Just as I was about to eat my dinner that my wife prepared for me after a long day at work, I heard a knock at the front door. It was my neighbor Rich who lived across the street. I could tell by the look on his face that he was upset. “Someone stole my bike last night…I can’t believe it.”
Rich then asked me for a ride to check several local pawn shops in the area to see if someone had hocked it, but we had no luck at finding his bike. You see, for Rich this bike that was stolen was more than just a bike. It was transportation to work, for shopping, and to get wherever he needed to go…Rich did not own a car.
For most of his life, Rich was a drug addict, homeless, living on the streets of Pasco County , just barely surviving. However, during the past eight years Rich worked at changing his life. He is now employed as a supervisor of a roofing company, working full time and has an apartment of his own near the river that he shares with his wife who also transformed her life.
But losing his electric bike that Rich saved up for was a devastating blow. I told Rich, “Let me contact Rhonda Miller, President at Florida Food Force and see if she might have a bike available to give you.” I explained that Florida Food Force in Odessa , Florida , is an organization that helps people in need, whatever that need might be, and that they have provided assistance for many people I’ve worked with over the years.
I called Rhonda and told her Rich’s story. Rhonda said she should be able to get a bike for Rich, which was great news! When I got off the phone with Rhonda, a verse from the Bible came to mind. James 1:6, which says, “ask boldly, believing without a second thought.”
So, I immediately called Rhonda back and “boldly” asked if Florida Food Force would have an electric bike for Rich. Rhonda replied, “We never really get electric bikes, only the standard pedal bicycles, but if we ever do, I will let you know.”
The next morning I received a called from Rhonda, speaking almost in disbelief. “Rich, this is Rhonda, and you’re not going to believe this…remember how I said we never get electric bikes?” I responded, “Yes.” “Well, one was just donated and came into our warehouse this morning.” “Wow!” Both Rhonda and I were amazed! So, I drove over to the Florida Food Force warehouse to pick up this new beautiful, royal blue Schwinn electric bike.
Both Rhonda and I were stunned as we loaded the bike into the van. Rhonda said, “Does Rich know about the bike?” I responded, “He will soon.” Driving home, I could feel the tingle of supernatural intervention and knew transporting this electric bike back to give Rich this was no coincidence.
When I arrived home I hid the electric bike in my carport until Rich arrived home from work later that day. I called him around 6 p.m. and said, “come on over to my carport.” When Rich came into my carport, his eyes lit up when he saw his beautiful new royal blue Schwinn bike. “Wow, it’s beautiful!” he said. Looking more intently at it he exclaimed “it’s electric?!” “Yes, it is, it’s brand new, and better than the bike that was stolen from you.”
Rich said, “This is definitely a gift from God.” Watching Rich walk away with his new electric bike back home, I reflected on how quickly sometimes prayers can be answered, and was grateful for this event that I witnessed. Not only was Rich blessed by Florida Food Force, BUT THE DONOR who donated the bike is the hero, I also learned a new lesson myself that day. That whenever we ask God for our needs, “ask boldly, believing without a second thought.” Amen!
Our success is only possible by the love, compassion and generosity of donors!
My first encounter with Florida Food Force was amazing. I first heard of this organization through a family member out of my county and was anxious to learn more and hopefully be a part of this effort.
I contacted FFF for more information and spoke to Vance, who encouraged me to come for some supplies and bring someone with me. The effort was explained fully to me and I have to admit that I was truly blown away with the concept and the massive amount of goods that recipients are not only enjoying for themselves but also for the sharing that is involved.
We were blessed with food to take home and some extras. After unloading I realized that since I am on a Keto diet there are very few items that I could personally use and because of my full understanding of the effort I went to work sharing. In my community there are families that are struggling and I was able to share food with seven people. Later that evening my daughter informed me of one of her friend whose family is struggling. I found myself not only giving some food that I had saved for myself but also took items out of my panty and freezer to send to them.
I have to admit this was the most fulfilling and wonderful time and I truly enjoyed the sharing. I don’t ever recall taking food out of my own pantry to share it was truly a blessing for me to be able to give so freely and I believe this is what Florida Food Force is all about. I can’t wait to be part of this organization regularly join the thousands of recipients who are blessed with receiving and sharing.
I’ve been a recipient of Florida Food Force (FFF) for well over a year. Most of my home cooking contains ingredients/items from FFF. My family has benefited beyond measure and we’ve been able to share with individuals in our community as well. FFF is a 5-star organization in my book!
Thank you Florida Food Force for providing a huge blessing to our family, both immediate and extended, and friends. We never have to think twice about making a large meal to share with family and friends or helping a struggling family with food for the week. We were able to have a family reunion this summer with 90% off the food being from Florida Food Force, including the ice cream my mom served to the kiddos.
