One of Vacation Donation’s inspirations was A Second Helping, a nonprofit in coastal North Carolina. There are now three different groups – in Sunset Beach, Ocean Isle Beach and Holden Beach. The first started in Holden Beach in 2005!
These food-focused groups have collection points to take unopened nonperishables and perishables. They rely heavily on volunteers to collect the food at the time it’s donated.
Along with an awesome corps of volunteers, a few things make these programs unique. One is that many of the rentals here are old-school, running weekly and on a Saturday-to-Saturday schedule. This is no longer the case in many resort communities and certainly not in Indian Rocks Beach. Also, they operate seasonally, basically Memorial Day until September, whereas Florida tourism is now year-round. Luckily for them, there is basically one road leading off the beach to the mainland. So volunteers staff a weekend morning drop-off outpost right at the bridge out of town, making it super easy for vacationers to stop and donate on their way home. The volunteers then immediately distribute the food to area nonprofits, meaning perishables are possible.
The Sunset Beach group alone averaged over 1,000 pounds of food for each of the 14 weeks they were in operation a few summers ago. Isn’t that awesome?! COVID disrupted the flow, but they’re back in action.
Vacation Donations, on the other hand, asks vacationers and property managers/owners to do their own donating, and only nonperishables are accepted.
Despite our differences in geography and tourism, these groups inspired me because they identified a problem – food waste and people who can use that food —and came up with a solution. Vacation Donations is trying to do the same thing.
I want to especially thank Bert and Vicki Barman, two of the major Sunset Beach organizers, for their time and assistance in sharing information and ideas.
Bert told me, “People really want to help; they just need an opportunity.”
Agreed! That’s what Vacation Donations is aiming to give them!