WEST PALM BEACH, FL (WFLX) - According to a new study released by the USDA, 49 million Americans, including 17 million children, are now food insecure. That's .
One program, called the "SHARE Florida Food Network", can help all of us buy more food with less money. "It's a food cooperative buying program, so it's a way for average individuals to pool their money together and buy in bulk," said a spokesperson.
The program is simple: You pay about $18 one month and get, at least, $40 worth of high quality food the next month purchased in large quantities from farmers and Florida companies.
For November that included almost three pounds of chicken, ham, sausage, imitation crab and plenty of fruits and vegetables. There are also holiday meal deals. "For Thanksgiving, probably at least $30 I'm saving, and during Christmas, I'll do the same thing," said one participant.
Another added, "It's unbelievable. It's true, and they do have quite a substantial amount of everything."
The only catch is you have to go through an agency to get your order. After volunteers pick up the bulk food at the warehouse, they take it to churches and pantries, separate it into bags, and then give those out to families in the program.
Most people in the program say they now save an average of 50-percent on their monthly grocery bills. Volunteers tells us it's a big reason why this year they're serving more families than ever before. "We're seeing folks for the first time that are having to ask for assistance, folks that tell us last year they were donating food to pantries and soup kitchens."
When it comes to this program, the only qualification is you just have to like to eat. There are 28 agencies in Palm Beach County that participate in the Share Florida Food Network and six on the Treasure Coast.