I was referred to Florida Food Force by my husbands coworker July of 2019, and have never looked back! It has been an amazing blessing to our family and other families we share with. Prior to starting with FFF we had many times where we were struggling financially and did not always have the funds to go out and just drop a bunch of money on groceries. We were very creative with what we had and did our best to make it work. Since starting not only have we cut out grocery bill way down each month we have also been able to have things that we would not have been able to buy, and that has been a real treat to our family. We are so thankful for all the blessings we receive and are also just as excited to share with others! FFF has been one of the biggest blessings and we are so happy to be able to be part of it!
I am Cathy, which I split with my mom who lives in Mt. Dora. She shares with my brother and his family.
I have a free little pantry in my front yard, which some of the perishable items go. I also have 3 needy families that I help weekly that are extremely grateful. I have even out of my pocket bought feminine products, dog food, diapers and wipes for 1 family that is going through a rough patch right now.
It gives me great joy to help families in my community and to share the blessing that I have been giving. Florida Food Force is a wonderful effort and I am so happy that I was able to get involved almost 1 year ago. This food has also saved my husband and I a good amount of money on groceries. I was spending at least $100.00 a week on our essentials and now I am able to save money, feed my family and others. Times are hard for many and years ago I was struggling myself, but now I am fortunate enough to help others. I have a few thank you notes from this one family, where this mother has 4 children and her fiance has been working part time and they are struggling and to see the gratefulness and appreciation on their faces makes the time, wear and tear on my car worth it.
I'd like to share how we are blessed by FFF and who all we pass these blessings on to but we really don't want any recognition.
Besides my immediate family we share to our great-niece's family (4 members), a single mother next door (5 members), 5 families in a senior apartment building (12 members)and a family (5 members) still trying to get on their feet after moving here just as Covid hit.
We love everything about FFF and the food we receive! Thank you for blessing us all.
Thank you to our donors. I could not BLESS so many families without you and Florida Food Force. We have been able to share with so many different walks of life. We appreciate everything you do for us.
We've been with Florida Food Force for over a year. In the beginning it was a wonderful way to stock our pantry. It helped us catch up on bills and still keep food in the house for our children and for the other three families in our area. It was amazing. Fast forward to now and it has expanded. Florida Food Force has provided us the resources to help more families. We split our food to help multiple families. Another in our area helps multiple families with his food. That is the beauty of Florida Food Force. You are able to share and spread food to more people who may need it. If there is something extra, something you can't use, knock on a door and see if someone is need and can use it.
I learned about the program during the pandemic. I was able to receive some items that was shared by others when I was not a receiving at that time.
I would read and watch and thought what a great idea.
I was able to start receiving a few weeks ago and was able to get my son, his fiancé, and their three children into the same area. We are able to share with our relatives and friends at work.
I recently started preserving some of the food that I would receive as we are in uncertain times. That way if things go back into lockdown I am able to share my stockpile with my friends, family and those in need.
Thank you for this awesome opportunity.
We wanted to take a few moments to say thank you first and foremost. Those are the best words I could think of. When Covid hit Florida and supplies/access to many grocery items became difficult to find. We came across FFF. Not only was FFF exactly what we had been searching for, it was what we needed. I’ve always heard the saying, give and you shall receive. Since joining FFF not only am I able to provide for my family, I am able to provide for 14 other families in my community. Whether it’s a home cooked meal, something to drink, or even an extra apple or carrot for a neighbors horse while we go on our evening walks.
We have 6 families benefiting directly from our weekly pick ups. And we have a total of over 30 individuals if you include the ones we share with from within our area. I alone have been able to provide hot/cold meals to neighbors on a weekly basis due to the abundance of our blessings. Thanks to FFF I have met new neighbors (many whom would’ve never asked for help from a stranger) and would’ve otherwise went without until a relative brings them supplies. Now I can honestly say, those strangers are my friends and never hesitate to ask for a gallon of milk, bottle of juice, or even a bag of potatoes.
So all in all, joining the FFF effort wasn’t just an excellent decision, it’s a life changing choice. So once again, thank you for your time and dedication to those within the community whom are forever grateful.
Hello, I wanted to share my story with FFF and my experience. It started last year around January when I met a woman offering free produce to others in the area. When I went to pick up she told me how it all about sharing. I was very interested as I have a family of nine! So I joined their effort. After a few months it became a lot and I wasn’t having extras so I started to reach out to friends to share, then I had a friend that new many in need. She feeds about 5 families including hers. Then I started to reach out to other people locally that may need help, currently I donate to 2-3 other families weekly. To not only be blessed every week but to share with others that can't afford groceries is wonderful. We are beyond thankful for FFF.
