Fighting Hunger and Feeding Hope, Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida Receives Donation From DeVos Family

by Josh Cohen

ORLANDO - The first week at a new job, especially as a president and CEO, is spent getting a lay of the land, meeting the staff, and learning the ropes.

A $300,000 grant being donated to the organization isn’t something one would expect to hear right out of the gate. But it was for Derrick Chubbs, the new president and CEO of Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida.

On his very first day, which was Jan. 3, 2022, he was told that the DeVos family, as part of their 30 Grants for 30 Years Initiative, would be providing that amount to his organization.

“What better way to start a job or new role than to realize that you have this level of commitment within the community, (from the DeVos) family, and (from) a professional sports team (Orlando Magic),” Chubbs said. “It was really exciting. With this being day two, I’ve been bragging about it all day.”

In the food bank’s lobby, there’s an electronic ticker that displays the number of meals they have provided since inception in 1983. At 1 p.m. on Jan. 4, 2022, the total was approaching 661 million. On average since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, 250,000 meals have been distributed every day.

The DeVos family’s generosity will go a long way in helping collect, store, and distribute more donated food to over 550 feeding partners across six Central Florida counties. Last year, with the help of numerous donors, volunteers and a caring, committed community, the food bank distributed enough food for 73 million meals to partner programs such as food pantries, soup kitchens, women’s shelters, senior centers, day care centers and kids cafes.

“It’s always wonderful when an organization of any type recognizes the needs in their community, and we know that the need is certainly vast here in Central Florida,” said Chubbs, who previously spent five years in the same role at Central Texas Food Bank in Austin. “We could not be happier, more thankful to be a recipient, and be able to celebrate the 30 years with the Magic.”

The food bank relies on volunteers to keep their operation running smoothly. About two dozen of them were there on Tuesday afternoon in the warehouse, where they sorted produce and did some meal packing. More than 39,000 people volunteered in 2020 whose hours totaled 111,420.

Magic coaches, players and staff have been among the many food bank volunteers over the years who have participated in the wide range of programs offered, including Hi-Five Kids Food Packs, Disaster Relief, Mobile Pantry and the Summer Feeding Program.

“It’s heartwarming to know that we have volunteers here in Central Florida that are that committed to a mission and that committed to strengthening our community,” Chubbs said. “At the end of the day we simply could not do this, and if we even look at it from a business perspective, we couldn’t afford to do what we do without the support of our volunteers.”

A total of $3 million will be donated to 30 area nonprofit organizations as part of the DeVos family’s 30 Grants for 30 Years Initiative, which aims to invest in people and projects impacting youth, essential needs for families, and community enrichment across Central Florida.

The late Rich DeVos, who bought the Magic in 1991, always called himself a chief cheerleader, emanating from the compassion he had for others. That mantra is now shared by his entire family, who now continue his legacy with the same philanthropic mindset.

“That was my father. When we first got involved with the team and was able to acquire the franchise, that’s the one thing he said: ‘Don’t call us owners. We’re not owners. We’re caretakers,” Magic Chairman Dan DeVos explained. “Real stakeholders are the community of Central Florida and the fans.”

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