VERO BEACH — Serving families below the poverty level along the Treasure Coast, the Harvest Food and Outreach Center has seen its need grow over the past six years. And to meet that need, the organization has opened two new offices, one in Vero Beach, where it will offer tours to the public Oct. 6.
The new Vero Beach office, located at 1360 28th St., will not completely replace the older office on Old Dixie Highway, although the new office will offer more services, such as Access Florida accommodations that allow people to sign up for food stamps and other services.
Since 2003, Harvest Food and Outreach Center has offered food, Medicaid, career counseling and other aid to those at 200 percent of the poverty level or below, staffed by a small army of volunteers working up to 40 hours a week.
Dona Olinger, director of volunteer services at the Ft. Pierce office, manages a crew of 50-60 volunteers who last month logged more than 3,300 hours.
“A lot of people don’t have work and don’t want to sit around all day,” Olinger said. “We’re hoping to create a national model. It’s a fabulous organization.”
Perhaps the most crucial component, the food pantry, allows people to purchase low-cost food. For every $10 spent, a customer is given a free loaf of bread. With $20, customers can add to that a dozen eggs.