Hello, Florida Food Force has been a great help to our families, friends and neighbors. The food is amazing and there is always enough to share with everyone. Florida Food Force has a super group of people that bring happiness and joy to many people.
My husband and I decided, after giving birth to two healthy sons, that we wanted to adopt a special needs child. It was the early 1980s and we wanted to give special needs children a family to join rather than the institutional living that was the norm. We had worked extensively with special needs adults in group homes so we knew the potential of these children. We believed that, when raised using God’s principles, they could thrive and fit into society as well as any “normal” child. With a loving family and proper upbringing they would be able to show the world that they were created by God and have as much value as anyone else.
Back then we never imagined that we would provide a home for several foster children, and eventually go on to adopt twenty-four children alongside our four birth children.
We made the decision to never ask for help (unless an emergency occurred) but when it was offered we were grateful. We learned to budget well and whenever things looked bad, God always provided. This past year, much to our surprise, a door was opened. We were referred to United Food Force Inc.
On our first pickup we were surprised and thrilled to receive a huge amount of food and household supplies. Our minivan was loaded with frozen foods, diapers, tissues, toilet paper, bleach, snacks, juice, sodas, cakes, beans, rice, etc., etc!!
We received things that we never felt we could afford with our budget, such as yogurt, tissues, easy prep foods, snack bars and even high-end cleaning supplies! For our kids it is like Christmas every week! They wait with excitement to see what new items we will get.
United Food Force has improved our life in so many ways! There are no words to say how much this gift has meant to us. We are so grateful and thank them so very, very much.
Dear United Food Force,
I am so thankful I was a member of United Food Force as a food source for my family. Last year when my best friend Stephanie Dozier, was diagnosed with breast cancer at the young age of 33 and a wife and mother of three was struggling with sickness from chemo and radiation, she could hardly care for her children much less preparing the daily meals. Stephanie had both breasts removed in the spring of 2014.
What better way to help her than to share my groceries and help her when needed from sharing my food from United Food Force with her and her family.
I sometimes took her to chemo and radiation treatments and helped out when I could. Thanks to the United Food Force I was able to help two families, my own and Stephanie’s.
We are both fighters and survivors, as I have severe Crohn’s disease and stay sick most days and Stephanie, well I am glad to report is “Cancer Free”!!!
Thank you again for allowing me through the United Food Force to make a difference in the life of another Family!
Thank you for what you do!!
Michelle Lee Austin
As I sit here and think about what hope and compassion mean to me I can't help but to be completely overwhelmed with a feeling of awe. A feeling so strong it consumes my heart. A feeling so strong it has left me completely speechless. See I'm someone who has known sorrow of feeling like I'd failed as a parent. Someone who has known worry of do they understand? Someone who has known fear of how will I provide? Someone who has known struggle of not be able to make the ends meet. I'm someone who's experienced what is is like being in the valley of lows. I'm someone who has found herself on my knees, face down pleading with the Lord to show me His will and reason and lift me back to my feet again. Praying to him to within His timing make my darkness bright and promising to fully trust that no struggle or worry I could ever have would be bigger than Him.
It was at my lowest where I finally found my refuge. For His promises remained true. Out of the valley He brought me up and out of my darkness He lead me to a path where along the way I'd meet some of the most amazing people He'd ever created. It was then I found the hope I had lost. My fears were calmed and my worry was no more. My path began with getting the chance to meet one of the most precious women on this earth. Our friendship began in a parking lot where the Lord destined us to meet. There I was able to briefly share my story with her and through my tears she listened and showed me compassion like I'd never been shown before. She saw past all of my darkness and struggle and yet still chose to embrace me and pray the most powerful prayer over me, A prayer of hope and encouragement. A prayer that was just what I needed to remind me that no matter how low I was and how far I had fallen the Lord would always be there to pick me up and that I was His beautiful child who He loved no matter what. I left from meeting her with a new found hope and a new sureness that things would get better for me and my family. It was then that I finally realized the only way for me to go was up and that's just what I did!
Through lots of prayer and loads of trust I laid everything at the Lords feet. I gave Him every last worry and ounce of sorrow. The next few weeks He proved once again He was mighty and right on time. Things started to change for my family. I had decided to reach out again to my new precious friend that I had recently met and without hesitation she was there arms wide open, heart receptive and ready to pour every ounce of love and compassion into my call for help. Through her quick response to my plea I quickly was put in touch with another precious woman whose heart was also open and ready to serve. Again I was shown that very same compassion and love by a total stranger. Neither of us had ever officially met and had only spoke through text, yet she to showed compassion and love to me by sharing with my family food she had gathered from hers. I was again left speechless and through tears I thanked her over and over. That night she encouraged me by letting me know she had once been right where I was and to hold my head up, things would get better.
