Silencing Weekend Hunger

Food Insecure Children in the United States

There is no possible excuse for children to go hungry in this country. Yet it happens – every day, in every community. According to the latest estimates, as many as 9 million children in the United States live in “food insecure” homes. That means that those households don’t have enough food for every family member to lead a healthy life. The number of children living with hunger had fallen steadily over the past decade, but the coronavirus pandemic dealt a terrible blow to our progress as a nation.

As you might imagine, hunger is a problem that most often affects children from low-income families. A common way we measure poverty is the federal poverty level, a number set by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The federal poverty level is the minimum amount of money a family needs each year to afford the necessities of life: food, clothing, shelter, and transportation. In 2021, the federal poverty level was $26,500 for a family of four. Of course, this number is a minimum. Families making twice that much are still considered low-income by most experts, and many struggle to make ends meet.

How does that relate to Citrus County?

With 53% of our community’s households considered ALICE households, that number is only rising as more families are presented with income challenges against inflation rates. While almost 17% of our county’s people are considered below the poverty level, nearly 25% of children are living in poverty.

As a 501 C (3) organization battling food insecurity since 1999, Citrus County Blessings is helping kids get enough food to develop healthy bodies and pay attention in school and beyond. Let’s work together to close that nearly $14 million budget shortfall our community faces annually in feeding our youth.

Citrus County Statistics

  • Population of 162.5k (July 2022) up ~9k from 2020
  • 14.6% of population under the age of 18
  • 51.2% female population
  • 67.6k households with average 2.26 people per household
  • 16.9% persons in poverty (2022)

Information provided by US Cenus Bureau: https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/citruscountyflorida/PST045223. ​For a more comprehensive understanding of food insecurity, we recommend the USDA’s annual report on Household Food Security in the United States.

Silencing Weekend Hunger, the “Blessings Program”

A staggering 71% of children enrolled in Citrus County’s public schools participate in the Free/Reduced lunch program. Of those 71%, 69% qualify for free lunch.

The Blessings program provides over 2600 local students in 31 schools with food to take home every Friday of the school year. The students are also given additional food to take home over the school breaks. Each child is recommended by a school employee. Students’ identities are protected, their names only released to staff and key volunteers.

The Blessings program utilizes two staff members and over 900 volunteers each month to transport pallets, pack bags and deliver the food to the schools.

Donated Space Provided By

Donate Food!


Donate non-perishable, single-serving food that is in a safe, easy to open package. Keep in mind that some of these children may not have the luxury of a can opener, utensils, a refrigerator or a microwave, with which to cook or eat these meals. Examples of food items acceptable to donate are listed below.

Make a Monetary Contribution!


Make a monetary contribution of just $250, which will provide food for one child every weekend for an entire school year. All monetary contributions are tax deductible as we are a 501(c)(3) IRS registered* charity.

Acceptable Food Items

Breakfast
Single serve cereal bowls or boxes
Pop-Tarts
Granola or Cereal bars

Meat
Vienna Sausages
Tuna in a pouch / can
Potted meat

Snacks
Crackers (Peanut Butter and Cheese)
Pudding Cups

Fruit
Fruit Cups
Apple sauce
Raisins

Entree
Spaghetti O’s
Ravioli
Frank & Beans (Beanie Weenies)

Drinks
Water bottles
Juice box / bag
Capri Sun

Items sent home monthly when available
Peanut Butter
Jelly

Drop off food donations to any of the locations listed below.

Crystal River

West Citrus Government Center
1540 N. Meadowcrest Blvd.
Crystal River, FL

Floral City

Floral City United Methodist
8478 E Marvin St.
Floral City, FL

Homosassa

Anytime Fitness
5723 S. Suncoast Blvd.
Homosassa, FL


Lecanto

Anytime Fitness
2668 W Woodview Ln
Lecanto, FL

​Citrus County Blessings
​2804 W Marc Knighton Ct
Lecanto, FL 
Please call ahead- 352-341-7707


Inverness

Anytime Fitness 
345 E Highland Blvd.
Inverness, FL 34452

Landmark Realty
311 W Main St.
Inverness, FL

​Citrus County Tax Collector
210 N Apopka Ave
Inverness, FL

Suncoast Credit Union
2367 E Gulf to Lake Hwy.
Inverness, FL