Space Coast Credit Union (SCCU) is pleased to announce the winner of its “Small Business. Big Love. Contest" and the grand prize of $5,000. Hummingbird Pantry, a non-profit organization and SCCU member since 2017, won the contest with more than 11% of the votes cast. SCCU held a check presentation at Hummingbird Pantry’s distribution center on Friday, August 13. Afterward, volunteers bagged thousands of pounds of produce for distribution to families in need.
“SCCU has supported us since day one, and we’re honored to have had this opportunity,” stated Gina Stanford, Hummingbird Pantry founder. “We’re here to serve the entire Brevard County area with nutritional food, and this prize will help us cover the overhead and equipment maintenance costs to continue meeting the increase in demand.”
Gina’s passion project began in 2012. While volunteering at Riverview-VPK, Gina was heartbroken to see starving children return to school from Thanksgiving break. Because they depended on the school for their meals, days off meant no food. With a mission to end hunger and the help of some friends, Gina started serving 45 families that year. Nine years later, and with the help of many volunteers and donations, Gina’s small operation grew into what is now Hummingbird Pantry — serving up to 6,000 families with 180,000 pounds of food weekly.
Various programs donate 80 percent of the food, but the pantry faces a 20 percent gap to fully operate. “This prize money will help kick in the difference and keep our head above ground,” Gina added.
SCCU launched the “Small Business. Big Love. Contest” in May to celebrate Small Business Month. The contest allowed businesses with fewer than 50 employees to enter (regardless of credit union membership) and provided marketing materials to help spread the word and encourage their customers and supporters to vote for them.
Out of the 596 participating businesses, Hummingbird Pantry received the highest number of votes with 310 out of the 2,656 total.
“The contest was a great way for small businesses to expand their reach, but we loved that a non-profit won, especially one that does so much good for the community,” said Ernest Chevrette, SCCU’s Business Services Advisor for Hummingbird Pantry. The Business Services team at SCCU provides expert advice and consultations as a free service to their business members and anyone looking to start a small business.
As the community’s need for food continued to grow, so did Hummingbird Pantry’s need for a new site. The pantry moved its distribution site in 2018 to the kitchen and community rooms of the former Riverview Elementary School. The non-profit has outgrown the 7,300 sq. ft. facility and has been raising funds for a new building to accommodate more food and parking.
Hummingbird Pantry, Inc. is the largest food pantry in North Brevard County and the second largest in Central Florida and strives to end food insecurity. The non-profit also runs as the only emergency food distribution site in North Brevard, providing families with some relief to weather hurricanes, government shutdowns, and the pandemic.
Anyone needing food or interested in volunteering is welcome to join the Hummingbird family by following the Hummingbird Pantry Distribution Time Facebook page. The pantry also encourages the community to pick up extra bags for their neighbors in need. Donations of any amount will help make a difference and are accepted via PayPal at hummingbirdpantry.org