Naples, FL – January 24, 2017

The Pan-Florida Challenge (PFC) has raised $1.1 million over the past year to provide 2.5 million meals for hungry children across Florida. The money will feed 2,500 hungry children in 36 local schools and aftercare sites, across eight Florida counties through the proprietary PFC Power PackTM weekend meals program.

Proud partners with the Hendry County Public School District, The Hendry County Tourism Development Council, The United Way of Lee, Hendry, Okeechobee & Glades, Operation Back Pack in Labelle, and The United Methodist Church in Clewiston all together we are feeding over 400 children every weekend, in 7 Schools in Hendry County. This is up from 285 children last year, with our 2016-2017 school year projected to end with 190,000 meals delivered.

Started two years ago as a180-mile two-day cycling event crossing Florida to feed local kids going hungry, the Naples, Florida-based Pan-Florida Challenge now feeds children in eight counties, from Naples to Palm Beach. Building on its remarkable success, PFC leverages rider-raised donations with grants from foundations, corporate sponsors, and benefactors to achieve its mission of ending childhood hunger across Florida one meal at a time.  In 2016, PFC riders’ personal commitment of fundraising to feed hungry kids – combined with their physical stamina – inspired by hundreds of local volunteers and business sponsors from Labelle and Clewiston. Each PFC Rider raised $2,834 on average generating over 1,600 donations. 100% of the money riders raised goes directly to feeding hungry children.

“Our goal with last year’s ride to provide one million meals has been exceeded by more than double with the funding raised by the Pan-Florida Challenge this year enabling us to provide 2.5 million meals,” PFC founder Ed Mullen joyfully said in thanking everyone who participated. “Mission accomplished.”

PFC has issued an open call for the 2017 Pan-Florida Challenge for Hungry Kids. This year’s ride is March 11-12, 2017. The Labelle Water Stop and Party will be held at the Harold P. Curtis Honey House, in front of the mural at 335 Bridge St, LaBelle, FL 33935 from 10:30AM to 2:00PM. The Volunteer Captain this year for the stop is Lily Hart, the Treasurer of the GFWC LaBelle Community Woman’s Club and PFC Power Pack Manager for Hendry County. To volunteer or donate for goody bags, please contact Lilly at 239-220-0102 or lillynhart@gmail.com. Also, Renee Pratt, owner of the Honey House can be reached at (863) 675-2187. All are welcome!

Due to the growth in the number of participants, we have an exciting new route this year. The route spans 180 miles from Naples to Lake Placid, and on to Fort Pierce on day two. The bike ride remains the heart of PFC. Funds raised by riders will feed hungry children across the ride route and beyond.

Riders and volunteers are welcome. Spots are limited. Register at www.panfloridachallenge.org. Contact Maura Plante at 561-400-2712 for participation as rider, volunteer, donor or sponsor.

About the Pan-Florida Challenge

Naples, Florida based Pan-Florida Challenge (PFC) is​ a ​charity on a ​mission to end hunger in local children​, one meal at a time. PFC has raised $1.1 million over the past year to provide 2.5 million meals for hungry children through grants, sponsorship, benefactors, and an annual bike ride event. The funding raised will feed 2,500 elementary school children at 36 schools and aftercare sites all school year long in eight Florida counties: Palm Beach, Collier, Lee, Hendry, Glades, Highlands, Okeechobee and St. Lucie. Our proprietary PFC Power PackTM with 13 meals of child-friendly and nutritious food items exceeds the USDA recommendations for calories, carbohydrates, and protein for elementary school children over the weekend. The PFC’s fundraising activities includes the 2017 Pan-Florida Challenge for Hungry Kids. The 2017 PFC is a two-day, 180-mile bicycle ride crossing Florida from Naples to Fort Pierce on March 11-12, 2017. 100% of rider-raised donations go to feed hungry kids. 

Pan-Florida Challenge Sponsors

PFC has benefitted significantly from the generous support of sponsors across the Naples and Palm Beach business and rider communities, as well as national corporations rallying behind feeding hungry kids, including: Founding Sponsor Beacon Real Estate Partners, MHK Architecture and Planning, Waterside Builders Inc, GuidePoint Systems, Walmart, Clive Daniels, Roland Martin Fishing Resort and Marina, Marshalls, Soldavini & Caldwell CPA PA, Andersen Windows, WAVV 101.1FM, Florida Wood, Window and Door, Inc., Booska Movers, Capital Wealth Advisors, Farmer & Associates PLLC Attorneys at Law, Baconfest, North Naples Kiwanis, Hendry County Tourist Development Council, Kelly, Passidomo & Alba, LLP, Legno Bastone, Domino’s,  Exari, Talis Park, Trek Bicycle Store, XRCEL, FineMark National Bank & Trust, Cheffy  Passidomo Attorneys at Law, Bill Bone Bike Law, Naples Velo, SkyLink, CityPlace, LaBelle Downtown Revitalization Corporation, Elévée Fine Clothing, Moe’s Southwest Grill, Tide Dry Cleaners, Race Doctor Pro Cycling Service, Banyan Printing, Harold P. Curtis Honey Company and LA Fitness.

ADDENDUM

The Hendry County Tourist Development Council (TDC) was a sponsor of the Pan-Florida Challenge Bike Ride. “We enjoyed the opportunity to partner with the Pan-Florida Challenge to expose Hendry County to the riders but more so to be able to make a positive impact locally on the youth in our area,” said Electa Waddell, TDC Director. “We are looking forward to this continued partnership and to be able to feed even more at risk youth in the future.”

“The United Way network of early childhood learning agencies works hard to provide quality nutritious meals every day of the school week for students. In the past, weekends have obviously been a challenge since the programs are not open. Now with the PFC Power Pack Program we can feed hungry kids right in their homes all weekend long, when they are away from school. Now they can come back on Mondays ready to learn”- Cliff Smith, President of the United Way of Lee, Hendry, Glades, and Okeechobee Counties.

Walmart, the world’s largest food retailer shares the same ethos motivating the work of the Pan-Florida Challenge and Meals of Hope.  All envision a day, when no child has to wonder where his or her next meal will come from. The Walmart Foundation’s State Giving Program funds the PFC Power Pack program in Labelle as part of a grant of $35,000. Locally, Naples Walmart Manager, Larry Graham, has been personally engaged in the fight against hunger and was instrumental in securing one of the 180 refrigerated trailers the Walmart Foundation has donated to come to South West Florida to deliver fresh, nutritious products safely to those local families  in need.

About Hendry County Public School District and Childhood Hunger

The sad fact is 1 in 4 children in Hendry do not. 28% of all Hendry’s kids are food insecure. Over 2,970 children are food insecure and do not know where their next meal is coming from*.

Hendry County – Childhood population that is food insecure: 28  percent

  • Children that go to bed hungry: 2,970
  • 87% percent of the food insecure children do not qualify based on income for SNAP
  • Residents that are food insecure: 5,580 people
  • Population that is food insecure: 15 percent

PFC Ride Photos: Press >> Folder of 50 Photos on this link

*http://map.feedingamerica.org/county/2014/child/florida/county/Hendry