According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), more than 30 million students rely on free or reduced-price lunch as a primary source of their daily nutrition. When schools are closed, those children miss meals and are left struggling to find food each day.
Because of the recent government-mandated school closures and recommended lockdowns by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), children who relied on public school lunches are facing the hunger pains of an unexpectedly long summer. That’s where the IOA Foundation — in partnership with Second Harvest Food Bank — steps in.
Compassion for the Community
Eternally committed to the community he calls home, IOA Foundation President Heath Ritenour recognized the immediate need for help during this time of unprecedented crisis. “The goal of the IOA Foundation is to help children prosper,” said Ritenour. “They cannot do that if they’re going hungry.”
Therefore, the IOA Chairman and CEO decided to do something about it. To support to children in the Central Florida community amid the coronavirus pandemic, the IOA Foundation got involved with local NBC affiliate WESH 2 and CW18 as they launched Project CommUNITY Day of Giving. The project began on April 21, 2020, with the goal of raising $1 million dollars for Second Harvest Food Bank’s COVID-19 response efforts.
IOA’s Blue Jeans Outreach
Participating in Project CommUNITY Day of Giving through their office-wide Blue Jeans Outreach, the IOA Foundation stepped up for Second Harvest Food Bank by dressing down.
Each Friday, IOA’s company-wide jeans outreach allows employees to dress casually for a good cause. In exchange for a small donation toward a local charity, employees are allowed to wear blue jeans to work. In April alone, the campaign raised $1,800 for Second Harvest Food Bank, which was added toward Project CommUNITY Day of Giving’s grand total.
“Giving back has always been in our genes, and now we’re literally giving back in our jeans,” laughed Ritenour. “It’s a win-win.”
However, this isn’t the first time the IOA Foundation has pledged to support Second Harvest Food Bank.
IOA Corporate 5K 100 Meal Challenge
The annual IOA Corporate 5K benefits Second Harvest Food Bank with food or fund donations through the IOA Corporate 5K 100 meal Challenge. Leading up to the race, all 5K participants are encouraged to donate either 150 pounds of food or $25. The goal of the challenge is to provide 125,000 meals to Central Florida neighbors in need.
“The IOA Corporate 5K is a wonderful event that helps fight hunger and feed hope in Central Florida,” Ritenour said.
Originally scheduled for Thursday, April 9, 2020, the IOA Corporate 5K was postponed due to COVID-19. The race has been rescheduled to October 1, 2020, at Lake Eola.