Feeding Northeast Florida (FNEFL) announced a merger with Bread of the Mighty on Monday.
For over 35 years, Gainesville-based food bank Bread of the Mighty has served five counties in North Central Florida, and it will now become part of a larger network.
The merger was completed on May 1 as part of a nine-county realignment project, led by Feeding America. The evaluation process began in early 2022, with the goal of strategically realigning resources and support services across North and Central Florida, enhancing the work that Bread of the Mighty has done for more than three decades, according to a press release.
FNEFL brings 325+ agency partners to the merger, which will combine with Bread of the Mighty’s 170+ partners.
The food banks hope that merging more counties into FNEFL’s operation will improve the use of existing storage and transportation assets, streamline logistics, distributions and partnerships with other organizations and pantries Bread of the Mighty already serves.
As part of the merger, FNEFL has assumed operational oversight for three counties formerly served by Bread of the Mighty, including Alachua, Gilchrist and Levy Counties. FNEFL will also assume responsibility for Union County, which was previously served by Florida Gateway Food Bank. With these four counties added to its service area, FNEFL will cover 12 counties across North Florida.
Other counties formerly served by Bread of the Mighty will be managed by Second Harvest of the Big Bend. An independent food bank under the Bread of the Mighty name will continue operations in Gainesville, now as a branch of Feeding Northeast Florida.
“Since Feeding Northeast Florida’s formation in 2014, our mission has been to alleviate hunger and build stronger, more resilient communities,” Susan King, President & CEO of Feeding Northeast Florida, said in a statement. “With this merger, together, we will reach more individuals and families in need, strengthen our distribution network and advocate for lasting solutions to address the root causes of hunger.”
Across FNEFL’s 12-county service area, more than 265,000 people, suffer from some level of food insecurity, according to the Monday press release. That number covers one in nine adults and one in seven children.