Letter to the Editor
By Rev. Stephen E. Braddock
President & CEO Emeritus
Florida Keys Outreach Coalition, Inc.
While COVID-19 is dominating headlines, another kind of emergency is threatening the lives of millions of people around the world—food insecurity.
The two are very much intertwined. By the end of 2020, authorities estimate that upwards of 265 million people could be on the brink of starvation globally, almost double the current rate of crisis-level food insecurity.
Here at home, the impact of closures and social distancing orders meant to limit the spread of COVID-19 across the country is being felt in communities large and small.
Key West and the Florida Keys have been hit especially hard due to the tourist and hospitality-based economy relied upon to support its residents.
It pains me that so many local individuals and families are struggling more than ever just to meet their most basic needs.
At the same time, I am so gratified and pleased to read and hear about the Herculean efforts of individuals, small business owners, and nonprofits to provide food to anyone in need.
In particular, the Loaves & Fish Food Pantry, which I founded with Fr. Paul Rasmus 20-years ago, has been doing a phenomenal job and providing 400 bags of groceries a week during this crisis.
The pantry is dedicated to my maternal grandmother, who died when I was 4-years old, after exhausting herself delivering food baskets to needy families for Christmas 1968.
I know that her spirit will help sustain the efforts of those who are selflessly pushing themselves to feed the hungry masses in Monroe County.
As the parable of the multiplication of the loaves and fish illustrates, a little can go a long way when combined with faith and generosity.
If you are able, please consider a donation of any amount to support these efforts. Checks can be made payable to Loaves & Fish Food Pantry, c/o FKOC, Inc., PO Box 4767, Key West, FL 33040 or online at www.FKOC.org (memo: Loaves & Fish)