Monday lunch report

Escambia County had just two new COVID-19 cases reported this morning.  DOH Escambia entered 410 more test results – only half of one percent were positive,

5/3/20 5/4/20
11 a.m. 11 a.m. Increase
Total Cases 36078 36897 819 2.27%
Florida Residents 35158 35969 811 2.31%
Non-Fla. 920 928 8 0.87%
Deaths 1379 1399 20 1.45%
Escambia 593 595 2 0.34%
Okaloosa 160 160 0 0.00%
Santa Rosa 157 158 1 0.64%

Haas Center releases survey results on statewide economic impact of COVID-19
Pensacola, Fla. – May 4, 2020 An economic impacts study by the Haas Center at the University of West Florida reveals an overwhelming percentage of Florida residents have postponed travel plans and reduced spending during the COVID-19 global pandemic. The UWF Haas Center conducted the survey to understand the types of travel and spending changes Florida residents have experienced since the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The survey was made accessible online in English and Spanish from March 16 through April 6 and responses from more than 3,000 Florida residents factored into the results.

“Originally, on March 10, we were planning on surveying local spring breakers on Pensacola Beach, thinking that many might be staying close to home as travel bans began across the U.S.,” said Nicole Gislason, interim assistant vice president at the UWF Haas Center. “But, when the UWF campus switched to remote instruction, remote research and administration, we knew we needed to upscale the survey by increasing the geographic scope.”

The results of this survey reveal three points:

  • 61% of Floridians have cancelled or postponed travel plans, and more than half of that group had more than one trip which was impacted.
  • 24% had already experienced some loss in wages due to the coronavirus, while another 18% expected income loss to be imminent at the time they completed the survey.
  • 90% of Floridians reported reduced spending across many different industry sectors, including restaurant, entertainment and retail shopping.

“These results provide important insight into the real-time economic impacts occurring across the state of Florida as everyone deals with the coronavirus pandemic,” said Amy Newburn, director of market research for the UWF Haas Center. “They provide stakeholders with an estimate of losses to taxable sales across parts of the economy, as well as insight into what types of workers are struggling with lost wages and hours.”

For more information about the UWF Haas Center and for access to the economic impacts study, visit

Feeding the Gulf Coast’s Child Nutrition Team Serves Over 100,000 Meals Since School Closed

May 4, 2020 – When schools closed early in March, kids in need would have missed much-needed meals along the Central Gulf Coast. However, Feeding the Gulf Coast quickly sprang into action to organize and start their Summer Meals Program, a process that typically takes several months. With only three days to plan this year, Feeding the Gulf Coast started the program on March 19 so that kids in need in our area had a place to receive a healthy meal. To date, their child nutrition team has served over 100,000 meals in response to schools closing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Each summer we operate the Summer Meals Program,” said Eugenie Sellier, Child Nutrition Programs Director at Feeding the Gulf Coast. The program typically kicks off at the end of May, but with schools closing early, we knew that we needed to quickly set up the program to ensure that children in need had access to meals. We are partnering with over 60 sites to provide 5,000 meals on a daily basis.”

This program will continue throughout the summer. Last year, the food bank served over 13,000 children through the Summer Meals Program.

Site partners have stated that the program has been a blessing for kids who might not receive meals without the program. “When the program began in March, we were excited to see how we might make an impact in our community by providing the drive-thru meals for hungry children,” said Bellview Assembly of God volunteer, Dianne Roark. “What a delightful surprise! Parents and grandparents drive through with grins, while the children in the back seat may be bouncing with joy to receive the snacks and lunches! I am touched by the sincere thank you’s from both the adults, and the little ones as they drive by to go home to eat the [meals provided through Feeding the Gulf Coast]. Thank you for letting us play a part in this much-needed intervention!”

Feeding the Gulf Coast received a grant to help support the program from No Kid Hungry, a national campaign run by Share Our Strength, a nonprofit working to solve problems of hunger and poverty in the United States and around the world. According to their studies, 43% of low-income families say they have a harder time making ends meet during the summer. “With jobs and wages lost and school meals disappearing for millions of kids, families are shouldering much of the burden during the coronavirus pandemic. No Kid Hungry is proud to partner with Feeding the Gulf Coast to ensure kids can continue to get the nutrition they need during this ongoing crisis,” said Eleni Towns, Associate Director of No Kid Hungry.
No Kid Hungry runs a texting service to help parents and caregivers find free summer meal sites in their neighborhood. Parents and caregivers seeking meals for children, ages 18 and younger, can text the word “FOOD” (or “COMIDA”) to 877-877 to find emergency food distribution sites near them.

As families are faced with an increased need for food due to school closures, inability to work, or facing self-quarantine requirements, the “Find Help” feature available at is the best source of information for families and individuals seeking assistance. Individuals can also call (888) 704-FOOD.

During this time of uncertainty and crisis, Feeding the Gulf Coast remains dedicated to serving the community. Working with community partners, the food bank will continue to be an organization of hope and support for families facing hunger.