Author Archives: Jody Mask

About Jody Mask

I am a native Floridian who loves his state, despite the crazy things that happen there. I am an advocate of Natural Florida--I love to hike and otherwise get outdoors to experience the wonders of nature here. I also am a seminary student preparing for pastoral ministry in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). And I love local businesses and culture--especially Orlando's thriving food truck scene.

Blogging for Good: Second Harvest Food Bank

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Second Harvest isn’t simply a canned food distributor. They have cold storage areas for fresh fruits and vegetables too.

I am excited to experience the Central Florida Blogger and Social Media Conference (CFLBlogCon) tomorrow. Since I am a new blogger, I am gravitating more towards the social media aspects of the conference, but I am still eager to learn as much as I can from experts in the blogging world.

I have the opportunity to develop my blogging skills by contributing a post in the Blogging for Good series that the conference’s organizers encouraged all attendees to write. The posts focus on one of six area nonprofits that CFLBlogCon is supporting this year.

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Wawa thanked Central Florida for all the love they showed upon their entry into the local market with this newspaper insert.

As I had visited Second Harvest Food Bank this summer, it seemed like a natural place to blog about. Coincidentally, there was a wrap around the front page of the newspaper last month from the folks at Wawa (my second post was all about the hype surrounding Wawa’s entry into Orlando) and this post from Wawa followed a few days later; both the paper and the post mention the donation of more that $35,000 that the Pennsylvania-based gas and convenience store chain brought to Second Harvest.

During my visit on one of their “Food for Thought” tours, we watched a brief video that talked about the faces of hunger in Central Florida. And the faces they showed in that video were people I knew! While part of me was not surprised to see that particular family in the video (I knew they depended on food aid), it was still quite a shock to see their story and to know that others were seeing their story as well. Without the aid provided by Second Harvest, they and many other families would go hungry.

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Second Harvest uses every inch of space as effectively as possible in their current facility.

Afterward, our host, Development Manager Sasha Hausman, led us on tour of the warehouse, which is currently far too small for their needs. Second Harvest has begun building a new facility, the Morgan & Morgan, P.A. Hunger Relief Center, that will help them provide meals to many more than the 732,000 people they were limited in serving last year. The irony of its location on Mercy Drive is not lost on an organization that deals in mercy daily! (See a webcam view of the progress in construction here!)

I want to thank Sasha and the folks at Second Harvest for doing their best to open the eyes of the public to the depth of food needs in Central Florida. Hunger is a 24/7 problem in our area, and the need has only increased in the last few years as the economy soured and struggles to revive.

How can you help? There are too many ways to mention!Image

If your ambition isn’t quite that high, you can still help when you dine out:

Also, since September is Hunger Action Month, you can check this calendar for other ideas how to do your part to fight hunger in Central Florida. Like the familiar faces I saw in that video, the people we are helping are your friends and neighbors. Spread the word and feed the need!

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Wa-Wha?

So the new Wawas are opening in Florida, starting with the Orlando location on Central Florida Parkway across from Sea World. There has been a lot of buzz about Wawa moving into Florida, and some folks are wondering what all the fuss is about. (For example, here’s a recent post from noted local blog Central Florida Top 5.)

With the buzz, especially on the media preview day, when Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer was doing his best to craft a hoagie, a Certain Local Popular Food Truck was blowing up my Twitter feed today with semi-rants about Wa x2 since it is an out-of-state chain and not a local independent purveyor of fresh food and the like.

I truly get what Chef T was saying, but Wawa is not quite as evil as you might think. In fact, as a goodwill gesture as they move into the neighborhood, they have pledged a portion of sales of their famous hoagies (a type of sub sandwich, for you Floridians!) from their first five stores to Second Harvest Food Bank.

Here’s proof for the excitement surrounding the Pennsylvania chain’s debut: as I write this, at 10:52 pm the night before the official opening, a Foursquare friend just checked in at Wawa and left a tip.

Happy Hoagie-ing, Wawa, and welcome to Central Florida. Now impress us more by sourcing your food locally as much as you can!

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Howdy Folks!

If any of you are Disney-philes, you may look at this post title and think of the automated spiel you hear when you sit down for a ride in Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. The hearty prospector-like voice that reminds you to “keep your hands and arms inside the train, and remain seated at all times” goes on to warn you to “hold on to your personal belongings now–especially them hats and glasses–cuz this here’s the wildest ride in the wilderness!”

Well, as tame as that ride is to the average roller coaster aficionado, the last part of that spiel seems exaggerated, to say the least. I hope to avoid such extremes here, as I ramble about preparation for pastoral ministry, or things that I enjoy in my leisure time, like hiking and foodtrucks. I will post on whatever strikes my fancy, of course, and whatever a free blog will allow!

More than anything, I am interested in building and sustaining a sense of community, as I really enjoy life in Central Florida. Now if that ends up being a “wild ride,” so be it! But I think as blogs go, this will be more like Big Thunder Mountain–not as wild as you might think.

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