When was the last time you didn’t know where your next meal was coming from?

Feeding America defines food insecurity as “a lack of consistent access to enough food for every person in a household to live an active, healthy life.” According to the United Way of Central Florida, 15 percent of Polk County residents are food insecure.

Talbot House Ministries was founded in 1979 as a soup kitchen for the homeless. Even now, as programs have expanded, Talbot House remains committed to feeding the hungry and food insecure. Michele Lightsey, Food Service Manager at Talbot House, says, “If someone is hungry, we are not going to turn them away.”

Talbot House Ministries serves between 300-350 meals every day of the year. Staff emphasize preparing hot, nutritious meals that our clients would not be able to prepare themselves. We also give out food boxes twice weekly, redistributing nearly 60,000 pounds of food last year alone. Last summer, in the midst of the financial hardship caused by the coronavirus pandemic, Talbot House experienced a tripling in demand for food that has remained elevated ever since.

Michele shares, “We still have individuals and families who are here for food every month. The need fluctuates, but is always present.”

Individuals who come to Talbot House for food boxes have said, “I know that every week I come there will be food for me.” One mother said, “I’m thankful that I don’t have to choose between paying my bills and feeding my children.”

Talbot House Ministries’ feeding programs are made possible through donations and partnerships. Publix Super Markets delivers hundreds of boxes of food to Talbot House every month. Other large donors include DACS and Walmart.

Solving food insecurity is not up to those experiencing it; it is up to those who aren’t. In need of food, or know someone who is? Food boxes are handed out Tuesdays and Fridays from 9:30-11:00 a.m..

Together, we can fight food insecurity in Polk County. You can give a monetary donation here and apply to volunteer here.

“For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in.” Matthew 25:35