The SOS Foundation food pantry provides food to thousands of Keys residents every week, storing hundreds of pallets of nonperishable items in a Rockland Key warehouse.

“There are bulk food donations available from a variety of sources, but as we learned after Hurricane Irma and now during the pandemic, half the battle is finding a place to store the food,” SOS executive director Tom Callahan said last week when Performance Food Group loaned the food pantry a refrigerator/freezer trailer to supplement their storage needs and installed it just outside the Rockland Key warehouse that SOS Foundation is in the process of buying. “Due to trade mitigation and subsidy programs, there’s a great deal of U.S. Department of Agriculture products flowing through the system and available for free  — if you have a place to store it,” Callahan said.

 The dry-storage warehouse space, and the no-cost trailer loan from Performance Food Group, allows SOS to obtain — and store — those bulk food donations whenever they’re available, including refrigerated and frozen items, Callahan said, pointing to floor-to-ceiling stacks of pallets filled with canned tuna fish, chicken, pork, fruits and vegetables.

“Danny Hughes, who owns Two Friends Patio Restaurant, is on our SOS board and Two Friends is one of PFG’s best customers in South Florida,” he said. “Danny worked with Jesse Jacobs at PFG to arrange this loan of a refrigerator/freezer trailer. Jesse and PFG even made sure it was installed and serviced the trailer so all SOS has to do is add diesel when needed,” Callahan said.

Mandy Miles drops stuff, breaks things and falls down more than any adult should. An award-winning writer, reporter and columnist, she's been stringing words together in Key West since 1998. "Local news is crucial," she says. "It informs and connects a community. It prompts conversation. It gets people involved, holds people accountable. The Keys Weekly takes its responsibility seriously. Our owners are raising families in Key West & Marathon. Our writers live in the communities we cover - Key West, Marathon & the Upper Keys. We respect our readers. We question our leaders. We believe in the Florida Keys community. And we like to have a good time." Mandy's married to a saintly — and handy — fishing captain, and can't imagine living anywhere else.