Mayors’ Feed the Hungry Program seeking more public donations to provide food to those suffering economic challenges during pandemic

Sarasota city leaders encouraging support of the nonprofit

This is the banner on the Mayors’ Feed the Hungry website. Image from the nonprofit

“For years, the Mayors’ Feed the Hungry Program has helped to raise awareness and meet the ongoing need for food assistance in some segments of our community,” Sarasota City Manager Tom Barwin pointed out in his Aug. 21 newsletter.

“Now, as we continue to deal with the economic and societal impacts of COVID-19, that need is even greater, and the nonprofit’s work is even more critical,” Barwin continued. “We’ve heard that local food pantries are reporting an alarming increase in the need for food assistance, as so many of our citizens are still out of work due to the pandemic,’ he wrote.

Mayors’ Feed the Hungry is a volunteer organization sponsored by the nine mayors and the county commissions in Sarasota and Manatee counties, Barwin explained. The organization receives no government funding. Instead, he added, it relies on public donations.

Since the pandemic began in March, Barwin noted, the program has received more than $50,000 in food gift cards from local food pantries to assist families in need. “The gift cards allow individuals to shop with dignity, giving them a chance to buy food items they might not otherwise have been able to afford,” Barwin pointed out.

The Mayors’ Feed the Hungry Program’s next goal, Barwin wrote, “is to raise another $50,000 for gift cards that are desperately needed. If you’d like to help, donations may be made online at; by texting the word “GIVE” to 941-275-2032; by mailing a check to Mayors’ Feed the Hungry, P.O. Box 1992, Sarasota, FL 34230; or by donating in person at a participating food pantry (view the list here and contact the food pantry to arrange a food drop off).

“On behalf of Mayor Jen Ahearn-Koch and the Mayors’ Feed the Hungry Program, thank you to those who can contribute and help our neighbors who are facing a food emergency,” Barwin concluded the newsletter item.