As the next few weeks passed things continued to become more hopeful for us. Through the hands of God and my new friends I just met, my journey lead me to an amazing place, a place where compassion was seen in the eyes and felt through the smiles of the people there. They give so graciously and they’re awesome people who worked there as volunteers serving countless others in need and who don't get paid, NOT because they are worthless volunteers BUT because THEY ARE PRICELESS! They are volunteers who were special people. People who even through the busiest of times never failed to make each and every person served there felt like they were loved. This place is a happy place, where hunger is washed away and judgments are not made and hope is given. A place nestled away behind a few other buildings in its own great building space that's held together with pure love. This place is a truly incredible food bank called United Food Force. United Food Force food bank IS hope. Hope for the many people who go there. It's compassion. It's where a person can go seeking help and leave feeling inspired and where everyone's story matters and where everyone is someone. I'm someone who found my hope United Food Force food bank. My life has been impacted by the pure kindness that's found there. Through the heartwarming smiles and the genuine joy of giving my family and I have been greatly blessed by being a part of this food bank. I can humbly say that my life has indeed been impacted by them. The sweet people, total strangers, hard-working volunteers and United Food Force food bank will always hold a special place in my heart. For without them the meaning of hope and compassion wouldn't be as clear.
This is my story. This is my truth on what it's like to be so greatly impacted by awesome strangers who are my friends. What it’s like to be so greatly impacted by an amazing organization like United Food Force. I'll always hold a special place in my heart for everyone I met along the way and especially for United Food Force.
The fact that my household went from not having enough to put on the table to having over abundance is such a blessing from United Food Force! With my abundance of goodies seeing as the group is made up of only me and my mother I have been able to donate to the school candies cookies and cakes!!! And have been able to feed my children without worrying about where the next meal was going to come from. Seeing as it's only me and my mother in our food bank group you can imagine we have a lot of bread! After stocking my grandmother each week on all the goodies that we get constantly I still have so much left over including bread! Lots and lots of bread to bless people with. A good friend of mine brought an idea to my attention. There are so many homeless people in various counties surrounding us in the bigger counties surrounding us there are so many more they have to brave this cold that we have the luxury of having heat in and have to sleep in it which breaks my heart. We came up with an idea all of the bread that we get we can put in the freezer we can make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, all the rice and beans we get we can make rice and beans to distribute that are already cooked she's already gotten the containers with lids. And making homemade knapsacks that are sewn together with hygienic products. There are so many people surrounding us that have no hope because of what they have been dealt. So if I can take my blessings of being able to feed my children I can take my blessings and feed extra people that may have lost hope in a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a bowl of hot beans could do so much for one person. Our plan is to do this once or twice or more a month. We have been in contact with the right authorities to get the okay and they have said it's a great idea I'm super excited to see how this comes out! I have always said if I was rich I wouldn't really be rich because I would try to help every man woman and child that needed help due to poverty and homelessness i know we can't change it all but we can sure try the smallest ripple makes the biggest effect!!! Thanks United Food Force.
“We all try to help those we know are in need: the homeless, the widowed, the orphaned. Sometimes the hungry are sitting right there in plain sight...yet they do not complain, they do not cry, convince you everything is perfect.” This happened to me. I was "forcing" my leftovers on my very best friend when I first started with United Food Force. I begged her, loaded her car when she wasn’t looking and handed her the last box when she was about to leave. Between United Food Force and coupons she was stocked for a good long while and I felt like I had cleaned out my house. She sat down on the dining room chair and just cried. She had been struggling for months to feed her daughter. Making excuses for not eating each night. She had applied for help but made $1.21 too much to qualify. She was truly not doing well. I had noticed her cupboards were bare but she had excused them for lack of time to go shopping. I asked if she had lost weight but she said she was running her stairs 20 times each night. She was just too embarrassed. You never would have known it. She was there for anyone that asked. She had it all together. She kept a smile on her face. She had even made a macaroni dish for a sick friend and I only found out that day that she had used the last of her noodles, milk and cheese for the month to do so. She claims I helped her that day. I was really the one that was helped. You have to look deeper than the surface. Struggle sometimes comes in the sweetest packages that we can't tell by looking. Now that I work closely with a local school I am realizing there are many kids that go home hungry every day. You wouldn’t believe how many people in my small town who really could not even afford an extra gallon of milk each month. I can’t tell you how many times I have had a new kid come home with my kids and ask for a snack. When they open my double pantry and see all the extras we have their eyes shine. Those kids hold a special place in my heart....and they take whatever they want and I send them home with more. Thank you United Food Force!