The SOS Foundation
Our goal at the Star of the Sea Foundation (SOS) is simple: increase the health and well-being of low-income individuals and families in Monroe County, Florida. The Star of the Sea Outreach Mission (SOS) was founded in 2006 as a client-choice food pantry that aims to enhance the health of our community by providing fresh produce and nutritious foods to the working-poor in Monroe County, Florida. Having operated a 365-day per year soup kitchen in Key West for over 39 years, we became acutely aware of the epidemic of hunger in our community. We responded to this problem with a food pantry that has since grown to be one of the largest in all of South Florida. In the early days of operation, we distributed pre-selected bags of canned and packaged items, although we quickly realized this system was not sensitive to individual’s cultural or dietary needs. SOS now operates a client-choice food pantry, and much like at a traditional grocery store, clients are allowed to select foods their families need. This in turn leads to not only more satisfied customers but also a reduction in food waste.
As one of the largest pantries in South Florida, SOS currently distributes fresh produce, meats, dairy products, breads, and canned goods to over 9,000 unduplicated individuals each year as well as 35 different agencies that serve children, veterans, seniors, and the homeless. Utilizing primarily volunteer support, SOS distributes 1,500,000 pounds of food annually to these underserved populations. As nutrition and healthy eating are both key focuses of our organization, more than 50% of the food we distribute is fresh produce. And recently SOS has expanded its efforts with helping the community through the community kitchen and nutrition education programs.
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The SOS Foundation is a 501 (c)(3) tax exempt organization. Donations and contributions are tax-deductible as allowed by law.