the population.
“Any way that we can get a meal to someone we are doing it,” Garofalo said.
The St. Lucie County Big Heart Brigade will be delivering their meals throughout the day on Thanksgiving.
The Treasure Coast Food Bank encourages people to continue donating food, time or money to their cause during and after the holidays.