TAMPA, Fla. — The work Restore Hope and Pastor Jessie Moses do is always important: feeding hungry families. Right now, however, the work is even more critical.
“It’s a big thing right now,” Moses said. “A lot of families are — they’re concerned, and you know, you go from, you know, being maybe middle class now to low class just because of inflation.”
In fact, Feeding Tampa Bay said inflation is having an impact on hunger in Tampa Bay. Across the region, nearly a million are food insecure. The nonprofit served 95 million meals last year.
"Many of us are fortunate. We are able to gasp from the high prices at the grocery and gas pump and still carry on,” wrote External Affairs Officer Shannon Hannon Oliviero. “But so many are struggling to simply eat.”
According to the nonprofit No Kid Hungry, roughly one in five Florida kids are currently food insecure.
“Putting gas in the car versus going to the grocery store and absolutely things like the rising costs of groceries and fuel are making it even more difficult when there are already significant challenges for many families across our state,” said Sky Beard, the Florida director of No Kid Hungry. “There is child hunger and food insecurity in every community. We just became much more aware of it in a lot of communities over the last couple years.”
This weekend, at least two local groups are stepping up to help.
Waterset by Newland, a community in Apollo Beach, is hosting a summertime food drive.
You can drop off donations at Waterset’s Landing Club and Café over the next few weekends.
“Seeing the rising cost of food, seeing the growing number of families that are in need, putting the call out to our Waterset residents to help out, even more, this year has been — it’s so important,” said Lynda McMorrow, the marketing director for the community.
The food drive will benefit the local food bank Calvary’s Community Cupboard, which has seen an increase in families served.
“Once a week maybe a new person coming is maybe a tiny stretch, but it’s more than every other week,” said Julie Garland, the food bank’s operations manager. “We’re now pushing — I think we had 32 last week.”
Friday, Moses’ nonprofit Restore Hope will also give back to the community.
It’s hosting a free dinner in Tampa’s University Area at the Hope Center at 11605 N. Nebraska Avenue. It starts at 6 p.m. All are invited.
“Obviously, there’s a lot going on in the world right now, and if we can provide some type of hope for these individuals that are faced with a difficult time, that is our goal to provide them with a nice hot meal on Friday,” said Moses.
Also, No Kid Hungry has launched a summer meal texting service for families to quickly find the nearest summer meal sites. Parents, grandparents, and caregivers can simply text 'FOOD' or 'COMIDA' to 304-304 to find free summer meals in their community.