Generous Donations

We are very grateful for companies like the Grainger Foundation and others from our local community joining us to help make a difference in Marion County FL.  All donations are greatly appreciated.

Strength in Diversity


Staff and board members pose for a hunger action photo in front of the food bank. We are a motivated group of individuals coming together to make a difference in our community.

Helping load boxes


These young men took time out to volunteer helping the food bank before reporting to active duty.  We had help this day from all over Marion County FL. Thanks to the WESH News team the Holiday Food Drive 2014 was a huge success bringing in 6,441 pounds of food products including 184 pounds of non-food items!

Our mission statement: Feeding the needy by – “Working in partnership with local non-profit agencies to eradicate hunger in Marion County.”

First Step Food Bank, Inc. runs an efficient and effective organization as shown by distributing 2,744,450 pounds of food products in FY 2013-2014 with a staff of 1-full-time employee, 4-part-time employees, and a volunteer Board of Directors.  (A full-time Executive Director, a part-time Office Manager, a part-time Development Director/Fundraising Coordinator, and 2-part-time truck drivers.)

 Peter Del Toro - Executive Director

Peter Del Toro –      Executive Director

Pat Emrick - Office Manager

Pat Emrick –
Office Manager

Danna Crawford Development Director/ Fundraising Coordinator

Danna Crawford
Development Director/
Fundraising Coordinator

The need for charitable gifts of food has continued as shown by the USDA’s 2013 food insecurity rate of 16.8% for the Marion County.  First Step Food Bank addresses this need issue by:

1) Receiving food products via: a Feeding America contractual relationship with Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida as a Partner Distributing Organization (PDO); purchases using monetary donations; and food donations from local grocers, organizations, and individuals.  AND

2) Distributing received food products to its approved, partner agencies as soon as possible.  First Step Food Bank has 44 partner agencies which operate 38 emergency food pantries, seven special needs residential facilities and three soup kitchens that distribute food products and prepared meals to individuals and families needing assistance in Marion County, FL.


How Can I Make A Donation?

There are several ways to make a donation to First Step Food Bank, Inc.

PayPal Online:


Mail a check or MO to us at:

  • First Step Food Bank, Inc.
  • PO Box 4774,
  • Ocala FL 34478

Donations can be made through eBay Giving or using Amazon Smile.

Food products are also accepted by appointment. If you would like to organize a food drive for your business or organization, please contact our Development Director/Fundraising Coordinator – Danna Crawford @ 352.209.2792

How Can I Volunteer My Time?

We do encourage volunteers to help sort food products and help out in our warehouse, however an appointment time is required. Please contact our Development Director: Danna Crawford at: 352.209.2792  to discuss the options.

We would also be happy to assist with organizing a food drive or fundraiser.

Where Are Your Offices Located?

Our food bank is located in NE Ocala. However we are not open to the general public but people are welcome to schedule an appointment for a tour of our facilities.  If interested, contact the Development Director: Danna Crawford at 352.209.2792.

Our address is: 4045 NE 36th Ave. Ocala FL 34479

Our mailing address is: PO Box 4774, Ocala FL 34478

Office # 352-732-5500



USDA: The USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

First Step Food Bank is an IRS 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation authorized by the State of Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services with Registration Certificate #CH10805 to solicit funds for its operations. A copy of the official registration may be obtained by calling (800) 435-7352 toll-free. Our financial information can be obtained by calling 352.732.5500