Food For Thought Outreach has announced its second annual You CAN Help Food and Membership Drive will run during the Okaloosa and Walton counties' spring break. The organization will collect food items and sign up new members from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. March 19 through March 23 at the Destin Pantry, 908 Airport Road, and Santa Rosa Beach Pantry, 132 Market St.

In the past two school years, the organization has taken on more students than they could have ever anticipated. Last year, the organization was serving 1,700 students a week after only planning for 1,500. Then, at the start of the 2017-2018 school year the nonprofit expected to grow to 2,500 students. That number grew to 2,900 students as Food For Thought added their 31st school to the program.

“This spring break food and membership drive will help us push through the last few weeks of the school year," said Tiffanie Nelson, founder and executive director of Food For Thought Outreach. "As we continue to grow, we will need more and more resources to support our local kids and families. We are continually overwhelmed by the community’s support and compassion for their community and their neighbors and we hope to see that commitment again during this food drive.”

Food For Thought will accept peanut butter and jelly in plastic jars, fruit cups, oatmeal packets, snacks like healthy granola bars, snack crackers, and breakfast bars, and easy to open, pop-top canned food (like soup, Chef Boyardee, veggies, tuna, and chicken).

Anyone can join the FFT Membership Program for as little as $7.50 a month and those funds go directly to feeding local students in need. If you’d like to register, visit or

Food For Thought is setting a goal of 16,000 food items for the You CAN Help Food Drive. Nelson said that is the number of additional food items needed each month and more than 29,000 food items pass through the pantries each month. Those numbers only account for their backpack program. The nonprofit also conducts holiday services during all school holidays, summer break, and has a snack program to assist teachers in the schools they serve.

“We will distribute well over 1 million food items this year,” Nelson said. “The need is here right in our own backyards — neighbors, friends, colleagues, classmates that fall on hard times, face a loss at work or at home, or any number of reasons. We’re here to do all we can and are blessed that this community is so generous of their time and efforts. We can all help."

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